Shrimp Nutrition Facts

Calories in Shrimp and Health Benefits

shrimp nutrition facts and health benefits
Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman

Many healthy eaters add grilled shrimp to salads, rice or pasta dishes, and other lean meals. But are shrimp healthy? Shrimp calories are low and the shellfish are low in fat. But many consumers are worried about the cholesterol in shrimp.

Nutrition Facts

The following nutrition information is provided by the USDA for a 3-ounce serving of shrimp (85g) boiled or steamed.

  • Calories: 76
  • Fat: 1g
  • Sodium: 699mg
  • Carbohydrates: 1g
  • Fiber: 0g
  • Sugars: 0g
  • Protein: 15g

Why Cooking Methods Matter

Cooking methods make a big difference when you evaluate the fat and calories in shrimp. When you boil or steam the shellfish you add no extra fat and the calories remain low (as indicated on the label). But many people eat shrimp that have been breaded or fried. This changes the nutritional profile substantially.

This is how shrimp nutrition changes with different cooking methods, according to USDA data.

  • If you bake, broil or grill shrimp without fat you'll consume about 111 calories, 21 grams of protein, 1 gram of carbohydrate, 2 grams of fat, 159 milligrams of cholesterol, and 422 milligrams of sodium per three-ounce serving.
  • If you bake, broil or grill shrimp with butter you'll consume about 130 calories, 21 grams of protein, 1 gram of carbohydrate, 4 grams of fat, 2 grams of saturated fat, 161 milligrams of cholesterol, and 427 milligrams of sodium per three-ounce serving.
  • If you eat floured, breaded or battered shrimp fried in oil you'll consume 250 calories, 12 grams of protein, 15 grams of carbohydrate, 15 grams of fat, 2 grams of saturated fat, 89 milligrams of cholesterol, and 726 milligrams of sodium per three-ounce serving.
  • Canned shrimp provides 85 calories, 17 grams of protein, 0 grams of carbohydrate, 1 gram of fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, 215 milligrams of cholesterol, and 741 milligrams of sodium per three-ounce serving.
  • Dried shrimp provides 216 calories, 44 grams of protein, 0 grams of carbohydrate, 3 gram of fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, 544 milligrams of cholesterol, and 1877 milligrams of sodium per three-ounce serving.

Health Benefits of Shrimp

Shrimp is a high protein, low-calorie, low-fat food but only when you prepare the seafood without added breading or fat. Shrimp also provides heart-healthy EPA and DHA omega-3 fatty acids. But some consumers are concerned about the cholesterol in shrimp.

Cholesterol is a waxy substance that your body needs to function properly. But if your body makes too much cholesterol, you increase your risk for heart-related conditions. Cholesterol creates plaque that can clog arteries and make it difficult for your heart to circulate blood effectively.

So does cholesterol in food lead to excess cholesterol in your body? Researchers have not been able to determine for sure if cholesterol in food increases your risk for heart disease. According to the American Heart Association, your liver makes more cholesterol when you eat a diet high in saturated fat and trans fat. Fatty meats, poultry products, full-fat dairy products and processed foods that contain hydrogenated oils are the worst culprits.

Shrimp does provide cholesterol, but very little fat and saturated fat. In 2015, the nutrition experts who develop USDA Dietary Guidelines removed the specific limit for cholesterol. They still recommend that you choose foods lower in cholesterol but recommend that you focus on limiting saturated and trans fat intake, keeping your intake below ten percent of your total calories per day.

Safely Storing and Cooking Shrimp

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recommends that you only buy fresh shrimp when they are frozen, refrigerated or displayed on a thick bed of ice that is not melting. They advise consumers to look for shrimp that are translucent and shiny with little or no odor.

If you buy frozen shrimp, make sure the package has not been torn or damaged. You should also avoid packages that have been thawed and refrozen. Packages with ice crystals or frost should be avoided.

When you bring shrimp home, refrigerate them immediately and use within two days. If you can't use the seafood within two days, freeze it in a tightly wrapped plastic or foil container. Thaw in the refrigerator or by immersing in cold water.

To safely cook shrimp, be sure that you heat to an internal temperature of 145 degrees. The flesh should become pearly and opaque.

Shrimp Recipes

If you're ready to include shrimp in a healthy meal, consider adding them to a salad. Adding a single 3-ounce serving will give you a boost of protein and flavor.

You can also grill shrimp and add them to your dinner plate alongside vegetables and brown rice. Drizzle lemon over the shrimp for flavor. Spicy herbs and seasonings (like garlic or red pepper) can also give shrimp an extra kick if you like hotter food. 

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