Crab meat is essentially the seafood equivalent of chicken meat, although much more nutritious in certain respects. As little as 100 g supplies the entire daily allowance of the coveted vitamin B12 that preserves nervous system health and has long-term benefits on memory. Crab meat is a great food for fertility and safe to eat during pregnancy, more so than salmon and tuna which have high mercury contents. Its good B vitamin profile and high protein content help achieve muscle building and an excellent energy metabolism, further recommending it for a varied and balanced diet.
Crab as food. Crab meat is favored during summer because it is a light meat, low in calories, but high in protein, with an excellent nutritional value and a pleasant taste, without pregnant fish flavors. Crab meat comes from either fished crabs or farmed crabs from fisheries. There are many species of edible crab, the most common being the brown crab (Cancer pagurus), the blue crab (Portunus pelagicus), the Atlantic blue crab or Chesapeake blue crab (Callinectes sapidus), the horse crab (Portunus trituberculatus) and the Dungeness crab (Cancer magister).
Crab meat types. There is wild-caught crab and farmed crab, freshwater crab and saltwater crab. There is fresh crab, canned crab meat and imitation crab meat made from other fish and meat, soy, vegetable oils and various additives (sugar, egg). The imitation crab meat, also called surimi, crab stick or fish sticks does not contain real crab. The color, texture and taste of crab meat from various species may differ slightly.
What does crab meat look like? Crab legs and claws yield a predominantly white meat with occasional red-brown tints of color. The rest of the crab yields a varying brown-colored meat. Some people prefer the finer white meat because it’s richer in protein which makes it simply fall off in small pieces. The brown meat is fattier because it contains more Omega-3 which is reflected in its taste and texture.
What does crab meat taste like? The white meat from crabs legs and claws has a fine taste, subtly sweet and overall pleasant, without overpowering fishy or briny flavor notes. The brown meat is fattier with a creamy texture, less sweet and more full-flavored. The white meat is actually the main culinary attraction and a source of good nutrition and important health benefits.
Nutrition facts and health benefits
Crab meat nutrition. Crab meat is a healthy food with a dense nutritional profile and a source of several essential nutrients thanks to which it can accommodate any dietary requirements. As long as it’s consumed in moderation, as part of an overall balanced and varied diet and there are no contraindications to its consumption (example: allergy to crab or crustaceans), it should be a source of beneficial health effects. Here are 7 impressive properties and benefits of eating crab:
1) Benefits for fertility. Eating crab benefits female fertility because it provides important amounts of healthy Omega-3 fats. Healthy fats and fertility go hand in hand as fats help produce hormones, which are the basis of great fertility. You also need fats to help you absorb nutrients, especially vitamin D. A deficiency of vitamin D has been observed in women struggling with infertility and reversing it can help achieve pregnancy.
2) Good for pregnancy. Not only is eating crab meat safe during pregnancy, but actually a better choice of seafood than tuna, for example. Crab meat provides good amounts of DHA Omega-3 fatty acids that promote brain development of children in the womb. Moreover, it is a source of vitamins B9 and B12 that help prevent neural tube defects of the brain and spine in newborns.
3) Protects against degenerative diseases of the nervous system. The Omega-3 fatty acids, cholesterol and vitamin B12 in crab meat help preserve the protective coating surrounding the tail of nerve cells. This protective coating is called the myelin sheath and helps conduct electrical impulses between the brain and body. Deterioration of the myelin sheath causes diseases such as dementia and multiple sclerosis with symptoms such as memory loss and gradual loss of sensory and motor functions.
4) Contains good fats for the heart. Crab meat contains Omega-3 fatty acids which balance cholesterol levels, reducing LDL and raising HDL cholesterol. This not only has a beneficial effects on inflammation levels, but also helps prevent plaque deposits that could evolve into atherosclerosis and cause cardiovascular events.
5) Source of phosphorus. Eating crab improves bone density thanks as a result of a good phosphorus content. The crustacean is also a modest source of other essential minerals such as calcium and magnesium which further contribute to maintaining strong bones and teeth.
6) Good for muscle building and boosts mood. With an estimate of 18 g of protein/100 g of meat, crab is a great food for building muscle mass and repairing damaged muscle. Even more, the amino acids that make up protein help synthesize neurotransmitters that regulate mood, improving disposition.
7) Improves energy levels and combats fatigue. What other nutrients does crab meat contain? The crustacean is especially rich in B vitamins. B vitamins help synthesize carbohydrates, fats and protein and produce energy for the body. A good intake elevates energy levels and combats fatigue.
Side effects of eating crab meat
There are potential risks and side effects associated with eating crab.
1) Being a crustacean, it can cause an allergic reaction in those with an allergy to crab/crustaceans. If you have known seafood allergies or suspect are allergic to crustaceans, avoid the allergen in all forms and preparation. If you have experienced allergy symptoms after eating crab meat, seek medical assistance as soon as possible. If left untreated, allergic reactions can quickly progress to a life threatening condition known as anaphylactic shock.
2) Crab meat spoils incredibly quickly and, unless caught fresh and cooked shortly after, it requires freezing to prevent spoilage. Most available crab meat is either frozen or canned. You can tell crabs are not fresh if the meat develops a particular bad smell.
3) High sodium and cholesterol. Despite its many benefits for cardiovascular health, crab meat has a high sodium content (300-400 mg/100 g) and a high cholesterol content (around 100 mg/100g). Eating too much can, in time, lead to hypertension, high cholesterol and increase the risk for cardiovascular events such as stroke.