Last Updated on Feb 18, 2017

What is Shrimp?

Shrimp is one of the most delicious seafood, which is enjoyed in almost every part of the world. Besides having an amazing taste, shrimp has a high protein content and low saturated fat (unhealthy fat) content.

Shrimp is a good source of selenium, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin B12 and astaxanthin, a natural and powerful antioxidant. Shrimp is a versatile food ingredient that can be added to stir-fried dishes, salads, pastas, soups and curries.

Shrimp and prawn are the two terms that are often used interchangeably in commercial fisheries. Shrimp is commonly eaten in different regions of the world such as North America, South America, Central America, Africa, the Middle East Asia, the Mediterranean, Africa, Australia and Europe. Different varieties of shrimp are available in different regions. There are more than 100 varieties of shrimp found in fresh as well as salt water, some of them include:

  • Brown shrimp
  • Pink-spotted shrimp
  • Pink shrimp
  • White shrimp
  • Black tiger shrimp
  • Royal red shrimp

Health Benefits of Shrimp

Shrimp Nutrition Facts

Shrimp is loaded with an array of key nutrients such as vitamin A, vitamin D, vitamin B12, vitamin B3, protein, selenium, carotenoids, copper, calcium, magnesium, iron, zinc, omega-3 fat and astaxanthin (antioxidant). Shrimp is an excellent source of good quality protein and minerals. Besides this shrimp has a low caloric count and can be useful in weight loss if it is paired with other healthy foods.

Protein Power

It is very well-known that protein is an important component of each cell of our body. Lack of protein in our daily diets can lead to muscle weakness, fatigue, low energy levels, dull skin, low immunity levels, slow wound healing and poor concentration levels. Therefore, it is very important to add protein to your daily diet.

Shrimp contains good quality protein that can be absorbed and used by the body for muscle building, providing strength and so on. It also contains essential amino acids that cannot be produced by the body. Thus, shrimps are a complete protein package and making them a part of your diet can provide various health benefits.

Lowers Risk of Alzheimer's Disease

Alzheimer's disease is a neurodegenerative disorder that causes cognitive decline. Omega-3 fatty acids such as EPA (ecosa-pentanoic acid) and DHA (docosa-hexanoic acid) fights depression and improves overall mental health. Research has revealed that foods rich in omega-3 fats such as shrimp have the ability to improve cognition, mood and concentration levels.

Shrimp Lowers Risk of Alzheimer's Disease

Omega-3 fat is the building block of brain cells and it plays a vital role in brain development. Individuals with Alzheimer's disease have low levels of DHA which contributes to deterioration in memory and other cognitive functions. Thus, such individuals should make shrimps a part of their diet to get their dose of omega-3 fat.

Effect on Lipid Profile and Heart

Shrimp has always had a negative profile when it comes to cholesterol and itís overall fat content but this is not completely true. Though the cholesterol content of shrimp is on the higher side, its total and saturated fat content is low.

A study compared the fat content of shrimp to egg and it was found that shrimp has a lower fat and cholesterol content. Another study showed that consumption of shrimp increased the low-density lipoprotein (LDL) orbad cholesterol levels slightly but it also increased high-density lipoprotein (HDL) or good cholesterol which protects the heart. Another important reason to encourage shrimp consumption is that it lowers high triglyceride levels.

Thus, individuals with normal blood cholesterol levels can include a moderate amount of shrimp in their diet. However, individuals who are at a risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes mellitus must limit their shrimp intake until their blood cholesterol levels are under normal range.

Boosts Immune System

Astaxanthin is a natural and potent antioxidant present in shrimp. It acts as an immune system stimulator and reduces the level of oxidative stress. It works through different pathways to support a healthy immune function.

Astaxanthin increases the production of antibody producing cells in the body that fights against disease-causing microbes in the body. It decreases the damage caused to the DNA and thus protects it.

Shrimp Supports Healthy Immune Function

Anti-Cancer Properties

Research has found that carotenoids and PUFA (Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids) present in shrimp exhibit anti-cancer properties. Astaxanthin is a very important carotenoid present in shrimp that possesses antioxidant properties. It kills the cancer cells and prevent itís spread to other parts of the body. It further enhances the effect of chemotherapy and helps in the treatment of cancer. It reduces the level oxidative stress and inflammation too which are otherwise very high during cancer.

PUFA also reduces the production of free radicals and reduce the risk of developing tumor. Thus, shrimp can be useful in the treatment and management of cancer.

Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD)

AMD is a disease in which the macula of the eye is deteriorated. This further blurs the vision and may even lead to vision loss. Research has found that shrimp contains a compound which helps in the treatment of AMD. Astaxanthin lowers free radicals and relieves eye fatigue too.

How To Select and Store Shrimp

  • Buy shrimp from a store that has a fresh supply.
  • Select shrimp that are spot-free and have a firm body that is they should be attached to their shells.
  • Freshness of the shrimp can be identified via itís smell. Slight saltwater smell indicates good quality of shrimp.
  • Clean shrimp before you store them. Remove the shell and the vein.
  • Fresh shrimp can be stored in the refrigerator for 1-2 days. It is better to cook shrimp on the same day it is purchased.
  • Frozen shrimp have longer shelf-life and they can be stored in the freezer for several weeks.


Grilled Shrimp

Grilled Shrimp


  • Shrimp- 50 grams
  • Olive oil- 1 1/2 tablespoons
  • Lemon juice- 1 1/2 tablespoons
  • Coriander leaves- 4 tablespoons (freshly chopped)
  • Garlic- 1 tablespoon (minced)
  • Chili flakes- 1/2 teaspoon
  • Crushed pepper- 1/2 teaspoon
  • Salt- as per taste


  • In a large bowl, stir all the ingredients until shrimp are coated with the mixture.
  • Marinate it for 30-45 minutes
  • Pre-heat the grill
  • Thread shrimp onto skewers
  • Grill for 2-3 minutes on both sides until properly cooked

Nutrition Facts for Shrimp

The nutritional values of "Shrimp" per 100 grams are:
Nutrition Summary
Total Calories 85
Protein 20.1 g
Fat 0.4 g
Carbohydrate 0 g
NutrientsAmount%Daily Value
Calcium, Ca 64 mg 6.4 %
Copper, Cu 0.39 mg 19.55 %
Iron, Fe 0.52  mg 2.89 %
Magnesium, Mg 35 mg 8.75 %
Manganese, Mn 0.03 mg 1.65 %
Phosphorus, P 214 mg 21.4 %
Potassium, K 264  mg 7.54 %
Selenium, Se ~
Sodium, Na 119 mg 4.96 %
Zinc, Zn 1.34 mg 8.93 %
Vitamin A ~
Vitamin C ~
Vitamin B6 ~
Vitamin E ~
Vitamin K ~
Riboflavin ~
Thiamin ~
Folate, DFE ~
Niacin ~
Sugars ~
Fiber ~
Cholesterol 161 mg 53.67 %
Water 78.45 g
Carotene, alpha ~
Carotene, beta ~
Choline ~
Lycopene ~
View all +
Data source: USDA Nutrient Database, R25
*Percent Daily Values (%DV) are based on a 2,000 calorie reference diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower based on your individual needs.


  1. Effects of shrimp consumption on plasma lipoproteins - (
  2. Shrimp Lipids: A Source of Cancer Chemopreventive Compounds - (!po=14.2308)

Latest Publications and Research on Health Benefits of Shrimp

Most Popular on Medindia