One 3-ounce (oz) serving of crawfish contains a little over one-third of the daily value (DV) of cholesterol. If people prepare crawfish properly, it can be part of a balanced diet.

Some dishes that feature this shellfish, such as fried crawfish tails and crawfish au gratin, may have much higher amounts of cholesterol. This is because they contain other high cholesterol ingredients such as butter and cheese.

All seafood can be part of a heart-healthy diet because it is generally low in saturated fat. However, fish varieties rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon, are particularly nutritious.

Read more to learn more about crawfish cholesterol levels and nutritional information, as well as low cholesterol seafood options and tips for low cholesterol food preparation.

An image of a crayfish.Share on Pinterest
Daniel Lozano Gonzalez/Getty Images

The DV for cholesterol is less than 300 mg. A 3-oz serving of crawfish tail meat contains 115 milligrams (mg) of cholesterol or 38% of the DV.

If a person is at high risk of cardiovascular disease, doctors may suggest they limit cholesterol to less than 200 mg per day. In this case, a 3-oz serving is a little over half of the recommended amount.

The amount of cholesterol in crawfish dishes depends on the amount of fish they contain and the quantity of cholesterol in the other ingredients.

However, fried crawfish tails are breaded and deep fried, so they are not as healthy. Also, crawfish au gratin has a higher amount of cholesterol because it contains cheese, butter, and cream. Baking, boiling, and steaming are healthier cooking methods.

Below are the nutritional facts for a 3-oz serving of crawfish:

Energy69.7 calories
Protein14 grams (g)
Total fat1 g
Carbohydrates0 g
Calcium 60.4 mg
Iron0.722 mg
Sodium79.9 mg
Vitamin C, total ascorbic acid1.19 mg
Fatty acids, total saturated0 g
Cholesterol 115 mg

Crawfish contains less than 2% fat, meaning it is a lean fish. According to the American Heart Association (AHA), both lean and fatty forms of seafood are low in saturated fat. This may make them a good choice for people with high cholesterol.

The AHA recommends eating 8 oz of non-fried fish per week. Because shellfish is low in saturated fat, it is a healthy alternative to poultry and many cuts of meat.

However, it is important to note that crawfish is only a healthy choice if a person prepares it in nutritious ways and avoids using ingredients high in cholesterol and saturated fat. Crawfish dishes that are fried or have ingredients with saturated fat may not be suitable.

Fish is generally lower in cholesterol than shellfish such as crawfish, shrimp, crabs, clams, and oysters. The cholesterol content of 3 ozs of several common types of fish are:

Some fish are rich in omega-3 fatty acids as well as low in cholesterol. These are particularly heart-healthy choices because the fats help lower triglycerides and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Below are cholesterol values for 3 oz of several fish varieties rich in omega-3:

The AHA offers the following tips for low cholesterol food preparation and meal planning:

  • Eat less meat: People can try substituting bean and vegetable dishes for meat, using meat mainly for flavoring rather than as the main ingredient in a dish.
  • Cook vegetables in a nutritious way: This may involve cooking them with a small amount of oil and water and seasoning them with herbs and spices instead of heavy, prepackaged seasonings and sauces.
  • Substitute pureed fruits and vegetables for oil in baked dishes: For example, a person could use applesauce or mashed bananas instead of oil in muffins.
  • Substitute liquid oils for solid fats in recipes: Liquid oil is more beneficial than shortening, stick margarine, lard, and butter.
  • Choose low fat dairy products: While the AHA recommends low fat or skim instead of whole milk, it is worth noting that some studies dispute this recommendation. Research from 2017 states that most evidence supports the hypothesis that there is not typically a link between dairy fat and an increased risk of cardiovascular disease.
  • Increase fiber and whole grains: Examples include eating whole fruit instead of drinking fruit juice and substituting brown rice for white rice.
  • Make sauces and gravies lower in fat: People can remove hardened fat before making gravy and separate fat from cooking stock.
  • Decrease saturated fat in poultry and meat: When shopping, a person may select lean or extra-lean ground beef and cuts of meat with minimal visible fat. They may also choose chicken or turkey instead of higher fat poultry, such as goose or duck, and limit processed meats, such as sausage and hot dogs.

As long as a person prepares them in a healthy manner, the AHA supports including any seafood in a low cholesterol diet.

People with high cholesterol should pay attention to the preparation of any crawfish dishes they eat. Healthy preparation involves boiling, baking, broiling, or grilling while avoiding the addition of high cholesterol ingredients like cheese, butter, and cream.