Lobster Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits

Lobster annotated

Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman  

Lobster is a popular seafood choice with impressive nutrition stats to offer. You may have heard that lobster is high in cholesterol. Although this is true, lobster is also low in saturated fat. As with other shellfish, lobster is no longer demonized as a cholesterol-raising food. There are several reasons to consider treating yourself to lobster the next time you're planning for a special meal.

Lobster Nutrition Facts

This nutrition information is provided by the USDA for 1 cup (145g) of boiled or steamed lobster meat.

  • Calories: 129
  • Fat: 1.3g
  • Sodium: 705mg
  • Carbohydrates: 0g
  • Fiber: 0g
  • Sugars: 0g
  • Protein: 27.6g

Carbs

Lobster is naturally carbohydrate-free and offers no fiber or sugar.

Fats

1 cup of cooked lobster meat only has 1.3 grams of fat, the majority of which come from polyunsaturated fats. There is also some monounsaturated and saturated fat in lobster. Lobster is a good source of essential omega 3 fatty acids.

Lobster is high in cholesterol, with 212 milligrams per cup. Although dietary cholesterol is no longer believed to raise blood cholesterol levels, the USDA Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015–2020 still recommends limiting cholesterol intake to no more than 300 milligrams per day. Because lobster is not usually an everyday food, indulging in lobster from time to time is unlikely to cause a cholesterol issue for most people.

Protein

Lobster is largely composed of lean protein. One cup of lobster provides nearly 28 grams. Like other shellfish, lobster provides all of the essential amino acids.

Vitamins and Minerals

Lobster contains calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, selenium, choline, and vitamin E.

Because lobster is a marine animal, it can be very high in sodium, with just one cup providing 705 milligrams of sodium, which is nearly 31% of the recommended daily limit set forth by Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

Health Benefits

Despite its reputation as a high-cholesterol food, lobster has several redeeming nutritional qualities that offer a host of health benefits.

Supports Immune System Function

Lobster is an abundant source of zinc, a crucial mineral linked to immune function. While a severe zinc deficiency causes known immune dysfunction, even minor zinc deficiencies impair lymphocyte production and suppress immune responses. Poor zinc status is associated with higher rates of infection and pneumonia. A 1 cup serving of lobster has almost 6 milligrams of zinc, meeting 67% the daily requirement for women and 56% for men.

May Lower Risk of Prostate Cancer

Higher intakes of seafood, like lobster, are associated with lower rates of advanced prostate cancer. This benefit is credited to seafood's high content of the omega-3 fatty acids: EPA and DHA. Since our bodies are unable to produce omega-3s, consuming them through seafood, nuts, and seeds is essential.

Supports a Healthy Pregnancy

Lobster is an extraordinary source of choline. Human studies show that pregnant mothers who consume adequate choline during pregnancy provide long-term benefits to their children's memory function. The benefits of choline during gestation have also been confirmed by several animal studies. During the second trimester of pregnancy, 450 milligrams is considered an adequate intake of choline, and a 1 cup of lobster provides 26% of this amount.

Reduces Cognitive Decline

Choline is not only essential during pregnancy, but older adults also stand to benefit from this valuable nutrient. For older adults, choline intake is associated with better performance on verbal and visual memory tests and fewer indicators of Alzheimer's disease. Also present in lobster, DHA has shown similar reductions in cognitive decline as well. Perhaps eating lobster every once in a while could help older adults remain sharp with age.

Aids Thyroid Function

Lobster provides two key minerals required for proper thyroid functioning: iodine and selenium. Although it's not usually advised to supplement these minerals (unless your thyroid doctor suggests otherwise), obtaining a baseline intake through foods like lobster and other seafood products will cover your dietary requirements. By preventing a deficiency through varied eating habits, your doctor can rule out a dietary cause of poor thyroid function.

Allergies

Shellfish (including lobster, crab, and shrimp) is a common cause of allergic reactions. Adults are more susceptible to shellfish allergies than children. Shellfish allergies are different than allergies to finned fish. Many people with shellfish allergies can still tolerate other types of seafood like oysters, clams, scallops, or mussels.

Symptoms of a shellfish allergy may include diarrhea, vomiting, repetitive cough, hives, or swelling of the lips and tongue. If you suspect that you have developed a shellfish allergy, see an allergist for testing.

Adverse Effects

As with other wild-caught shellfish, lobsters can be susceptible to environmental hazards including parasites, biotoxins, heavy metals, and chemical pollutants. Always choose fresh seafood from a reputable source, and adhere to food safety guidelines when preparing and storing lobster.

Lobster is considered one of the "best choices" for pregnant and breastfeeding women by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG). It is recommended that pregnant women stick with a limit of 2–3 servings per week of seafood from this category, which equals 8–12 ounces total.

Varieties

There are two popular varieties of lobster: the American lobster (also known as the Maine lobster, Massachusetts lobster, or Canadian lobster) and the spiny lobster. Lobsters are all wild-caught, as farm-raising methods for lobster production are not yet available.

Lobsters come in a range of colors, including greenish-brown, blue, light yellow, dusty orange, and patterned. After cooking, all lobsters turn red as a result of a chemical reaction in the shell. Depending on their age, lobsters can be as small as 1.5 inches to a record high of 2.1 feet long.

When It's Best

Lobsters begin to spoil shortly after being killed, so they must be cooked or frozen right away. When a live lobster is frozen, the chemicals of degradation are not released as quickly. Boiling a live lobster also prevents rapid spoilage. That's why many people prefer to purchase live lobsters to cook just before eating.

Storage and Food Safety

If you purchase a live lobster, cook it within the same day. Once cooked, lobster should be refrigerated in an airtight container and consumed in 2–3 days. Cooked, picked lobster meat will last 3–4 days in a refrigerated moisture-proof bag.

Always keep raw meat separate from other foods and thoroughly wash surfaces, hands, and utensils before and after prepping. Frozen lobsters should be thawed safely, either sealed and submerged in cold water or in the refrigerator. Lobster must reach an internal temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit for at least 15 seconds before it is safe to eat.

How to Prepare

Lobsters are known for their sweet, rich flavor and savory texture. Because lobster meat is naturally flavorful, it's delicious with simple preparation methods.

Lobsters can be poached, steamed, simmered, baked, or grilled. Eat lobster hot or cold. Lobster meat can be used in casseroles, salads, soups, and sauces. Lobster tails can also be stuffed.

In addition to the white meat, the tomalley (which is the olive green liver) and coral (the reproductive roe found in female lobster species) can also be eaten. These items are served as delicacies.

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Article Sources
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