Is Shrimp Good for You? Nutrition, Calories & More (2023)

Despite being low in calories, shrimp contains many nutrients, including iodine and antioxidants, that may offer health benefits. But it is high in cholesterol.

Shrimp is one of the most commonly consumed types of shellfish.

It’s quite nutritious and provides high amounts of certain nutrients, such as iodine, that aren’t abundant in many other foods.

On the other hand, some people claim that shrimp is unhealthy due to its high cholesterol content.

Additionally, it’s commonly believed that farm-raised shrimp may have some negative health effects compared with wild-caught shrimp.

This article explores the evidence to determine if shrimp is a healthy food to include in your diet.

Is Shrimp Good for You? Nutrition, Calories & More (1)Share on Pinterest

Shrimp has an impressive nutrition profile.

It’s quite low in calories, providing only 84 calories in a 3-ounce serving (1).

Additionally, the same serving size provides more than 9 different vitamins and minerals (1).

Shrimp nutrition

Here’s an overview of the nutrients in a 3-ounce (85-gram) serving of shrimp (1):

  • Calories: 84.2
  • Protein: 20.4 g
  • Iron: 0.433 mg
  • Phosphorus: 201 mg
  • Potassium: 220 mg
  • Zinc: 1.39 mg
  • Magnesium: 33.2 mg
  • Sodium: 94.4 mg

Shrimp is also one of the best food sources of iodine, an important mineral that many people are deficient in. Iodine is required for proper thyroid function and brain health (2).

Shrimp is also a good source of omega-3 fatty acids (3).

(Video) 8 Incredible Benefits of Shrimp | Health And Nutrition


Shrimp is very nutritious. It’s fairly low in calories and provides a high amount of protein and healthy fats, as well as a variety of vitamins and minerals.

Shrimp often gets a bad rap for its high cholesterol content.

A 3-ounce (85-gram) serving contains 161 mg of cholesterol (1).

Many people fear foods that are high in cholesterol due to the belief that they increase the cholesterol in your blood, and promote heart disease.

However, research shows this may not be the case for most people, as only a quarter of the population is sensitive to dietary cholesterol. For the rest, dietary cholesterol may only have a small impact on blood cholesterol levels (4).

This is because most of the cholesterol in your blood is produced by your liver, and when you eat foods high in cholesterol, your liver produces less (5).

Fatty acids

What’s more, shrimp contains several nutrients that may actually boost health, such as omega-3 fatty acids (3).

Studies suggest that, while most foods rich in cholesterol are also high in saturated fats, shrimp is an exception (6).

Although more research is needed to explore shrimp’s role in heart health, it has a variety of beneficial properties that may outweigh its cholesterol content.


Shrimp is high in cholesterol, but it also contains omega-3 fatty acids that have been shown to promote heart health. Research on shrimp has also shown positive health effects.

Shrimp contains antioxidants

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The primary type of antioxidant in shrimp is a carotenoid called astaxanthin.

Astaxanthin is a component of algae, which is consumed by shrimp. For this reason, shrimp is a major source of astaxanthin. In fact, this antioxidant is responsible for the reddish color of shrimp cells (7).

When you consume astaxanthin, it may help protect against inflammation by preventing free radicals from damaging your cells. It’s been studied for its role in reducing the risk of several chronic diseases (7).

Heart and brain health

Many studies have found astaxanthin may help strengthen arteries, which may reduce the risk of heart attacks. It may also help increase levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL), or “good” cholesterol, an important factor in heart health (8).

In addition, astaxanthin may be beneficial for brain health. Its anti-inflammatory properties may prevent damage to your brain cells that often leads to memory loss and neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s (7).

Despite these findings, more human research is needed to determine the overall role that the astaxanthin in shrimp may have on overall health.


Shrimp contains an antioxidant called astaxanthin, which has been studied for its role in promoting brain and heart health.

Due to the high demand for shrimp in the United Sates, it’s often imported from other countries.

Between 75 and 80% of the seafood eaten in the United States is imported from other countries, like Thailand, China, Canada, Indonesia, and Vietnam (9).

Although this helps increase access to shrimp, most imported shrimp is farm-raised, which means it’s grown in industrial tanks that are submerged in bodies of water (10).

Imported seafood

Farm-raised seafood from other countries is frequently treated with antibiotics due to its high susceptibility to disease. However, the United States does not permit the use of antibiotics in shrimp and other shellfish (10).

For this reason, it’s illegal to import shrimp that contains antibiotics. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is responsible for inspecting imported shrimp to ensure it doesn’t contain antibiotics (11).

However, due to the high volume of shrimp imports, the FDA is unable to regulate all of them. Because of this, farm-raised shrimp contaminated with antibiotics has the potential to enter the U.S. food supply (12).

(Video) Are Shrimps High In Cholesterol? - by Dr Sam Robbins

Using antibiotics in shrimp has not been confirmed to have any major adverse health effects. However, it may lead to antibiotic resistance, which can cause outbreaks of diseases that do not respond to antibiotic treatment (13).

If you’re concerned about antibiotics in shrimp, it’s best to opt for wild-caught shrimp, which is never treated with antibiotics. Additionally, you can be assured that shrimp caught and prepared in the United States does not contain antibiotics.


Farm-raised shrimp from some countries may be contaminated with antibiotics. To reduce your antibiotic exposure, it’s best to purchase wild-caught or farmed shrimp from countries where antibiotic use is illegal.

Shellfish, including shrimp, are classified as one of the top nine food allergies in the United States, along with fish, peanuts, tree nuts, wheat, milk, and soy (14).

The most common trigger of shrimp allergies is tropomyosin, a protein found in shellfish. Other proteins in shrimp that may trigger an allergic reaction include arginine kinase and hemocyanin (15).

Symptoms of shellfish allergy

Symptoms of shrimp allergies vary and may include (16):

  • tingling in the throat
  • digestive issues
  • breathing difficulties
  • skin reactions

Some people with shrimp allergies may have anaphylactic reactions, as well. This is a dangerous, sudden reaction that can lead to seizures, unconsciousness, and even death if it is not treated immediately (16).

If you’re allergic to shrimp, the only way to prevent allergic reaction is to completely avoid eating it.

In some instances, even the vapors from cooking shrimp can trigger a reaction. So, those with shrimp allergies must also avoid situations where they may be exposed to it indirectly (16).


Shrimp contains a protein called tropomyosin that can trigger a serious allergic reaction for some. The only treatment for a shrimp

How to choose high quality shrimp

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It’s important to choose high quality, fresh shrimp that isn’t damaged, infected, or contaminated.

When purchasing raw shrimp, make sure they’re firm. The shells should be translucent and grayish-green, pinkish tan, or light pink in color. Blackened edges or black spots on the shells may indicate quality loss (17).

Additionally, raw and cooked shrimp should have a mild, “ocean-like” or salty smell. Shrimp with an overwhelming “fishy” or ammonia-like odor is likely spoiled and unsafe to consume.

You should purchase shrimp from a knowledgeable and reputable supplier who can answer your questions about the shrimp’s country of origin and handling practices.

How to cook shrimp

Make sure your cooked shrimp is firm in texture, and white with a slight red or pink tint.

Shrimp can be prepared as an appetizer or in a dish, like curries or stir-fries. It can be covered in breadcrumbs or cooked on kebab sticks (18).


To choose high quality shrimp, it’s important to consider its odor and color. Purchase from a trusted supplier to get the best quality product.

Shrimp is high in several vitamins and minerals, and it’s a rich source of protein. Eating shrimp may also promote heart and brain health due to its content of omega-3 fatty acids and the antioxidant astaxanthin (7).

Although shrimp is high in cholesterol, it has not been found to have a negative impact on heart health (8).

Despite the health benefits of shrimp, there are some concerns about the quality of farm-raised shrimp that may be contaminated with antibiotics.

However, there are plenty of steps you can take to ensure you’re getting high quality shrimp, such as purchasing it from reputable suppliers.

Overall, shrimp is a healthy food that can fit well into a balanced diet.


Is shrimp healthy nutrition calories and more? ›

Shrimp is a great food to include in your diet. It's not only high in protein but also low in calories, carbs, and fat. Three ounces (85 grams) of shrimp contain 12 grams of protein and only 60 calories ( 11 ). Shrimp is rich in selenium, choline, and vitamin B12.

Are there any benefits to eating shrimp? ›

The antioxidants in shrimp are good for your health. These substances can protect your cells against damage. Studies suggest that the antioxidant astaxanthin helps prevent wrinkles and lessens sun damage. Shrimp also has plenty of selenium.

What is the nutritional value of eating shrimp? ›

Shrimp is an excellent source of vitamin B12, providing 1.4mcg or 59% of the daily value (DV). 3 They are also a good source of phosphorus, providing 201 mg or 16% of the DV. 4 and choline providing 69 mg or 12.5% of the DV. 5 Shrimp also provide calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, zinc, and selenium.

What happens to your body when you eat shrimp? ›

You will increase protein consumption.

Shrimp delivers a mighty dose of protein at around 19 grams of protein per three-ounce serving. This equates to about 75% of total calories as protein, which fits in well with a diet seeking more lean protein sources.

Is shrimp healthier than grilled chicken? ›

Shrimp ranks among Americans' favorite seafood. While the mini-crustaceans may be small, they pack big nutritional punch. A bonus: One jumbo shrimp supplies only 14 calories, which means a half-dozen (about 3 oz.) add up to 84 calories—about 15 less than a 3-ounce chicken breast (about the size of a deck of cards).

Are shrimp healthier than chicken? ›

Chicken has more thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid and Vitamin B6, however, shrimp contains more folate and Vitamin B12. Chicken is an excellent source of potassium. Shrimp has 10.9 times less saturated fat than chicken.

Does shrimp raise your cholesterol? ›

And shrimp have high levels of beneficial highly unsaturated fatty acids, which raise HDL cholesterol levels, so eating shrimp may actually lower blood cholesterol levels.

Is shrimp good for your cholesterol? ›

The authors suggest that shrimp and egg are healthful foods that will not increase the risk of cardiovascular disease. The American Heart Association (AHA) even list shrimp as a food that can lower cholesterol levels — as long as people do not fry it.

Is shrimp good for high blood pressure? ›

The healthy fats in shrimp, like omega-3 fatty acids, can lower your blood pressure and odds of getting heart disease and stroke.

Is shrimp healthier than beef? ›

Shrimp is certainly lower in fat and calories than lean beef: Three ounces contains 31 grams of protein, eight grams of total fat, and 3.2 grams of saturated fat. Even skinless chicken breast has a little more fat than shrimp.

Is shrimp better protein than chicken? ›

A 5-ounce serving of shrimp blows chicken out of the water with 31 grams of protein.

Which is healthier fish or shrimp? ›

Best: Shrimp

They're low in mercury -- and calories -- and high in protein.

How many times a week can you eat shrimp? ›

To reap the health benefits, The American Heart Association recommends two servings of non-fried fish or seafood a week, and Danowski says shrimp can fill that quota. For portion sizes, she recommends three or four ounces, which usually comes out to around six to nine large shrimp.

What are the cons of eating shrimp? ›

Shrimp May Contain Contaminants

Shellfish may contain a range of unwanted additives, including heavy metals and microplastics. 2324 The health effects of these substances aren't completely understood, but excess mercury is known to impact the nervous system as well as heart and kidney health.

Is shrimp a junk food? ›

Shrimp are low in calories while also being a great source of protein. A 3-ounce serving of steamed shrimp supplies about 84 calories and 20 g of protein. Plus, the health benefits of shrimp are vast.

What has more cholesterol shrimp or eggs? ›

But shrimp has more cholesterol than an egg! Shellfish contains slightly less cholesterol than farm animals with a few exceptions, particularly shrimp and squid. These two anomalies have about two to three times the amount of cholesterol compared to other animals.

Is shrimp better boiled or grilled? ›

You can cook shrimp on a lower heat for a longer period of time, but for the best result, we like to sear or sauté shrimp on high heat. It gives them the best texture, juicy and tender, without any stringy chewiness.

What meat has highest protein? ›

You may be surprised to hear that chicken breast has the most protein in it compared to all types of meat. It has an impressive 30.9g of protein per 100g/3.5 ounces.

What is healthier salmon or shrimp? ›

Summary. Shrimp is richer in vitamin E, selenium, choline, phosphorus, zinc, calcium, magnesium, and copper. In comparison, salmon is richer in omega-3 fats, vitamin B complex, vitamin D, and potassium. Salmon is higher in calories and total fats and shrimps are higher in sodium.

Which is better pork or shrimp? ›

Pork has more Vitamin B1, Vitamin B2, Vitamin B6, and Vitamin B3, while Shrimp has more Vitamin B12, Copper, and Vitamin E . Pork covers your daily need of Vitamin B1 70% more than Shrimp. Pork contains 13 times more Vitamin B2 than Shrimp. While Pork contains 0.321mg of Vitamin B2, Shrimp contains only 0.024mg.

Is shrimp better than lobster? ›

Well, shrimp isn't necessarily dense in nutrients, but it does provide a fine source of selenium, calcium and iodine, and is full of protein and vitamin B. Lobster and crab contain decent levels of magnesium, selenium and zinc, but not the protein and omega-3s that fish or even mollusks offer.

Which seafood is best for cholesterol? ›

The best in terms of lowering cholesterol are tuna, salmon, and swordfish. Sardines and halibut are good options, too.

Do eggs increase your cholesterol? ›

Chicken eggs are an affordable source of protein and other nutrients. They're also naturally high in cholesterol. But the cholesterol in eggs doesn't seem to raise cholesterol levels the way some other foods, such as those high in trans fats and saturated fats, do.

Is A Lobster good for you? ›

Lobster is a type of crustacean rich in protein, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals. Adding it to your diet may be beneficial for weight loss and mental health and may help reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer.

What kind of cheese is good for high cholesterol? ›

Cottage cheese, ricotta cheese, and nonfat cheeses are generally considered healthier than many other types of cheese. This is because these cheeses often contain lower amounts of cholesterol and saturated fat.

Do potatoes raise cholesterol? ›

In fact, it does a better job of managing your cholesterol levels than diets that are low in trans and saturated fats. These fats are the usual culprits when it comes to cholesterol. That's where potatoes come in.
A healthier potato.
Older than 50 years21 g30 g
1 more row

What is the number one food that causes high blood pressure? ›

Salt or sodium

Salt, or specifically the sodium in salt, is a major contributor to high blood pressure and heart disease. This is because of how it affects fluid balance in the blood. Table salt is around 40 percent sodium. Some amount of salt is important for health, but it's easy to eat too much.

Does shrimp affect blood sugar? ›

Prawns and shrimp are considered safe for diabetics due to their near-zero carbohydrate and sugar content. Both shrimp and prawns have a very low glycaemic index (GI) score. Therefore, they do not affect blood sugar levels like other types of seafood or meat.

What fish is not good for high blood pressure? ›

Higher mercury levels are found in shark, tuna, swordfish and king mackerel.

What meat is the healthiest? ›

5 of the Healthiest Meats
  1. Sirloin Steak. Sirloin steak is both lean and flavorful – just 3 ounces packs about 25 grams of filling protein! ...
  2. Rotisserie Chicken & Turkey. The rotisserie cooking method helps maximize flavor without relying on unhealthy additives. ...
  3. Chicken Thigh. ...
  4. Pork Chop. ...
  5. Canned Fish.
Jan 6, 2020

Which meat is the fattest? ›

Fatty Cuts of Meat

Filet mignon, also known as Chateaubriand or tenderloin, T-bone, New York Strip, porterhouse, flap or skirt steak and rib-eye steaks all contain the highest amounts of fat.

Is shrimp healthier than turkey? ›

Shrimp is higher in Selenium, Vitamin B12, Copper, Vitamin E , and Phosphorus, yet Turkey meat is higher in Vitamin B3, Vitamin B6, and Vitamin B2. Turkey meat's daily need coverage for Vitamin B3 is 43% more. Shrimp has 31 times more Vitamin E than Turkey meat.

What can I eat instead of chicken for protein? ›

If you're bored of poultry, try these seven high protein foods that aren't chicken:
  • Eggs. If you want a protein-packed breakfast to stave off snack cravings later in the day, crack a couple eggs. ...
  • 93% Lean Ground Beef. ...
  • Ground Turkey. ...
  • Salmon. ...
  • Edamame. ...
  • Cocktail Shrimp. ...
  • Greek Yogurt.

Is shrimp high in iron? ›

You can satisfy your craving and get some iron, too. Shrimp and oysters are packed with it. Toss in some brown or enriched rice and you'll turn it into an iron-rich treat.

What vegetables have more protein than chicken? ›

Vegetables that are high in protein
  • Corn.
  • Broccoli.
  • Asparagus.
  • Brussels sprouts.
  • Artichokes.
Oct 26, 2021

Are scallops healthier than shrimp? ›

Although shrimp is relatively high in cholesterol, it can still be a part of a heart-healthy diet. This is because it contains a high amount of 'good' cholesterol. Scallops are low in cholesterol and therefore do not pose a risk of raising your cholesterol levels. They are also low in saturated fats.

Is shrimp OK to eat everyday? ›

Is it okay to eat shrimp every day? A. Doctors now consider it safe for most people to consume shrimp daily, irrespective of their cholesterol levels. In moderation, shrimp consumption can provide many essential nutrients.

Are shrimp good for weight loss? ›

Yes, as long as you don't drown it in tons of oil and eat it in small or moderate amounts. Shrimp is low in calories, carbs, and fat, but high in protein and essential micronutrients. It is also quite beneficial for your health and may promote better heart health.

Is shrimp good for osteoporosis? ›

Many Americans of all ages don't incorporate enough calcium into their diets, so it's important to make it more of a staple of the daily diet. It's a good thing that calcium-rich, wild-caught American shrimp are so tasty! A little bit of shrimp every week can go a long way towards stronger bone health!

Are tomatoes good for you? ›

"For example, tomatoes are rich in lycopene, an antioxidant compound that is thought to have anticancer properties and may play a role in skin health," explains Beaver. "Bell peppers are rich in vitamin C, an antioxidant important for immune health.

Are olives good for you? ›

Olives are rich in vitamin E and other antioxidants, which may help reduce the risk of health conditions like cancer, diabetes, stroke, and heart disease. Olives also contain: Vitamin A. Copper.

Is shrimp good for your digestive system? ›

The best easy-to-digest meats and proteins include: Chicken and turkey. Eggs. Shrimp and scallops.

Is shrimp good for the Liver? ›

What do sardines, salmon, tuna, cod, scallops and shrimp have to do with your liver? They are all excellent sources of Vitamin B12. About 90% of the B12 found in your body is stored in your liver, and liver damage decreases B12 levels.

What meat is best for high blood pressure? ›

Lean beef, pork, chicken and fatty fish are good proteins to help promote healthy blood pressure. Fatty fish like salmon are loaded with omega-3 fats, and high levels of this healthy fat are associated with lower SBP and DBP.

Is shrimp high in calories? ›

Shrimp are low in calories while also being a great source of protein. A 3-ounce serving of steamed shrimp supplies about 84 calories and 20 g of protein.

Is shrimp actually healthy? ›

Shrimp is a commonly eaten seafood and a lean source of protein. While the amount of calories in shrimp is low, the number of key nutrients is high. These nutrients include vitamin B12, which helps form red blood cells and maintain nervous system function, and selenium, a mineral that helps protect cells from damage.

How many shrimp is 100 calories? ›

They are low in calories — about 100 calories in 15 large shrimp — quick and easy to cook, and a “good source of protein,” says Alice H.

What is the healthiest way to eat shrimp? ›

While shrimp is a low-calorie source of protein, it needs to be prepared properly in order to maintain its health benefits. The healthiest way to cook shrimp is to steam or grill. Serve your steamed or grilled shrimp with salads and low-calorie pasta for a completely balanced meal.

How many shrimp is 1 serving? ›

A typical serving of shrimp is 3 ounces. This can be 12 to 20 small shrimp per person, depending on the size.

How many pieces of shrimp is 4 oz? ›

4 oz. depending on size of your shrimp: Jumbo (21-25 count per pound): 5-6 shrimp. Large (31-35 count per pound): 8-9 shrimp. 5-6 jumbo sized shrimp, 8-9 large-sized shrimp, or 10-11 medium-sized shrimp.

How many pieces of shrimp is 3 oz? ›

This is about 10 to 15 shrimp per 3 oz serving and 0.23 oz per shrimp. Large shrimp are about 31 to 40 shrimp per pound making for about 8 or 9 shrimp per serving. Each individual shrimp weighs about 0.33 oz.

What is the healthiest seafood to eat? ›

6 of the Healthiest Fish to Eat
  1. Albacore Tuna (troll- or pole-caught, from the US or British Columbia) ...
  2. Salmon (wild-caught, Alaska) ...
  3. Oysters (farmed) ...
  4. Sardines, Pacific (wild-caught) ...
  5. Rainbow Trout (farmed) ...
  6. Freshwater Coho Salmon (farmed in tank systems, from the US)
Nov 16, 2018

Which seafood is more healthy? ›

Best: Salmon

It's high in healthy omega-3 fatty acids. And as a canned fish, it generally has less mercury than tuna. Wild salmon caught in Alaska is a good source, whether fresh or canned.


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