After all, can eating shrimp be bad for your health?

Is eating shrimp bad ? A lot of people are wondering about this and you’re going to check the answer now. Shrimp is a very controversial seafood, being loved and hated, at the same time, by many people. It is widely sold in Brazil and in several other countries, especially in regions with beaches.

Like any food, shrimp has its pros and cons in relation to health, and also in relation to impacts on the environment. Next, you will learn about the beneficial and harmful effects that consumption of this crustacean can bring to us and to nature.

Health Benefits of Shrimp

Nutritionist Ana Emília Rios says that shrimp has protein of high biological value , that is, the so-called complete proteins, with all the amino acids our body needs. “It is a great source of omega-3 , rich in vitamins, such as the B complex, vitamin D and vitamin E. It is also rich in minerals such as calcium, iodine, potassium, zinc and selenium”, he explains.

These minerals help keep the immune system healthy and aid in recovery from injury. Selenium, in particular, is able to neutralize the effects of free radicals, the main cause of skin cancer. Omega-3 is also a very important nutrient, which helps prevent fat deposits in the heart’s arteries , helping to maintain the health of this organ. Regarding the B complex vitamins present in shrimp, vitamin B12 stands out, which is very important for the proper functioning of cells.

Harms and contraindications

One of the most common problems with shrimp, without a doubt, is the fact that it is a very common allergen . The crustacean is at the top of allergens, alongside milk and other foods such as: eggs , fish, nuts, peanuts , wheat and soy. Exposure to the crustacean can cause severe reactions, including swelling of the glottis and anaphylactic shock . Other reactions can include nasal congestion, itching, abdominal pain and nausea.

Ana Emília adds that shrimp is a food rich in cholesterol and sodium : “shrimp when consumed in excess can increase bad cholesterol. It can also increase uric acid, and consumption is not recommended for those who already have high levels of this substance”. Therefore, it needs to be consumed in moderation.

In addition to allergy sufferers and people with high levels of uric acid, shrimp is also contraindicated for hypertensive individuals and for those who already have high cholesterol.

How to consume shrimp correctly?

The way the shrimp is prepared also deserves attention. So that the food does not lose its properties, the best option is to steam it or just heat it in the oven, without frying it. “Very fatty preparations, such as fried foods or even cooked with a lot of oil, make the shrimp very caloric and harmful”, emphasizes Ana Emília. In addition, frying can even lower omega-3 levels.

Therefore, the nutritionist indicates the best ways to prepare the shrimp: “it can be in the versions cooked in sauce, in the form of pies, pancakes or shrimp cream, without much oil; being able to consume it once a week ”.

What many people don’t know is that it is also possible to eat the shrimp shell. Its bark contains insoluble fiber that helps to normalize intestinal transit and prevent constipation. Ana Emília confirms the possibility of eating the skin and warns of a precaution: “make sure it does not have white spots and clean the shrimp correctly”. Cleaning can be done using water and then boiling with a little salt.

Care when choosing shrimp

At the time of purchase, some details are important to identify the freshest and best quality shrimp for consumption. After all, people who don’t know end up taking what’s on the counter at fairs and supermarkets without knowing the true quality of the food.

According to the nutritionist, the natural smell and the shiny bark indicate freshness. She says that the quality of the shrimp, regardless of the type, is almost always related to some details of how it looks.

“When buying shrimp, it’s best to buy them fresh and in the day. They must be consumed within 24 hours of purchase. Also note the odor; they should smell like salt water and that should be the only odor perceived. If you smell ammonia, it means the shrimp is spoiled. Also pay attention to the appearance of the shrimp before you buy them, the fresh ones should be translucent and perfectly white, as if you could almost see through them. Another warning sign is the pink meat, which you should avoid”, advises Ana Emília.

The professional also teaches that it is necessary to observe the head and tail, which must be very firm to the flesh. The carapace must also adhere to the skin, if it has dark or yellowish spots it is because this shrimp is no longer so good for consumption.

Impacts on the environment

The issue of the environment is related to shrimp farming , that is, the technique of raising shrimp in nurseries. The accelerated development of shrimp farming worldwide has been constantly accused of causing negative impacts on the environment.

Shrimp farming has become the target of research and criticism by several national and international environmental NGOs, which suggest that the activity is predatory, polluting and socially disruptive.

According to an article published in Panorama da Aquicultura, the main environmental impacts related to shrimp farming can be categorized into five types: impacts on land use, water resources, diversity, chemical and socio-economic impacts.

The article explains that the main ones are related to the destruction of mangroves; with water pollution, through the release of effluents, such as fertilizers, feed and even waste; and also the use of chemical products in cultivation. Several products have negative potential for human health and the environment, as well as the health and quality of shrimp. Especially, the indiscriminate use of antibiotics, which can result in the formation of antibiotic resistant bacteria , which can bring public health problems in the control of human diseases.

Environmentalists are also often against large-scale fishing , as the net used to capture shrimp also ends up catching other species of marine animals, which are then discarded dead. But this is true for fishing in general, and not just for shrimp.

Ellie Lauderdale

My name is Ellie Lauderdale, MD and I am USA based professional Nutritionist .

I am a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and board certified specialist in sports dietetics who is trained in integrative medicine. I have worked with hundreds of clients, from those suffering with chronic disease to professional and olympian athletes. My goal is to help optimize you from the inside so that you can feel, perform, and look your best on the outside.

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