Facts About Shrimp And Cholesterol – Can Heart Patients Eat Shrimp?

Here is a guide to how shrimp and cholesterol function in relation to each other and what kind of effects they leave on your body.

Shrimp And Cholesterol- Having Too Much Shrimp Increase The Cholesterol Level?

If you go by the history, you will find that shrimps were not much appreciated and were considered taboo for people suffering from heart diseases or those who had high levels of cholesterol in their bodies.

Shrimp And Cholesterol- Having Too Much Shrimp Increase The Cholesterol Level

The reason behind this is that for a serving of 3.5 ounces, the amount of cholesterol produced is nearly 200mg. If you are suffering from heart-related issues then this will account for your entire day’s consumption. On the other hand, the normal limit for the entire day for others is 300mg.

No Saturated Fat

If you look at the scientific data obtained, you will get to know that shrimp is very low in total fat. It contains 1.5g of fat per serving and contains no saturated fat at all. You should know that saturated fat is not considered good for our bodies as it can be harmful to the heart and blood vessels. When consumed, the body converts it into low-density lipoprotein(LDL). It is also called bad cholesterol. LDL is what carries the cholesterol particles in the entire body and is responsible for clogging arteries. Therefore, it is only part of what influences your heart disease risk.

No Saturated Fat

What Do Studies Have To Say?

A fascinating study from Rockefeller University described what amount of cholesterol and triglycerides are formed in the body on the consumption of shrimps. Dr. Elizabeth De Oliviera e Silva and colleagues conducted a study where the shrimp-based diet of people was put to test.

A total of 18 men and women were made to eat 10 ounces of shrimp. In short, they were given 600 mg of cholesterol daily for a time span of three weeks. As a part of a rotating schedule, the subjects were also fed two eggs per day that delivered nearly the same amount of cholesterol for three weeks.

On the other hand, the egg-based diet was disappointing to a great extent as it increased the LDL levels by 10 percent while increasing the HDL levels by 8 percent.


After three weeks, it was observed that the shrimp-based diet caused a 7 percent increase in LDL cholesterol as compared to a low-cholesterol diet. Apart from this, it also increased the levels of good cholesterol, that is, HDL in the body by a margin of 12 percent. The levels of triglycerides were, however, reduced to 13 percent.

Therefore, the study reveals that the shrimp had a totally positive effect on the body as it increased and improved the HDL and triglycerides by a total of 25 percent with a net improvement of nearly 18 percent.

HDL Is Important!

As per a study, it has been observed that low levels of HDL can lead to total inflammation in relation to heart diseases. So, if you want your body to stay fit and function properly, the desired HDL levels must be maintained. HDL prevents the cholesterol compounds from getting stuck in the arteries by making them fluffier.

Now, it is not feasible to think that heart diseases are all about fluctuations in LDL or HDL levels. If we go beyond this, you will see that inflammation is also a major player in putting your heart at risk. If you look at the benefits offered by shrimp, you can include it in your diet to keep your heart healthy and maintain your HDL levels.

Where does shrimp come from?

As important is the significance of shrimp consumption so is the fact that where is it obtained from. A large amount of shrimp that is sold in the United States comes from Asia. Also, the farming practices being done in Asia involve the use of several antibiotics and pesticides that can be dangerous for the environment and can also have some severe effects on public health. Therefore, it is important that the origin of the product is kept in mind and is used accordingly.

Till now, we have always guided you to eat foods that are low on cholesterol as they can impact the health of your heart. The risk of developing heart disease every time is not possible though. Not all high cholesterol foods have a bad impact on your health.

What are the benefits of consuming shrimp?

  • It is the most common type of shellfish that is consumed largely in the world. It is high in nutrients and is a rich source of iodine that is not normally found in other food items. Iodine is required in the body because it is good for proper thyroid function and brain health. Although, some people state and claim that it is unhealthy to be eaten as it contains high amounts of cholesterol.
  • Apart from this, it is also a good source of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids along with some antioxidants like astaxanthin. Rich in protein and healthy fats, shrimp keeps your body in a healthy state.
  • Astaxanthin is a carotenoid and a primary type of antioxidant in shrimps. It is an element of algae that is consumed by the shrimps due to this their cells also receive a reddish color. Therefore, when you consume this product, you have a high chance of protecting your body from inflammation because the antioxidant prevents the free radicals from damaging the cells of your body. It has the potential to decrease the risk of chronic diseases.
  • Many types of research have been conducted that even suggest that shrimps are helpful in strengthening your arteries due to the presence of astaxanthin. The strong arteries signify the fact that you will remain healthy and the chances of getting attacks will be reduced to a great extent. The levels of HDL cholesterol have also been maintained to help in achieving good heart health.
  • This antioxidant can prove to be highly beneficial for your brain health. The anti-inflammatory properties that it carries within itself help to prevent any kind of damage to the cells present in the brain. It reduces the risk of undergoing memory loss or suffering from some severe neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s.
benefits of consuming shrimp

Use of antibiotics As the demand for shrimp is very high in the U.S., it is usually transported from other countries. If you look at the data, you will find that nearly 80% of shrimp that is consumed in the country comes from nations like India, Indonesia, and Thailand. The

majority of the shrimp is farm-raised. This means that it is grown in industrial tanks that are submerged in bodies of water.

As it is farm-raised, most of the seafood is subject to the treatment of antibiotics due to its high susceptibility to disease. But, the U.S. doesn’t allow the use of antibiotics in any kind of shellfish. Therefore, it is illegal to carry antibiotic-treated shrimps there. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration looks after the process of import and makes sure that the shrimps containing antibiotics are not accepted.

One of the investigations revealed that the US-purchased shrimp contained a detectable amount of sulfadimethoxine. This compound is not allowed to be used in seafood as per the guidelines laid down by the authorities of the U.S.


The primary compound that is responsible for triggering shrimp allergy is tropomyosin. It is a type of protein that is found in shellfish. Many other proteins like hemocyanin and arginine kinase are also responsible for initiating such allergies.

Shrimp allergies can present symptoms to you like digestive issues, skin reactions after eating it, tingling in the mouth, and nasal congestion. You may also experience some anaphylactic reactions. Being a sudden and dangerous reaction, it can lead to conditions of unconsciousness, seizures, or even death if the treatment is not provided on time.

shrimp Allergies

If you observe that you are allergic to shrimps, the only way out is to stop eating them. If your body is sensitive enough, it can also develop reactions from vapors produced by cooking the shrimp. You must avoid direct or indirect contact with shrimps if you develop an allergy to them.

Select the high-quality shrimps! You must choose a high-quality and fresh shrimp that does not cause any damage to your body. It should not be infected, contaminated, or damaged in any way. If you are going to buy raw shrimp from the supermarket, kindly ensure that they are firm in their texture. Apart from this, they should be pinkish-tan, grayish-green, light pink, or translucent in their color. If you witness black spots or

  • blackened edges, you must get warned there. These are not the signs of a healthy and fresh shrimp. These indicate the quality loss.
  • Be it raw or cooked, the shrimps have a mild, ocean-like, and salty smell. Therefore, if you go by odor then you should keep it in mind. In case you visit to purchase it and experience an overwhelming amount of fishy or ammonia-like smell, you should know then that the shrimp being provided is unsafe and spoiled. Therefore, it cannot be brought into use.
  • Once the shrimp is cooked, you must observe its firm texture and the pink tint or slight red color. These are the indications of a well-cooked and healthy shrimp. To make sure that you receive the best quality product, you should always buy it from a trusted supplier. Further, being high in cholesterol does create negative effects on your body.

In addition to several minerals and vitamins, the shrimp being a rich source of healthy fats and proteins helps your body to grow in a balanced manner and make sure that you stay fit.

How to deal with increased cholesterol levels?

If you are dealing with highly increased cholesterol levels then you can undertake some medications as prescribed by the doctor and can make some lifestyle changes if you wish to bring it to normal levels.

  • Statins are helpful in lowering your LDL levels and therefore preventing the clogging of arteries. It acts by slowing down the production of cholesterol by the liver.
  • Apart from statins, you can also make use of cholesterol absorption inhibitors. These are responsible for blocking or inhibiting the absorption of cholesterol from the meals that you consume and are given sometimes in conjunction with the statins.

The use of bempedoic acid is also helpful in reducing your cholesterol levels. This acid prevents the formation of an enzyme called ATP citrate lyase in the liver and prevents the formation of cholesterol in the body. If you also exhibit a case of familial hypercholesterolemia then it can also be combined with statins to witness a better effect. This is a

  • hereditary condition where the body is at risk of developing heart diseases.
  • Bile acid sequestrants are also responsible for lowering blood cholesterol levels. These are used in digestion and they bind with bile acids to remove them. As this happens, the body begins to break down the LDL cholesterol to create bile acids.
  • PCSK9 inhibitors are injected drugs that aid the liver to absorb LDL and remove excess of it from the blood. These are, however, most frequently used with familial hypercholesterolemia.

The medications or drugs can also be used to treat factors like triglycerides which are also responsible for contributing to increased cholesterol levels.

Changes in lifestyle

Apart from the medications, you can also make certain changes in your lifestyle that can help you to stay young, fit, and healthy. To reduce cholesterol levels, you can try exercising daily. Performing physical activities help in reducing weight and also boost the HDL levels in the body. Doing activities like cycling, walking, swimming, running, or jogging can help you progress a lot.

exercising daily

You can try adding more fiber to your diet. This can include replacing the food items like pasta and white bread with whole grains. You can also add healthy fats like avocado, olive oil, and nuts to your diet to get better results. These fats do not increase LDL levels. You must quit smoking as it lowers the amount of HDL cholesterol in the body. The alcohol intake should also be limited to maintain triglyceride levels in the body.

You may also read: How Do Exercises Help In Lowering High Cholesterol Levels? 6 Exercises For Women With High Cholesterol!

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