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Is Shrimp Healthy for a Diet?

author image Nicki Wolf
Nicki Wolf has been writing health and human interest articles since 1986. Her work has been published at various cooking and nutrition websites. Wolf has an extensive background in medical/nutrition writing and online content development in the nonprofit arena. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in English from Temple University.
Is Shrimp Healthy for a Diet?
Shrimp can be part of a healthy diet.

With hundreds of options for protein in your diet, shrimp provides a meaty-textured choice with a delicate flavor. Served both hot and cold, you can use shrimp in sushi, casseroles, sandwiches and soups, and you can even eat them plain with butter or cocktail sauce. For most people, shrimp can be part of a healthy diet, and its low-mercury content makes it an attractive choice. If you must watch your cholesterol, however, you might consider lower-cholesterol seafood selections.

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Calories and Fat

Shrimp serves up 84.2 calories per 3-oz. cooked portion. Most of the calories in this seafood derive from protein, with a small portion coming from fat. A serving of shrimp contains just 0.9g of fat, with 0.2g of fat coming from saturated fat. Limit the saturated fat in your meal plan to 22g per day or less. Shrimp also contains 165.8mg of cholesterol per serving, over half the recommended limit of 300mg per day. While saturated fat and cholesterol often gets the blame for increasing your risk of clogged arteries, other issues factor in, including your lifestyle and genetic propensity to heart disease. However, shrimp also contains omega-3, a fatty acid that could help prevent or reduce your risks for heart disease and other health conditions, such as diabetes.


The United States Department of Agriculture recommends two services of fish or seafood each week. A serving of shrimp provides 17.8g of protein. This amount makes up a considerable portion of the 46 to 56g of protein you should consume each day to bolster your immune system, build lean muscle fiber and produce energy. Include shrimp in your diet if you’re a woman to cut down your risk of coronary heart disease. A study in the August 2010 issue of the journal “Circulation” correlates a higher protein intake from seafood, including shrimp, with a lower chance of developing cardiovascular issues in women between the ages of 30 and 55 years of age.


Shrimp serves as a good source of vitamin B-12, with 21.1 percent of the daily recommended intake. The vitamin B-12 in shrimp contributes toward the function of your nerves. A serving of shrimp provides under 10 percent of the vitamin B-6, vitamin E and vitamin A you need each day as well, which makes shrimp a good pick to improve your eyesight and skin.


Eat a serving of shrimp, and you consume nearly half the selenium you should consume daily. Selenium plays a critical role in the proper function of your thyroid and provides antioxidant protection. One serving of shrimp also contains 14.6 percent of the iron and 11.6 percent of the phosphorus your diet requires every day. Additionally, you take in approximately 8 percent of the daily recommended intake of zinc and copper.

Health Concerns

While shrimp contain low levels of mercury, this seafood still contains a small amount of the potentially dangerous contaminant. Limit your consumption to 12 oz. of shrimp in a seven-day period to avoid health problems. Make sure that you do not consume raw or undercooked shrimp since this could lead to foodborne illness.

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