Shrimp Nutrition: 9 Health Benefits of Shrimp, Is It Really Healthy?

Shrimp is the most commonly consumed seafood in the United..

Shrimp Nutrition: 9 Health Benefits of Shrimp, Is It Really Healthy?

Shrimp is the most commonly consumed seafood in the United States and the most highly traded seafood in the world.

But this high demand has led to many environmental and human rights abuses in the fishing, farming and processing of shrimp.

We’re routinely given little information about the shrimp we purchase and what the shrimp nutrition actually is. 

Which is more important now than ever because shrimp is being impacted by several problems. 

Including diseases, antibiotic use and environmental factors. 

Twenty-five percent of the seafood consumption in the United States is shrimp, and the average American consumes four pounds of shrimp every year.

That may be because we consider it to be a healthy form of protein that’s low in calories. 

And that’s true for fresh, wild shrimp, but farm fish has proven to be unhealthy and toxic, making it among the worst seafood and fish you shouldn’t eat.

In fact, it’s been proven to be even more toxic than farmed tilapia and catfish, which rank as the second and third most polluted foods from the sea.

shrimp nutrition

Health Benefits Of Shrimp

Weight Loss

Shrimp is a great source of protein and vitamin D

Without adding carbohydrates to your daily intake, so for people determined to lose weight, this simple form of seafood is a popular option.

The high levels of zinc are also beneficial, since zinc is one way to increase leptin levels in the body.

Leptin is a hormone and is an integral part in the body’s regulation of fat storage, appetite, and overall energy use in the body.

By increasing the levels of leptin in the body, people can avoid common issues like overeating.

Inexplicable cravings for food after being “full”, and similar problem for weight-conscious individuals.

It also has high levels of iodine, which help to control how much energy is expended when your body is at rest.

It interacts with the thyroid gland to speed up thyroid activity, helping in people’s efforts to lose weight, or at least to prevent additional weight gain.

Anti-Aging Properties

Sunlight is one of the major causes that promote skin aging.

Without protection, even a few minutes of exposure to sunlight and UVA may lead to wrinkles, spots, or sunburn.

By adding shrimp to your daily or weekly diet. 

People can greatly improve their chances of beautifying their skin and shedding years from time-worn faces.

It contains high levels of a certain carotenoid called astaxanthin. 

Which is a powerful antioxidant that can greatly reduce the signs of aging in the skin related to UVA and sunlight.

Therefore, for individuals obsessed with spots and wrinkling skin, add a shrimp cocktail to your diet a few times a week to slow those inevitable effects.

Age-Related Macular Degeneration

Studies suggest that shrimp contain a heparin-like compound that may help in treating neovascular AMD.

The astaxanthin found in shrimp also relieves eye fatigue. 

Especially for those who use computers for long duration’s in their personal or professional lives.

Hair Loss

The minerals found in shrimp also contribute to the health of our hair! A deficiency of zinc may cause hair loss.

Zinc plays a key role in maintaining and creating new cells, including hair and skin cells. 

So for those who are beginning to lose their hair, or at least are seeing a decrease in hair growth.

It can work against that embarrassing reality, keeping you looking younger for longer!

Cardiovascular Disease

Fermented shrimp paste, which is a popular manipulation of the food, contains a fibrinolytic enzyme that can be used for thrombolytic therapy.

Thrombolytic therapy is a way of breaking up dangerous blood clots within a person’s blood vessels.

This enzyme found in shrimp paste can be a powerful tool against the dangers of cardiovascular disease. 

Which afflicts so many people throughout the world.  

Also, the high levels of omega-3 fatty acid found in it eliminate damaging cholesterol in the bloodstream.

Which further reduces the chance of heart attacks and strokes.

Bone Health

Protein and various vitamins, such as calcium phosphorus and magnesium, found in shrimp can effectively aid in the fight against bone degeneration.

A deficiency in dietary proteins and vitamins can cause the deterioration of bone quality, bone mass, strength, and overall mass, which are the main symptoms of osteoporosis.

Adding it to your daily or weekly regimen of food can slow the effects of aging bones to keep you stronger for longer.

Brain Health

Shrimp have high levels of iron, which is a key mineral component in the bonding process with oxygen in hemoglobin.

With additional iron in the system, increased oxygen flow can occur to the muscles, providing strength and endurance. 

While also increasing oxygen flow to the brain, which is shown to improve comprehension, memory, and concentration.

Studies suggest that astaxanthin found in shrimp may help in improving memory performance, survival of brain cells, and reducing risk of brain inflammatory diseases.

Also, it is a good source of iodine, which helps the human body make thyroid hormones.

The thyroid hormones, in turn, are needed for the development of the brain during infancy and pregnancy.

Basically, you can raise your test scores and improve your workout regimen at the same time by including shrimp in your diet!

Anti-Cancer Activity

Shrimp contains carotenoids, such as astaxanthin, which may help in reducing the risk of various types of cancer.

It also contains selenium, which is a “trace mineral”, and has been connected to lower levels of cancer, including prostate and lung cancer.

Selenium is a key component of antioxidant enzymes (like glutathione peroxidase). 

Which fights against the presence and destructive effects of free radicals that can cause cancer.

Also, selenium slows down tumor growth by providing a boost to the immune system and inhibiting the creation of blood vessels that lead to tumors that help them grow or metastasize.

Cancer is thereby battled on two fronts with this powerful little mineral, which is a prominent component in the organic structure of shrimp.

Also, studies have shown that in areas of the world where selenium is more prominent in the soil. 

And subsequently in the agricultural products, cancer levels in local people were significantly lower.

Decreases Menstrual Pain

Not all cholesterol is created equally, and shrimp is a source of the beneficial type of cholesterol, omega-3 fatty acids.

These will balance out the well-studied negative effects of omega-6 fatty acids, and aid in the alleviation of menstrual cramps for women. 

As well as promote healthier blood flow to the reproductive organs by reducing other damaging forms of cholesterol in the blood stream.

shrimp nutrition

Shrimp Nutrition Facts

  • Glycemic Index (GI) Rating / Glycemic Load: As shrimp contain no carbohydrates, their Glycemic Index rating is 0.
  • Calories: Shrimp are relatively low in calories, with 1 gram of shrimp containing 1 calorie (1 ounce of shrimp, or 28 grams, therefore contains only 28 calories).
  • Macronutrients: Shrimp are made almost entirely of protein and water, but they do contain some fat and cholesterol, too.
  • Vitamins & Minerals: Shrimp are supercharged with vitamin B12 and selenium. In addition, they provide a fair amount of vitamin A, vitamin E, vitamin B6, iron, magnesium, sodium (salt), zinc and copper. Surprisingly, they also contain some vitamin C.


Why You Shouldn’t Skimp on the Shrimp


Shrimp are rumored to be unhealthy and elevate your cholesterol.

Rest assured, shrimp and other shellfish are nutritious foods that can play a part in any diet.

Shrimp are packed with minerals, so this needs to be considered as a part of some diets that restrict minerals such as sodium.

As with all foods, shrimp can be cooked in both healthy and unhealthy ways.

Does Grilled Shrimp Have Carbs?

Shrimp contain a negligible amount of carbohydrates.

Carbohydrates are important for fueling your body by providing quick energy.

When enjoying shrimp, eat them with healthy carbohydrates such as steamed vegetables or whole grains.

For example, consider a dinner with grilled shrimp topped on steamed brown rice with mixed veggies and a side of steamed broccoli.

How Much Sodium in Grilled Shrimp?

Shrimp and other seafood absorb minerals such as sodium from the ocean and will be higher in sodium than land-based protein such as beef or chicken.

A 3-ounce serving of shrimp contains 805 milligrams of sodium, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

However, shrimp also provides a spectrum of essential minerals, such as the antioxidant mineral selenium, that may be rare elsewhere.

Limit your daily sodium to 2,300 milligrams or 1,500 milligrams if you have high blood pressure, according to

Does Shrimp Have Creatine?

Creatine is a molecule in your muscles that supplies energy during short, intense exertion — for instance, during weightlifting or sprinting.

Creatine is depleted within a few seconds and forms a bridge between the immediate supply of biochemical energy and the energy supplied by burning carbs or fat.

More creatine means more energy available to exert your strength.

Shrimp, which is mostly muscle, contains creatine and the protein that your body can use to produce creatine.

However, it is not obvious that eating foods with creatine or taking creatine supplements will elevate muscle creatine above your baseline level. 

According to the University of Maryland Medical Center.

However, the protein in shrimp can help your body produce its own creatine as needed.

How Much Protein is In Shrimp?

A 3-ounce serving of shrimp, about four large shrimp, contains 20 grams of protein with all of the essential amino acids your body needs.

Protein is broken down into constituent amino acids for your body to repair muscle, organs and hormones to regulate your health.

You need at least 0.4 grams of protein per pound of body weight per day.

If you are active, you may require up to twice that amount.

How Many Carbohydrates Are in One Breaded Shrimp?

Although shrimp are naturally carb-free, adding breading to shrimp can add a substantial amount of carbohydrates.

A medium-sized fried shrimp contains around 5 grams of carbs; however, this amount may vary with the amount of breading, according to the USDA.

As with all other foods, only fry shrimp occasionally. Stick with other methods such as steaming, grilling, sauteeing or baking.

The Amount of Cholesterol in Shrimp, Lobster and Clams

A 3-ounce serving of shrimp contains 179 milligrams of cholesterol, according to the USDA.

A serving of lobster has 108 milligrams and clams 26 milligrams.

Shrimp and other shellfish, such as lobster, have a high level of cholesterol.

The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends limiting your cholesterol to 300 milligrams per day.

Does Shrimp Contain Good or Bad Cholesterol?

High cholesterol can raise your risk for heart disease.

Cholesterol exists in your body in two forms: high-density lipoprotein (HDL) and low-density lipoprotein (LDL).

These are not absorbed directly from foods, but foods you eat can alter their levels.

Eating shrimp raised overall cholesterol, but most of this was HDL, healthy cholesterol, according to a study from Rockefeller University cited by

Does Shrimp Count As a Healthy Fish?

Though it contains a high level of cholesterol, shrimp contains both omega-3 and omega-6 essential fatty acids important for your brain and immune system health.

Shrimp are relatively low in calories — 60 calories in a 3-ounce serving — and are packed with important minerals and vitamins.

Eat shrimp as part of a healthy diet including seafood twice per week.

Wild-Caught Shrimp Nutrition Facts

When you look at shrimp nutrition facts, they don’t seem all that bad.

Shrimp contains a good amount of protein, and it’s low in calories and high in certain vitamins and minerals like niacin and selenium.

It’s also important to note that shrimp is one of the most cholesterol-rich foods in the world.

Four to five shrimp contain more than 150 milligrams of cholesterol. 

Which is 50 percent of your daily recommended allowance. 

But research shows that moderate shrimp consumption does not negatively impact cholesterol levels.

One of my major issues with even wild-caught shrimp nutrition is that they’re bottom dwellers who feed on parasites and skin that they pick off dead animals.

These parasites then go into your body when you consume even the freshest shrimp.

No amount of protein or vitamins outweighs the potential health risks of consuming both wild-caught and farm-raised shrimp. 

But if you do choose to eat shrimp anyway, wild shrimp is your safer bet.

How to Choose Shrimp

Knowing the health issues that surround the farming and processing of shrimp. 

It’s important that consumers learn how to choose their shrimp more carefully if they do choose to buy and eat it.

In its 2014 report on shrimp misrepresentation, Oceana suggests the following guidelines:

  • Avoid farmed shrimp due to health and environmental impacts.
  • If you purchase farmed shrimp, avoid shrimp caught in fisheries that are not responsibly managed, that have high rates of waste or discards or that are associated with human rights abuses.
  • Actively choose shrimp caught from nearby wild populations in the United States rather than shrimp caught overseas.


Because most labels and menus don’t provide consumers with enough information on shrimp or shrimp nutrition to make such choices, following these guidelines may be difficult.

For this reason, and because shrimp are bottom feeders, I suggest that you avoid eating shrimp completely.

The health and environmental risks of eating shrimp outweigh the benefits.

Instead of choosing shrimp, eat wild-caught salmon. 

Which is full of omega-3 fatty acids and has a number of health benefits.

Daniel Messer, RNutr, CPT

We eat clean, are always motivated and helpout beginners in need. We sell guides on Cutting, Bulking and Muscle Building. Checkout our website!

Related articles