“Shrimp”ortance: The Health Benefits Of Shrimp And How To Cook It

Medically reviewed by Staci Gulbin, RD, LDN Staci Gulbin Staci GulbinRD, LDN linkedin_iconinsta_icon
Written by , MSc (Biotechnology), Professional Certificate In Food, Nutrition & Health Swathi Handoo MSc (Biotechnology), Professional Certificate In Food, Nutrition & Health Experience: 4 years
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A platter of seafood is a royal meal, especially in Asian countries. And why not? It is a bounty of unique micro- and macro-nutrients.

What should a seafood platter consist of? Maybe some fish, crabs, prawns, lobsters, and octopus? Are we missing something? Yes – shrimp!

Shrimp is one of the most delicious additions to a seafood platter. I’m sure most of you will agree with this. Those of you who disagree may not know about the many health benefits of this little sea creature. To know more about shrimp, just keep scrolling!

More About Shrimp

Shrimp is one of the most popular seafoods in the world. Shrimp muscle is rich in high-quality proteins and minerals and low in fat content.

Several biological activities have been associated with the methanolic and lipidic extracts from shrimp muscle and waste. This marine organism has chemopreventive, anticancer, antiproliferative, antioxidant, anti-angiogenic, and anti-inflammatory properties (1).

Shrimp has abundant omega-fatty acids, including eicosapentaenoic acid(EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) (1). These fatty acids are beneficial for the brain and visual development of infants. Hence, including shrimp in the diet is important for pregnant women, mothers who are breastfeeding, as well as women of childbearing age.

Is that all shrimp does? What are other benefits of eating shrimp? Scroll down to find the answers.

6 Proven Benefits Of Having Shrimp

1. Good For Heart Health

Shrimp is made of high protein, low fat, and high levels of cholesterol. Hundred grams of raw shrimp has 152 milligrams of cholesterol, which is equivalent to 51% of the daily requirement. This could mean trouble!

However, research claims that diets rich in shrimp do not always disturb the plasma cholesterol balance. This could be because it increases the HDL (good cholesterol) content and not too much of LDL (bad cholesterol) (2).

Contrary to what we assume, consuming regulated amounts of HDL-rich foods is good, and it does not harm your heart and circulatory system.

Therefore, if you limit your cholesterol intake to less than 200 mg/day, shrimp can certainly make it to the heart-healthy foods list (3).

2. Prevents Bone Diseases

Estrogen protects bone health in all women. However, estrogen levels drop in postmenopausal women (50 years or above), thus affecting their bone density. To prevent bone loss, taking sufficient calcium and vitamin D is imperative.

Consuming foods like spinach, milk, and seafood can prevent bone diseases. Shrimp is the best source of calcium among all other seafood options. Every 100 g of raw shrimp has about 52 mg of calcium, 37 mg of magnesium, and 152 IU of vitamin D.

All of these are critical for maintaining good bone health and can offer protection from osteoporosis, osteoarthritis, and other disabling bone disorders (4).

3. Protects Your Eyes

Foods rich in carotenoids like lutein, meso-zeaxanthin, β-carotene, vitamins C and E, along with omega fatty acids protect your eyes. These compounds have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, neuroprotective, and vascularization modulatory effects (5).

1In 100 g of raw shrimp, you will find 540 mg of omega-3 fatty acids, 54 mcg of retinol, 1.1 mg of vitamin E, and 2 mg of vitamin C, which make it one of the most ideal foods for ocular health.

These compounds (particularly omega-3 fatty acids) may together affect the photoreceptor-membrane function by altering permeability, fluidity, thickness, lipid-phase properties, and the activation of membrane-bound proteins. Thus, when you follow a diet rich in shrimp, you can avoid age-related macular degeneration and several ocular diseases (6).

4. Manages Diabetes And Kidney Troubles

In a study conducted on rats, it was discovered that shrimp by-products improved the antioxidant enzyme activities and significantly decreased the kidney malondialdehyde (MDA) levels when compared to diabetic rats. Histological analysis of their kidneys showed less prominent glomerular hypertrophy (enlarged glomeruli) and tubular dilation in rats that fed on astaxanthin, a shrimp protein. This suggests that shrimp astaxanthin may play a crucial role in the reduction of oxidative damage that increase one’s risk of developing chronic conditions like diabetes (7).

Shrimp intake could also prevent diabetes-induced kidney troubles (chronic kidney disease or other nephropathies) (8).

5. Rich In Chemoprotective Compounds

The lipid fraction of shrimp is rich in carotenoids and polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs). Extensive research proves their chemopreventive properties because these compounds have potent antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antiproliferative, and antimutagenic properties (1).

It also contains meso-zeaxanthin, β-carotene, lycopene, fucoxanthin, astaxanthin, capsanthin, canthaxanthin, crocetin, and phytoene that have anticarcinogenic effects. Its lutein, lycopene, and vitamin E derivatives have high antioxidant potential and can prevent lipid peroxidation (1).

The astaxanthin found in shrimp prevents metastasis, and is antiproliferative and antimutagenic. These compounds have exhibited antitumor and anticancer effects in breast, prostate, hepatic, colon, and blood cancers (1).

Did You Know?

  • Shrimp can help you shed those extra pounds too. The essential fatty acids found in it can keep your LDL levels low and HDL levels relatively high.
  • The antioxidants found in shrimp can prevent lipid peroxidation and adipose tissue accumulation so that you can prevent weight gain.

6. Protects Your Liver

Astaxanthin is 100-fold to 500-fold more effective than vitamin E in preventing lipid peroxidation and reducing lipid accumulation in the liver (9).

In mice models, it has also been reported that astaxanthin can downregulate genes involved in lipogenesis and lipid uptake without influencing fatty acid oxidation-related genes in the liver (9).

Since marine organisms like shrimp and crayfish possess astaxanthin, consuming them in the right proportion can protect your liver from cirrhosis, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), and other oxidative stress-induced disorders (9).

Apart from the astaxanthin, lutein, and other bioactive ingredients, does shrimp have anything else to offer? Well, the answer is yes!

To know what else shrimp can offer you on a platter, read ahead!

Nutritional Profile Of Shrimp

Calorie Information
Amounts Per 100 g Serving%DV
Calories106(444 kJ)5%
From Carbohydrate3.7(15.5 kJ)
From Fat15.6(65.3 kJ)
From Protein86.7(363 kJ)
From Alcohol0.0(0.0 kJ)
Amounts Per Selected Serving%DV
Total Carbohydrate0.9 g0%
Dietary Fiber0.0 g0%
Sugars0.0 g
Fats & Fatty Acids
Amounts Per Selected Serving%DV
Total Fat1.7 g3%
Saturated Fat0.3 g2%
Monounsaturated Fat0.3 g
Polyunsaturated Fat0.7 g
Total trans fatty acids~
Total trans-monoenoic fatty acids~
Total trans-polyenoic fatty acids~
Total Omega-3 fatty acids540 mg
Total Omega-6 fatty acids28.0 mg
Protein & Amino Acids
Amounts Per Selected Serving%DV
Protein20.3 g41%
Amounts Per Selected Serving%DV
Vitamin A180 IU4%
Vitamin C2.0 mg3%
Vitamin D152 IU38%
Vitamin E (Alpha Tocopherol)1.1mg5%
Vitamin K0.0 mcg0%
Thiamin0.0 mg2%
Riboflavin0.0 mg2%
Niacin2.6 mg13%
Vitamin B60.1 mg5%
Folate3.0 mcg1%
Vitamin B121.2 mcg19%
Pantothenic Acid0.3 mg3%
Choline80.9 mg
Amounts Per Selected Serving%DV
Calcium52.0 mg5%
Iron2.4 mg13%
Magnesium37.0 mg9%
Phosphorus205 mg20%
Potassium185 mg5%
Sodium148 mg6%
Zinc1.1 mg7%
Copper0.3 mg13%
Manganese0.1 mg3%
Selenium38.0 mcg54%

Looking at the numbers, it is evident that shrimp is rich in triglycerides and fatty acids, especially omega-3 fatty acids. And another bonus is that it has almost no trans fat and saturated fats.

Another plus point is its protein content. Shrimp contains lysine, leucine, glutamic acid, and other similar amino acids in abundance, which makes it an ideal ingredient for a low-carb meal.

Trace elements (including selenium) fulfill 54% of your daily requirement of such nutrients, which is great to help your DNA stay as safe as possible.

All these nutrients and minerals make shrimp a better choice than chicken in most cases. Of course, if you are obese or at high risk of cardiovascular ailments, consult your doctor and dietitian for a balanced diet plan.

Otherwise, you can enjoy the beautiful texture of shrimp meat unabashedly. How? Just scroll to the next section to find out!

2 Super Quick Recipes With Shrimp

1. Butter-tossed Garlic Shrimp

Butter-tossed Garlic Shrimp
Image: Shutterstock
What You Need
  • Olive oil: 1 ½ tablespoons
  • Shrimp: 1 pound, peeled and deveined
  • Salt: to taste
  • Garlic: 6 cloves, finely minced
  • Red pepper flakes: ¼ teaspoon
  • Lemon juice: 3 tablespoons
  • Caper brine (or finely chopped olives): 1 tablespoon
  • Cold butter: 3 teaspoons
  • Italian flat leaf parsley: ⅓ cup chopped, divided
  • Water: as needed
  • Heavy skillet: small-medium sized
Let’s Make It!
  1. Add olive oil to a heavy skillet and heat it over high heat until it just begins to smoke.
  2. Place the shrimp in an even layer in the bottom of the skillet and cook for 1 minute without stirring.
  3. Sprinkle some salt over the shrimp. Cook and stir until they begin to turn pink, which will take about 1 minute.
  4. Add garlic and red pepper flakes to the shrimp. Cook and stir for about 1 minute.
  5. At this stage, add the lemon juice, caper brine, 1 ½ teaspoons cold butter, and half of the chopped parsley to the skillet.
  6. Cook until the butter melts (about 1 minute) and then turn the heat to low.
  7. Add the rest (1 ½ tablespoons) of the cold butter. Cook and stir until all the butter has melted to form a thick sauce.
  8. By now, the shrimp should look pink and opaque (after 2 to 3 minutes of cooking in butter).
  9. Remove the well-cooked shrimp with a slotted spoon and transfer them to a bowl.
  10. Continue to cook the butter sauce (adding 1 teaspoon of water at a time if it is too thick) for about 2 minutes.
  11. Season with salt to taste.
  12. Serve the shrimp hot, topped with the butter sauce.
  13. Garnish with remaining flat-leaf parsley.
  14. You can eat this with rice, noodles, or fresh focaccia bread slices!

2. Loaded Shrimp Fried Rice

Loaded Shrimp Fried Rice
Image: Shutterstock

What You Need

  • Butter: 4 tablespoons, divided
  • Eggs: 4 large, lightly beaten
  • Cooked rice: 3 cups, cold or room temperature
  • Mixed vegetables (frozen): 1 packet (16 ounces) (optional)
  • Shrimp: 1 pound, uncooked, medium, peeled, and deveined
  • Salt: ½ teaspoon
  • Pepper: ¼ teaspoon
  • Bacon strips: 8, cooked and crumbled (optional)
  • Skillet: medium-large sized
Let’s Make It!
  1. In a large skillet, melt 1 tablespoon of butter over medium-high heat.
  2. Pour lightly beaten eggs into the skillet.
  3. As the eggs set, lift the edges, letting the uncooked portion flow underneath.
  4. After they’ve cooked completely, remove the eggs and keep them warm.
  5. Melt the remaining butter in the skillet.
  6. Add the cooked rice, vegetables, and shrimp. Cook and stir for 5 minutes or until the shrimp turn pink.
  7. Meanwhile, chop the cooked eggs into small pieces. Return these pieces to the pan and sprinkle salt and pepper.
  8. Cook all the ingredients well, stirring occasionally.
  9. You can add some bacon at this stage, if desired.
  10. Transfer the fried rice to a serving dish.
  11. Serve it warm with dips of choice and some chilled beer. Weekend dinner sorted!

You will know how tasty and versatile shrimp can be when you make these dishes. But you need to be careful when you are cooking with shrimp because they are very delicate.

The same attention needs to be given while buying shrimp. Read on for some tips that can save you some time and keep you safe when consuming shrimp.

Tips To Follow While Buying And Cooking Shrimp

While Buying

  • Preferably, buy frozen shrimp – thawed ones don’t have much flavor or texture.
  • Shrimp should smell of saltwater only and, when thawed, should be firm and fill the shell fully.
  • Shrimp should have no black spots or melanosis on their shells as they indicate the breakdown of meat has begun.
  • Do not buy shrimp with yellowing shells or those that feel gritty as either may indicate the use of sodium bisulfite, a bleaching agent sometimes used to remove melanosis.
  • Don’t buy peeled or deveined shrimp. Cleaning before freezing may cause loss of flavor and texture.
  • Avoid brown shrimp, especially large ones. They are loaded with iodine and are not good for your health.
  • Shrimp can be stored in the refrigerator for 1-2 days and in the freezer for 3-12 months.

While Cooking

  • Defrost frozen shrimp in the refrigerator or cold water. Do not defrost in a warm place or microwave as it can lead to a loss of moisture and nutrient value.
  • Cook a couple of shrimp as soon as you purchase them to check for flavor, texture, and iodine taste. You may store the remaining block in the freezer or return to the store if the test shrimp are mushy or taste of iodine.
  • Don’t discard the heads and shells of shrimp. Leave the shells on when you cook them. Shrimp tastes way better with the shell on!
  • Remove the shell before cooking if the shrimp will be served in a hot liquid. Shells keep the shrimp from cooking completely in such dishes.
  • You can freeze the shrimp heads and use them later in some other dishes. Just toss them in some butter to make shrimp sauce. The heads have explosive flavors, trust me!

Alright! With these little tricks and tips, you can become a pro at cooking and buying shrimp.


If you have never tried shrimp because of their freaky big, beady eyes, stop body-shaming them! Jokes aside, shrimp are the best source of essential fatty acids and selenium in seafood. They have about 50% of the daily recommended intake of cholesterol, so you can eat them often in a week. But, remember that moderation and balance are key.

Make sure you follow the tips I discussed above. And if you have high triglycerides or LDL, you should cut down on your shrimp intake. You can also go for vegetarian or vegan substitutes like tofu, chickpeas, and nuts since these plant-based foods have similar nutritive value.

Have any queries or suggestions related to shrimp? Use the comments section below to write to us. We’d also like to know if you found this article informative, so give us your feedback.

Until next time, happy Shrimp-ing!



Articles on thebridalbox are backed by verified information from peer-reviewed and academic research papers, reputed organizations, research institutions, and medical associations to ensure accuracy and relevance. Read our editorial policy to learn more.

  1. Shrimp Lipids: A Source of Cancer….” Marine Drugs, US National Library of Medicine
  2. Effects of shrimp consumption on plasma… ” The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, US National Library of Medicine
  3. Can You Get Jumbo Benefits….” Health & Nutrition Letter, Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, Tufts University
  4. Bone Health for Life: Health Information…” NIH Osteoporosis and Related Bone Diseases National Resource Center, National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases
  5. Nutrients for the aging eye” Clinical Interventions in Aging, US National Library of Medicine
  6. Lutein, Zeaxanthin, and meso-Zeaxanthin…” Progress in Retinal and Eye Research, US National Library of Medicine
  7. Astaxanthin from shrimp by-products ameliorates…” European Journal of Nutrition, US National Library of Medicine
  8. Nutrition for Advanced Chronic Kidney…” National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, National Institutes of Health
  9. Antioxidant dietary approach in treatment…” World Journal of Gastroenterology, US National Library of Medicine
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Staci Gulbin
Staci GulbinMS, MEd, RD, LDN
Staci Gulbin is a registered dietitian, freelance writer, health editor, and founder of LighttrackNutrition.com. She has been a registered dietitian with the Commission on Dietetic Registration since 2010 and has over a decade of experience in the nutrition and dietetics industry.

Read full bio of Staci Gulbin
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