Though out the years there’s been a lot of controversy about the nutritional value in shrimp… Check out this article we found on The World’s Healthiest Foods.com where they dive deep into why shrimp is so important:
An Important Message About Shrimp
We have placed shrimp on our “10 Most Controversial WHFoods List.” This list was created to let you know that even though some foods (like shrimp) can make an outstanding contribution to your meal plan, they are definitely not for everyone. Shrimp can be difficult to find in high-quality form; can be more commonly associated with adverse reactions than other foods; and can present more challenges to our food supply in terms of sustainability. More details about our 10 Most Controversial WHFoods can be found here.
What’s New and Beneficial About Shrimp
- Shrimp are an unusually concentrated source of the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory nutrient called astaxanthin. It’s not unusual for a single 4-ounce serving of shrimp to contain 4 milligrams of astaxanthin. Astaxanthin is a carotenoid that is receiving special attention in the latest health research, primarily for its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Release of inflammatory messaging molecules (like tumor necrosis factor alpha and interleukin 1B) is suppressed by astaxanthin, and so is unwanted oxidation of fats in immune cells. In animal studies, risk of colon cancer is lowered by intake of astaxanthin, and immune-related problems of diabetes are also reduced. It’s the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of astaxanthin that seems to explain these disease-related benefits. Since few commonly consumed fish (with the exception of salmon) can provide us such concentrated amounts of astaxanthin, shrimp may be making a unique health contribution in this way.
- At 45 micrograms in every 4 ounces, shrimp is an excellent source of the antioxidant mineral selenium. Recent research studies show that the selenium contained in shrimp can be well-absorbed into the human body. In one study, we’ve seen an estimate of about 80-85% for total selenium absorption from this shellfish. Since selenium deficiency has been shown to be a risk factor for heart failure and other forms of cardiovascular disease, as well as for other problems including type 2 diabetes, compromised cognitive function, and depression, shrimp may have a unique role to play in your meal plan if your health history places you at special risk in any of these areas.
- Shrimp is often included on the “avoid” list for persons wanting to minimize their dietary intake of cholesterol. The 220 milligrams of cholesterol contained in a 4-ounce serving of shrimp makes this approach a legitimate concern. However, despite its high cholesterol content, several recent research studies have noted some desirable aspects of the fat profile in shrimp. One of these desirable aspects is shrimp’s omega-3 fat content. Four ounces of shrimp provides about 350-375 milligrams of omega-3 fatty acids, including about 50% EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and 50% DHA (docosahexaenoic acid). EPA and DHA are especially important omega-3s for cardiovascular and nervous system health. In addition to this great mixture of omega-3s, shrimp also provides an outstanding ratio of omega-3:omega-6 fats. There are approximately three times as many omega-3s as omega-6s in shrimp. Since higher ratios of omega-3:omega-6 are associated with decreased risk of many chronic diseases—including obesity, high blood pressure, and type 2 diabetes—this aspect of shrimp’s fat content is a huge plus. Finally, it is interesting to note that according to recent studies, cholesterol is not the only sterol in shrimp. This type of fat is found in smaller amounts in the form of beta-sitosterol, campesterol, and brassicasterol.
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