Shrimp may be small in size, they are big in terms of nutritional value and health benefits. Learn how shrimp can help you lose weight, provide you with important 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.
A true beauty food
Shrimp contain astaxanthin, a carotenoid that gives them their pink color and that can act as a potent antioxidant and protect the skin from premature aging. Also the omega-3 fatty acids in shrimp provide antioxidant protection. The zinc shrimp boast 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 color.
Selenium punch for extra protection against cancer
Shrimp are loaded with selenium. Several population studies suggest that the risk of death from cancer, including lung, colorectal, and prostate cancers, is lower among people with a higher intake of the trace mineral 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.
What about the cholesterol?
Shrimp are often given a bad rap for their high cholesterol content. Although it is true that shrimp are relatively high in cholesterol (about 200 milligrams in 3.5 ounces, or 12 large boiled shrimp), the Rockefeller study on shrimp and cholesterol suggests that shrimp cholesterol may not be that bad for you.
Shrimp Nutrition Facts
- Glycemic Index (GI) Rating / Glycemic Load: As shrimp contain no carbohydrates, their Glycemic Index rating is 0.
- Calories: Shrimp are relatively low in calories, with 1 gram of shrimp containing 1 calorie (1 ounce of shrimp, or 28 grams, therefore contains only 28 calories).
- Macronutrients: Shrimp are made almost entirely of protein and water, but they do contain some fat and cholesterol, too.
- Vitamins & Minerals: Shrimp are supercharged with vitamin B12 and selenium. In addition, they provide a fair amount of vitamin A, vitamin E, vitamin B6, iron, magnesium, sodium (salt), zinc and copper. Surprisingly, they also contain some vitamin C.