Shrimp is a type of shellfish related to prawn, crabs and lobsters and a top choice seafood, ranking well above oysters, clams, scallops or mussels. The reason why it is preferred over other shellfish is its good tasting meat, devoid of pregnant fish flavors and the briny, seawater taste inherent to mollusks. However, there is an ongoing debate whether eating shrimp is good or bad for you and the truth is there may be both health benefits and risks associated with eating the shellfish. While its high protein content can help aspiring bodybuilders grow muscle in a healthy manner, being a potential source of contaminants is not good of pregnant women.
What is shrimp good for? Shrimp is good for you if you need more protein in your diet, are doing intense physical exercises, want to build a good muscle tone and lose weight, experience mental and physical fatigue, have low blood pressure, a high risk of osteoporosis and bone fractures or are suffering from hypothyroidism as a result of a iodine deficiency. Nevertheless, consumption should be limited to one or two servings a week to avoid potential side effects.
What is shrimp bad for? Shrimp is rich in sodium, cholesterol, high in purines and may contains toxins, bacteria and contaminants such as aluminum or methylmercury. All of these nutrients and other elements accumulating in its meat make shrimp bad for pregnant women and medical conditions such as gout, diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol levels, gallstones and water retention. How bad it is for you individually further depends on how much you eat. For example, eating too much shrimp too often is more likely to cause both short term and long term bad health than eating shrimp occasionally and in moderate amounts.
Nutrition facts and benefits
What makes shrimp healthy is its good nutritional value. Only 100 g of shrimp provides 40% of the RDI of protein for an average adult, important, but varying amounts of Omega-3 fatty acids and iodine, around 16% of the RDI of phosphorus, over 50% of the RDI of cholesterol and between 10% and 40% of the RDI of sodium. These values make shrimp good for the following:
2) Muscle tone and weight loss.
3) Mental fatigue.
4) Brain fog.
5) Low energy levels and fatigue.
6) Low blood pressure (hypotension).
7) Frail bones, osteopenia, osteoporosis.
8) Underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism).
Shrimp promotes muscle growth and repair and is good for bodybuilding because it helps achieve a good muscle tone thanks to its high protein content: 20 g of protein/ 100 g, or 40% of the RDI. It is also low in fat and carbohydrates and has a low energetic value, encouraging weight loss. The amino acids that make up protein, the healthy Omega-3 fatty acids and even cholesterol in shrimp preserve brain and nervous system health, help synthesize neurotransmitters in the brain and lead to better mood and clearer thinking, with potential benefits for anxiety, possibly depression and brain fog.
Shrimp is rich in sodium, meaning it helps regulate blood pressure and combat the side effects of hypotension, including dizziness, lethargy and lightheadedness. As a source of phosphorus, it improves bone density and can help lower osteoporosis risks. Shrimp is good for an underactive thyroid, hypothyroidism, because it is a good source of iodine and selenium.
What causes an underactive thyroid is first of all severe iodine deficiency. Seafood like shrimp are the best dietary sources of iodine and selenium and help reverse existing deficiencies, helping improve symptoms of an underactive thyroid such as: low metabolism with weight gain, cold hands and feet, tiredness and fatigue, goiter, reduced fertility and infertility.
Side effects of eating shrimp
On the other hand, shrimp is known to naturally contain high amounts of sodium, cholesterol and purines, elements that hold significant health risks pregnant women and anyone suffering from existing cardiovascular problems, a form of inflammatory arthritis called gout, diabetes or seafood allergy. It can also be contaminated with antibiotics from fish farms, preservatives from retailers, toxins, bacteria and heavy metals from the marine environment. Here are top 7 conditions and disorders that shrimp is potentially bad for:
4) High blood pressure.
5) High cholesterol levels.
6) Water retention.
Shrimp and pregnancy
Why is shrimp bad for pregnant women? Some pregnant women develop preeclampsia and high blood pressure during pregnancy and foods high in sodium like shrimp are bad for them. Moreover, because 100 g of shrimp provides 150 to 200 mg of cholesterol, which is 50% to 75% of the RDI, eating too much can accentuate existing hypertension, weight gain and favor preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, type 2 diabetes following birth and other health problems. Lastly, shrimp can be a source of preservatives, antibiotics, hormones, bacteria, toxins and contaminants, all of which are bad for pregnancy and can endanger its evolution.
Shrimp and gout
Why is shrimp bad for gout? Foods rich in purines like shrimp can favor, trigger or worsen gout, a form of inflammatory arthritis caused by the accumulation of uric acid crystals in joints. Purines are organic compounds found in ordinary foods which the body breaks down into uric acid. A high intake of such foods raises uric acid levels, favoring joint problems and gout over time. Seafood like sardines, mackerel, anchovies, oysters, scallops, mussels, crab and shrimp contain moderately high to high amounts of purines and are bad for gout (see more fish and shellfish benefits here). Below is a breathtaking video showing thousands of shrimp swimming in the sea, a beautiful sight that simply inspires.
Shrimp and cholesterol
How is shrimp bad for diabetes, hypertension, water retention and high cholesterol? Because it is rich in cholesterol, eating too much shrimp can contribute to weight gain, obesity and diabetes over time. Studies correlate an increased intake of shellfish in general with higher risks of diabetes (Association Between Type of Dietary Fish and Seafood Intake and the Risk of Incident Type 2 Diabetes).
Cholesterol from seemingly healthy foods can raise LDL cholesterol in the blood, deposit on artery walls and form plaques, restricting blood flow and causing high blood pressure. Moreover, the high sodium content of shrimp favors high blood pressure both as an independent condition and as a symptom of diabetes. Too much sodium in your diet is also the main cause of water retention and its most common symptoms, swollen feet, ankles and legs.
How does eating shrimp cause gallstones? Gallstones are cholesterol-based pebble-like formations that occur in the gallbladder or common bile duct. Eating foods rich in cholesterol like shrimp or, even worse, cooking such foods in fats like butter increases the amount of cholesterol the liver processes and, along with this, the risk of developing gallbladder stones. Anyone suffering from obesity, high cholesterol levels in the blood or diabetes may have an increased risk of gallstones.
So is shrimp good or bad for you? What makes shrimp good for your is its high protein content and good nutritional value. Only 100 g of shrimp provides 40% of your protein intake for an entire day as well as important amounts of healthy Omega-3 fatty acids, iodine, selenium, phosphorus and cholesterol for brain, bone, heart and thyroid health. At the same time, it is a source of contaminants such as toxins, bacteria like E. coli or Salmonella, antibiotics and aluminum, as well as a food rich in purines and sodium, meaning it is bad for those with poor immunity, young children, pregnant women and diabetes, hypertension and gout sufferers.
This post was updated on Thursday / July 30th, 2020 at 8:28 PM