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Shelled fresh shrimps. Photo:
Shrimp are swimming, decapod crustaceans found around the world in fresh and salt water. Together with prawns, shrimp are widely caught and farmed for human consumption. While shrimp may be small, they are huge in their appeal as these deliciously clean and crisp tasting crustaceans can be served hot or cold. Unlike their close relatives – lobsters and crayfish – shrimp are swimmers rather than crawlers. A wonderfully nutritious alternative to meat proteins, the firm, translucent, flesh of raw shrimp is low in calories and saturated fat. Shrimp are anything but small in their nutrient density. Food ranking systems qualify shrimp as an excellent source of selenium and unusually low-fat, low-calorie protein—a four ounce serving of shrimp supplies 23.7 grams of protein (that’s 47.4% of the daily value for protein) for a mere 112 calories and less than a gram of fat. Shrimp also emerged as a very good source of vitamin B12. Over 300 different species of shrimp are harvested worldwide, and within these 300 species, thousands of varieties are available
White rice and shrimp. Photo:
Health Benefits of Eating Shrimp While shrimp may be small in size, they are huge in terms of the nutritional value and health benefits they offer. Read on to learn how shrimp can help you lose weight, provide you with important beauty nutrients—such as the antioxidant astaxanthin—and add cancer-fighting minerals to your diet.
  • Weight loss benefits of eating shrimp
Loaded with protein, vitamin D, vitamin B3, and zinc, shrimp are an excellent, carbohydrate-free food for anyone determined to shed off pounds. Zinc supplementation of zinc deficient subjects has been shown to increase the levels of circulating leptin. Leptin is a hormone that plays a key role in regulating the body’s energy expenditure, fat storage, and appetite. Insufficient leptin levels are believed to be the primary cause of food cravings, overeating, and obsession with food. The iodine in shrimp is good for the proper functioning of the thyroid gland which controls the basal metabolic rate, or the rate at which the body consumes energy at rest. Iodine deficiency can result in sluggish thyroid activity which in turn can lead to weight gain or hinder weight loss.
  • Protection against cancer (Selenium )
Shrimp are loaded with selenium. Death rates from cancer are significantly lower in areas of the world where selenium is abundant in the soil than in areas where selenium levels are low. Selenium is believed to reduce cancer risk in two ways. First, selenium is an important constituent of glutathione peroxidase, an enzyme with anti-oxidant properties which can help protect the body from damaging effects of free radicals. Second, selenium is believed to prevent tumor growth by boosting the immune system and inhibiting the development of blood vessels to the tumor.
  • Antioxidant protection
Shrimp contain astaxanthin, a carotenoid that gives them their pink colour, that acts as a potent antioxidant and protects the skin from premature aging. Also the omega-3 fatty acids in shrimp provide antioxidant protection. The zinc in shrimp plays an important role in the production of new cells, including hair cells and skin cells. It also helps maintain the oil-secreting glands on the scalp that keep hair shiny. In addition, shrimp are a good source of copper which can help prevent hair loss, contribute to hair thickness, and intensify hair colour.
Shrimp meal garnished on lettuce. Photo:
Tips for Preparing Shrimp Cooking tips Shrimp can be cooked either shelled or unshelled depending how you will be using them in a recipe. There are various methods of removing the shell. One way is to first pinch off the head and the legs and then, holding the tail, peel the shell off from the body. If shelling frozen shrimp, do not defrost them completely as they will be easier to shell when they are still slightly frozen. Some people prefer to remove the shrimp’s intestines before cooking or eating. To do so, make a shallow incision along the back of the shrimp and pull out the dark vein that runs throughout by rinsing under cold water. A Few Quick Serving Ideas
  • Combine chopped shrimp with chopped tomatoes, diced chili peppers, garlic, lemon juice, and a little olive oil. Season to taste and serve this fragrant shrimp salad on a bed of lettuce.
  • Serve cold cooked shrimp with salsa (spicy sauce of tomatoes and onions and chili peppers) dip.
  • Cut up cooked shrimp and add it to vegetable soups.
  • Make a quick, easy and healthy version of pasta. Add cooked shrimp to spicy pasta sauce and serve over noodles.
Shrimps can be found in food stores, local markets or shopping malls in your neighbourhood. Spice up your meals with this tasty and healthy crustaceans.

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This article was first published on 28th May 2012 and updated on July 1st, 2012 at 7:01 am

Comments (20)

20 thoughts on “The World of Shrimps”

  • One of my favorite shrimp dishes is the buttered one, love it so much! 🙂 I read some from this zinc deficiency articles that even though it provides those nutrients, it is not that pure because some of it contains unwanted pollutants. Do you think it is right?

  • OMG! I don’t like shrimps that much cos i don’t know their nutritional benefit and besides NO TIME! to go to the market and find shrimps that are not well preserved. Nice pix they are very appealing.

  • Ok yes i remember that my dad bought some shrimps that the best shrimp i have eaten so far.

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