Shrimp is one of the most widely popular and inexpensive types of seafood. From a traditional shrimp boil, to shrimp and grits, to shrimp gumbo — it’s easy to see why this small shellfish is so commonly consumed and beloved.
Yet, even though shrimp is hands-down the most popular type of shellfish, most people still don’t eat as many servings of seafood each week as recommended. In fact, other less nutritional meats are far more likely to take center stage in a weekly meal plan.
Well, we’re here to change that today. We think everyone should eat more shrimp — and we’re ready to make a case for it. Here are five reasons why you should join us on our shrimp eating mission:
Shrimp is a low calorie, high protein food.
Almost all of the calories in shrimp come from protein, making it an excellent lean protein source. And with less than 85 calories in a 3-ounce serving, you won’t have to worry about overindulging.
Shrimp contains many valuable nutrients.
In a small serving of shrimp, you receive 20 different vitamins and minerals. With particularly high levels of selenium, shrimp is an expert at reducing inflammation and keeping your heart healthy. But selenium isn’t the only top-notch nutrient with high levels; shrimp is also a great source of iodine. A mineral that can be tough to get from other foods, getting enough iodine is important for your thyroid and brain.
Shrimp contains antioxidants
Since shrimp consume algae, they contain a component of algae called astaxanthin, which is a carotenoid antioxidant. As an antioxidant, astaxanthin is believed to help protect against inflammation and reduce your risk of chronic disease. Early research also suggests that astaxanthin may be good for your heart and brain health, even playing a role in preventing the damage that can lead to memory loss and Alzheimer’s.
Shrimp cooks easy and quickly
Extremely versatile in preparation, shrimp is a quick weeknight meal in the making. With just a couple of minutes in the pan or pot, perfectly cooked shrimp can be ready to serve. And here’s a tip: you’ll know your shrimp are fully cooked when they curve to make a “c” shape. Just don’t let them overcook — which you’ll know has happened by the curve completing an “o” shape.
Shrimp may help lower your cholesterol
Many people shy away from shrimp because they believe it raises their cholesterol. When, in fact, shrimp may help lower your triglycerides and LDL cholesterol (also known as “bad cholesterol”). In fact, eating shrimp has not been found to have a negative impact on your heart health when otherwise part of a healthy diet.
Bonus reason: shrimp is delicious.
However, it’s important to note than many of these benefits of eating shrimp become questionable if the quality of the shrimp isn’t high. For instance, farm-raised shrimp may be contaminated with antibiotics. While the United States does not allow shrimp that contain antibiotics to be imported into the country, the regulation practices are often lackluster. Because of this, it’s always best to choose wild-caught, sustainably sourced shrimp.