Is Shrimp Bad For Your Cholesterol – What Are The Effects Of It?

For years shrimp was considered to be a deadly food for those suffering from high cholesterol levels and heart disease. 

This was mainly because a serving of 3.5 ounces of shrimp contains 200mg of cholesterol, which is at par with the daily permissible limit of cholesterol intake for people with heart issues. For healthy individuals, the limit is 300mg per day.

Is Shrimp Bad For Your Cholesterol – What Are The Effects Of It?


As research shows, shrimp is actually very low in total fat content. One serving of shrimp contains about 1.5 gm of total fat and zero saturated fat content.

Saturated fat is particularly known as bad for the heart because the body can convert it to Low-Density Lipoprotein (LDL), which is known as bad cholesterol.

Is Shrimp Bad For Your Cholesterol - What Are The Effects Of It?

However, it is important to note that LDL is only a small contributory factor for heart and blood vessel health. There are other factors too that affect the condition.

The nutrition profile of shrimp:

Shrimp is one of the most widely consumed shellfish across the globe. It is not only appealing to the taste but also enriched in many vital nutrients like iodine that are otherwise not abundantly available in any other natural food source.

Apart from the abundance of iodine, shrimp also contains protein, selenium, vitamin B12, iron, phosphorus, niacin, zinc, and magnesium.

It also contains a good amount of omega 6 and omega 3 fatty acids and antioxidants like astaxanthin which has some significant health benefits, preventing inflammation and strengthening arteries thus reducing the chance of stroke and heart attacks.

It has a contribution to improving brain health by prevention of degenerative diseases and memory loss that can eventually lead to Alzheimer’s disease.

The antioxidant astaxanthin present in shrimp is also known to be able to remove free radicals from the system, thus preventing cell damage. This reduces the chance of many recurring chronic diseases and thus promoting general good health.

This can also help in what research reveals:

The research was undertaken by Dr. Elizabeth D Oleivera D Silva and colleagues at the Rockefeller University in 1996. In the study, 18 individuals, both men and women, were put on a shrimp-based diet for a week. During the week, they were fed 10 ounces of shrimp every day for three weeks, 10 ounces of shrimp roughly corresponds to 600 mg of cholesterol.

Followed by the shrimp diet, the same set of individuals were put on an egg-based diet, in which they were fed 2 eggs per day for 3 weeks.

On a rotational basis, the individuals were then put on a low cholesterol diet for another 3 weeks.

At the end of the three weeks, the shrimp-based diet was found to have raised the LDL level by 7% compared to the low cholesterol diet. The High-Density Lipoprotein (HDL), known as good cholesterol, the level was raised by 12% in the individuals, and strikingly the level of triglyceride was observed to have fallen by 13%.

This indicated that shrimps have a positive impact on heart and cholesterol levels. It increased the HDL and the triglyceride level by a combined 25% and a net betterment of 18%.

A study of 2015 reveals that a lower HDL level is associated with inflammation of the heart. Hence a higher level of HDL is always desirable and individuals susceptible to heart disease.

The egg diet had the most concerning outcome, where the LDL level was raised by 10%, and the HDL level was increased by only 8%.

The key takeaway:

The key takeaway of the above observation implies that the risk factors for heart diseases or conditions related to the blood vessel are not related to just levels of LDL or cholesterol.

Inflammation in the heart makes a person more susceptible to heart conditions. Hence the HDL level is shown to have a positive impact in keeping the inflammation under check; individuals prone to cardiovascular conditions can indulge in a moderate shrimp intake in their healthy heat diet.

However, it is important to have a check for the original source of the shrimp that is being supplied in the markets in the US. The majority of these shrimps come from Asian countries, where shrimp farming involves the heavy use of pesticides and antibiotics.

Both of these substances have a detrimental effect on human health and the ecological balance of the environment.

Hence it is advisable to buy wild shrimps or shrimps that have been imported from countries where the use of antibiotics in far fishing is deemed illegal.

Leave a Comment