Lots of people love their shellfish, but what we aren’t sure about is the health value of them. Actually, shellfish are brimming with nutrients and, more to the point, they may actually help fight health conditions. How? Check out this research.
1. Shrimp for the heart: Researchers added shrimp to a low-fat diet to see if it impacted cholesterol levels. They were surprised to find that it did not worsen cholesterol but it did, in fact, lower triglycerides by 13%. They write that shrimp can be “included in heart healthy nutritional guidelines.”
2. Shellfish improves cholesterol: Eighteen men with normal cholesterol levels were fed six species of shellfish that had the same amount of protein as animal foods. It turned out that oysters, clams, mussels, and crabs were effective in lowering LDL and total cholesterol levels. Squid and shrimp did not affect cholesterol levels, even though they are higher in cholesterol. The men absorbed less cholesterol when eating oysters, clams, and mussels.
3. Shrimp and crab fight bacteria: A study of shrimp and three different species of crabs found that their meat contains an antibacterial ingredient. The three species of crabs were hermit, spider, and king. Researchers found that they had an ability to fight five common bacterial infections in humans, including the infamous E. coli.
4. Shellfish is filled with nutrients: Researchers evaluated eight common species of shellfish for possible health benefits. They found the shellfish to be good sources of zinc. Some of the shellfish, blue mussels, Manila clams, and Pacific oysters were good sources of dietary iron. Many of the forms of shellfish had high levels of omega-3s. Sea scallops averaged the best level of the shellfish tested, coming in at a composition of over 50% omega-3s. Cholesterol levels also varied widely, with many shellfish averaging out at 37 mg/100 g. California squid did have a much higher level at 231 mg/100 g, but that’s still not bad. In general, the study concluded that shellfish are a very healthful addition to your diet.
Sources for Today’s Articles:
Love Shellfish? You’ll Love This
De Oliveira e Silva, E.R., et al., “Effects of shrimp consumption on plasma lipoproteins,” Am. J. Clinical Nutrition, November 1996; 64: 712–717.
Childs, M.T., et al., “Effects of shellfish consumption on lipoproteins in normolipidemic men,” American Journal of Clinical Nutrition; 51: 1020–1027.
Fish and Shellfish Immunology May 2002; 12(5): 371–85.
Journal of the American Dietician Association May 1990; 90(5): 677–85.