Is Eating Shrimp Bad for Cholesterol?

You may have heard that shrimp is not a healthy meal because of its high cholesterol content. The good news for shrimp lovers is that while this seafood does have high cholesterol, its various health benefits outweigh the disadvantages of cholesterol, says Michael Mogadam, author of “Every Heart Attack Is Preventable”. So, you should not worry much about shrimp and cholesterol. Read on!

Shrimp cholesterol content

100 grams of shrimp contain less than 2 g of fat and about 152mg of cholesterol, which is 51 percent of the recommended amount of dietary cholesterol per day for an adult according to the American Heart Association (AHA). However, according to Dr. Mogadam, it is very low in saturated fat (0.3g for 100g) and has no trans fat, unless fried. Saturated fats and mostly trans fats are the main dietary culprits of raising LDL or “bad” cholesterol in the bloodstream. That’s why the high level of dietary cholesterol in shrimp may not be dangerous, as it does not raise blood cholesterol levels as significantly as saturated fats.

A study on shrimp showed surprising results

One study showed that there is no reason to avoid this seafood. The researchers asked 18 men and women to eat large portions of steamed shrimp each day. To be precise, robust participants ate more than 275 grams, or 30 to 40 shrimp, which was enough to give them nearly 600 milligrams of dietary cholesterol. This is twice the daily limit recommended by the American Heart Association (AHA).

This may surprise you. Three weeks later, the researchers took blood samples from the volunteers and found that their levels of low-density lipoprotein or LDL or “bad” cholesterol had increased by 7.1% on average. While this may not seem like good news, shrimps have an important advantage; high-density lipoprotein levels or HDL, good cholesterol for arteries, increased by 12.1%.
In other words, eating shrimp has improved the good cholesterol/bad cholesterol ratio. Many cardiologists believe that this ratio is a better indicator of cardiovascular health than total cholesterol levels.

Overview of the numerous nutritional benefits of shrimp

boiled shrimpIn addition to improving the ratio of good to bad cholesterol, shrimp is very low in saturated fat and contains large amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, which increase HDL or “good” cholesterol. What’s more, omega-3 fatty acids can reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer. Shrimp is also a good source of selenium, iodine, iron, zinc, copper and protein. Consequently, the various health benefits of shrimp far outweigh cholesterol.

How often can you eat shrimp?

The AHA recommends consuming foods high in omega-3 fatty acids twice a week, although shrimp may not be a good choice for those servings if you have high cholesterol. However, if your cholesterol levels are normal, you can eat shrimp every week without worrying too much about affecting your LDL levels, says Aggie Casey, author of Mind Your Heart.

Some healthy ways to cook it

Sautéed

Delicious sautéed shrimp recipe

Since shrimp cooks very fast, it is perfect sautéed. Heat a small amount of olive oil in a frying pan and saute shrimps with chopped ginger and with some vegetables for about 4mins. Peas are a good complement to shrimp.

Roasted

oven roasted shrimp

Roasted shrimps in the oven is a simple way to cook large quantities of shrimp at one time. Heat the oven to a temperature of 500 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly cover them with olive oil and sprinkle with fresh herbs and spices. Roast in a single layer on a baking sheet with embroidery. Serve as a standalone dish or with pasta as accompaniment.

Boiled

shrimp boil with corn and potatoes

Like prawns, shrimp skin becomes juicy and juicy when boiled in a succulent broth for seafood. Prepare a spicy broth with some Cajun condiments. Cook shrimp in the broth for a few minutes and then lower the heat and let them stand for a few minutes or more. Remove shrimps with a slotted spoon, store the broth and serve with a dipping sauce.

Grilled

Mouthwatering grilled shrimp

Large, fleshy shrimp is ideal for cooking on a grill. Lightly cover them with oil and a selection of herbs and spices, and then pierce them with sticks to handle them easily on the grill. Serve the grilled shrimps as a main course, or as an accompaniment to salads or as a filling for some tacos.

Steamed

shrimp en papillote

Baking shrimp in paper packaging creates a steam cooking effect that gives a great taste. The term for this classic cooking technique is “en papillote”. Wrap individual portions of shrimp in foil or parchment paper with a dash of some aromatic liquid, such as white wine. Make sure the packages are firmly sealed, then put them in a pan and bake them at 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

Ground

Shrimp burger - a healthy beef burger alternative

Ground shrimp stays attached easily which makes it good to prepare burgers mixed with other ingredients. Grind some shrimp in a food processor along with your favorite vegetables or dressings like onions, peppers, and fresh herbs. Mix with some additional shrimp to improve texture. Use this mixture to make hamburgers and then cook on a grill or in a hot skillet covered slightly with olive oil.

Cooking time

Regardless of the cooking method you use, shrimp, when cooked becomes pink on the outside and opaque inside. In the direct heat, on a stove or on a grill, a medium-sized shrimp needs about 2 minutes per side. In the indirect heat, as in an oven, it takes about 10 minutes to cook completely. When overcooked, it is hard and rubbery, so you should remove it from the oven as soon as it gets pink on the outside and opaque inside.

When to see a doctor

If you suffer from a heart disease or have high LDL levels, consult your doctor before beginning to add shrimp to your meals. While shrimp is a perfectly healthy meal for most people, your doctor will probably prefer you to avoid foods that could raise your LDL cholesterol levels. If this is the case, you still have many options for seafood.