A shrimp is a small marine crustacean that is a popular type of shellfish to eat. Shrimp is a generally healthy food due to being high in several vitamins and minerals and a rich source of protein.

Shrimp is a nutritious type of seafood that people can easily incorporate into many different dishes. Shrimp is a good source of vitamins and protein but is also high in cholesterol. As such, it is important for people to eat an appropriate amount as part of a balanced and healthy diet.

Some types of shrimp that fisheries can sustainably manage and harvest under United States regulations include:

This article discusses the nutritional information of shrimp and ways people can include this seafood in the diet.

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Shrimp is an excellent source of protein as they primarily consist of water and protein. According to the U.S Department of Agriculture (USDA), 100 grams (g) of cooked shrimp contains 24 g of protein. There is a variety of shrimp, but they all consist of similar amounts of protein.

Shrimp and other seafood contain high-quality protein, and shrimp is among the most protein-rich kinds of seafood.

Additionally, seafood, such as shrimp, is generally less resource-intensive to produce compared to some other protein sources and, as a result, has a lower effect on the environment.

Not only is shrimp high in protein, but it also has a good nutrient profile. For example, 84 g shrimp contains 4% of a person’s daily values (DV) for vitamin A and C, as well as 6% and 10% DV for calcium and iron.

Shrimp is also low in calories, fats, and carbohydrates but high in cholesterol. The nutritional information for 100 g shrimp is as follows:

  • 99 calories
  • 24 g protein
  • 0.2 g carbohydrates
  • 0.28 g fats
  • 70 milligrams (mg) calcium
  • 0.51 mg iron
  • 39 mg magnesium
  • 237 mg phosphorus
  • 259 mg potassium
  • 111 mg sodium
  • 1.64 mg zinc
  • 189 mg cholesterol

Additionally, shrimp is a good source of omega-3 fatty acids and selenium. Evidence suggests that omega-3 fatty acids may have cardioprotective properties, and selenium plays a role in DNA production.

Overall, shrimp can be a healthy option to include as part of a balanced diet. As a food source that is low in calories, carbs, and fats but high in protein, shrimp can be useful to help people meet certain macronutrient needs or if they follow a low-carb or low-calorie diet.

In addition to omega-3 fatty acids and selenium, which display anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, shrimp also contains astaxanthin. Some evidence suggests that this compound may help protect against cancer. Other research indicates that this compound may also help decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Similar to other seafood and shellfish, shrimp also contains iodine and zinc. Iodine is an essential mineral that helps the thyroid and has a role in weight maintenance, energy, and cognitive functioning. Zinc is another essential mineral that affects immune function, DNA synthesis, and wound healing.

While shrimp possesses some health benefits, it may also provide some health concerns, particularly if a person is allergic to shellfish. Evidence suggests that shellfish is among the most common food allergens, affecting roughly 7 million Americans. Allergy to crustaceans is more common than mollusks, with shrimp being the most common shellfish allergen.

Shellfish allergies occur when proteins in the shellfish cause the immune system to overreact. Symptoms can vary among individuals but may include vomiting, stomach pain, and shortness of breath.

Additionally, shrimp is a high dietary source of cholesterol. As a result, some people may avoid or limit their shrimp intake due to potential health concerns.

However, some types of cholesterol are essential for health. While some people may want to monitor their cholesterol intake, some research suggests that dietary cholesterol may have little to no effect on blood cholesterol levels in most people. Some evidence indicates that shrimp may actually help lower blood cholesterol levels and can be part of a healthy diet.

Learn more about shrimp and cholesterol here.

Shrimp is a versatile protein source that people can include in various meals. People can also prepare shrimp in several ways, such as grilling, sautéing, or steaming.

People can purchase shrimp fresh or frozen. To properly thaw shrimp, people should keep frozen shrimp in the refrigerator overnight to slowly let the ice melt away.

Individuals should also remember to peel and devein shrimp and ensure they are cooked before consuming. Shrimp is ready to eat when it is opaque and develops a reddish-coral color.

Some examples of meals with shrimp include:

Other animal-based foods that contain high amounts of protein include:

  • chicken
  • pork
  • beef
  • eggs
  • dairy
  • fish
  • Greek yogurt
  • cheese

Learn more about high-protein diets here.

Vegan and vegetarian options that are high in protein include:

  • soy, such as tofu, tempeh, and edamame
  • seitan
  • legumes like beans and lentils
  • quinoa
  • mycoprotein
  • nuts and seeds

Read more about plant-based sources of protein here.

Shrimp is a useful source of dietary protein that people can include in a healthy, balanced diet.

In addition to being protein-rich, it is also nutrient-dense and low in carbohydrates, fats, and calories but high in cholesterol. However, dietary cholesterol may have little negative impact on many people’s health.

Some people with certain health risks may wish to limit their cholesterol intake, but they can discuss this and other dietary changes with their doctor.