A heart-healthy diet is low in both dietary cholesterol and saturated fat. Although crab meat and shrimp do contain cholesterol, they might not have an overly large effect on your cholesterol levels if you eat them in moderation. When it comes to raising your cholesterol levels, saturated fat content is much more important than dietary cholesterol.
A 3-oz. serving of cooked crab meat contains 45 mg of cholesterol, which is 15 percent of the Daily Value for cholesterol. Shrimp contains much more dietary cholesterol than crab meat, with a 3-oz. serving of shrimp cooked in moist heat providing 165 mg of cholesterol, or 60 percent of the Daily Value for cholesterol.
Saturated Fat Content
You don't need to eat any saturated fat, as your body can make this fat on its own. When you consume a lot of saturated fat, it increases your harmful low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels. You should get less than 7 percent of your daily calories from saturated fat to limit your risk for high cholesterol. A 3-oz. serving of either crab or shrimp does not contain any saturated fat.
A 3-oz. serving of crab meat provides 16 g of protein; 160 percent of the DV for vitamin B-12; 45 percent of the DV for zinc; 25 percent of the DV for phosphorus; 15 percent of the DV for magnesium; 10 percent of the DV for vitamin C and folate; 8 percent of the DV for vitamin B-6; 6 percent of the DV for niacin and calcium; and 4 percent of the DV for iron, thiamine and riboflavin.
A 3-oz. serving of shrimp provides 18g of protein; 20 percent of the DV for vitamin B-12; 15 percent of the DV for iron; 10 percent of the DV for niacin, phosphorus and zinc; 8 percent of the DV for magnesium; 6 percent of the DV for vitamin B-6; 4 percent of the DV for vitamin A, vitamin C and calcium; and 2 percent of the DV for thiamine and riboflavin.
Shrimp are a good source of the heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Most types of crab and shrimp are not usually high in mercury or PCBs, but blue crab may contain these contaminants. Dungeness crab or stone crab are healthier options, as well as being more environmentally friendly options. Spot prawns from Canada and pink shrimp from Oregon are the most eco-friendly options for shrimp, according to the Environmental Defense Fund.