I love shrimp; it easily makes the list of my top ten favorite foods. It is so versatile, move over tuna… shrimp is the real chicken of the sea. Except it’s easier to prepare than chicken (assuming you live in the US and have the convenience of purchasing pre-peeled and deveined shrimp) and easier to cook than chicken, but not cheaper. Luckily, whether you participate in it or not, Lent is starting this Wednesday, which means even if you aren’t abstaining from meat this Wednesday and Friday you will most likely still be able to get seafood, such as shrimp, on sale at your local grocery store anyway.
What are the Health Benefits of Shrimp?
Shrimp are full of immune boosting antioxidant and anti-inflammatory nutrients!
1. Shrimp is high in astaxanthin which is a nutrient and carotenoid that gives shrimp its uncanny pink hue and functions as an antioxidant. Astaxanthin is thought to have immune boosting and anti-inflammatory functions which may lower risk of certain types of cancers.
2. Shrimp is high in the mineral selenium which is important in helping the body repair and regenerates; it also plays a significant role in the immune system.
3. Shrimp is a lean source of high-quality protein. Per ounce shrimp has 6 grams of protein and about 30 calories, that’s a lot of protein bang for your calorie buck.
4. Shrimp is high in Omega 3 Fatty Acids EPA and DHA, which play a significant role in the immune system and nervous system. Omega 3’s anti-inflammatory properties have been shown to be protective of the cardiovascular system by improving risk factors such as inflammation and blood pressure. One four ounce serving of shrimp may contain up to 375mg of Omega 3’s (50% EPA and 50%DHA.)
What about the Cholesterol?
Update! The American Heart Association has removed their recommendation to limit cholesterol intake under 300mg per day. (Here are their current recommendations.) They have done this because there is a lack of supportive evidence to indicate that dietary cholesterol actually causes high cholesterol levels (see this study.) Good news for those of us that love eggs and shrimp! In addition, saturated fats may not be as dangerous as once thought, either. For more information see this updated post I wrote on how to read your blood lipids (cholesterol, triglycerides, and blood pressure) and what to do about them.
Shrimp has been on the avoid list for many people since just a four-ounce portion delivers 220mg of cholesterol. That’s a significant amount when you consider the recommended daily limit is 300mg. However, good news for shrimp lovers is out there! I was surprised to learn that recent research suggests that shrimp is high in other kinds of “sterols” not just cholesterol. These other sterols have immune boosting anti-inflammatory properties that may offset the cholesterol content a bit, plus they may compete with cholesterol for absorption. In 2001, after some research showing that shrimp may not adversely affect cholesterol levels, the American Heart Association modified their guidelines to include moderate shrimp consumption as part of a heart-healthy diet. As always, consult with your doctor if you have any concerns.
- Shrimp (www.whfoods.com)
- What is the nutritional value of shrimp? (www.livestrong.com)
- Health Benefits of Eating Shrimp (www.healwithfood.org)
- A study on the health benefits of shrimp (www.healwithfood.org)
Shrimp Recipe Round-Up
In continuing with the theme of “Enjoy the Taste of Eating Right” for National Nutrition Month (see my cool widget over there to the right?), I thought I’d share some of my favorite ways to Enjoy the Taste of Eating Right with shrimp!
This meal uses just three ingredients and comes together in 15 minutes or less.
Healthy Paella (contains chicken and shrimp) – GF/PALEO
This dish will make you feel like you were just served a fancy restaurant meal from Spain, but features cauliflower rice for a healthy twist on this Spanish tradition!
Shrimp, eggs, and goat cheese make the perfect trifecta in this shrimp and goat cheese tortilla crusted quiche. Sound like a cholesterol bomb? This meal will impress your family and make you feel like you ate a fancy meal out, but you easily made it at home in no time!
Click here for the recipe——-> Shrimp and Goat Cheese Tortilla Crusted Quiche
Easy Shrimp and Broccoli Omelet -GF/Paleo
Make this super huge and delicious shrimp and broccoli omelet in under 20 minutes any night of the week! This recipe is the perfect post-workout breakfast, lunch, or dinner because it is packed with 43grams of protein and only 260 calories, so you still have room to top it with yummy omelet toppings like avocado and cheese. This is one of my go-to “I don’t feel like cooking weeknight recipes” because it requires so little effort and it tastes so good.
One of my first and favorite recipes on Hungry Hobby was the Healthy Shrimp Enchilada Bake, and since then the hubby asks for it for dinner all the time. This will feed a crowd or a family quickly, plus it is veggie packed so you can serve a healthy entrée and vegetable all in one!
Want enchiladas but looking for something low carb or a grain free? Make these fresh shrimp enchilada boats. (Also make sure you check out my YouTube video on how to make a whole spaghetti squash in the microwave to make this recipe even easier!)
This Mu Shu Shrimp is the perfect busy weeknight meal. While the original recipe called for rotisserie chicken, I don’t typically have that in my fridge. I do usually have a bag of frozen shrimp, though! This recipe is made using all prepackaged ingredients (pre-shredded carrots and shredded carrots) and uses only one pan which makes for super easy cleanup. This dish is quicker than any take out you could get and healthier too!
My shrimp and black bean Mexican lasagna is great because it requires very little grunt work to produce a healthy and delicious meal in no time. This is by far one of the easiest recipes I have ever made that can feed and satisfy a whole crew in no time. Simply add your desired layers of deliciousness, don’t forget the shrimp, and bake!
Hope you enjoyed this post, have a great day!