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Shrimp Nutrition Facts


“I don’t think I know anyone who doesn't like shrimp,” says Robin Webb in an article for Diabetes Forecast. “And for the holidays, there is no more versatile a food to serve. Shrimp can shine all by itself on an elegant serving tray or tantalize our tastebuds when boiled and served with the simplest sauce. Shrimp are great grilled, sauteed, roasted, stir-fried, and baked, too.”

In the ‘90s, shrimp was one of those foods shunned for its high cholesterol. By 1996, a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that although high in cholesterol, shrimp did not adversely affect production of cholesterol in the body.

David Heber, director of the Center for Human Nutrition at the University of California-Los Angeles, and author of What Color Is Your Diet? goes over 15 common myths about nutrition, including the notion that eating shrimp raises cholesterol levels. “The American Heart Association acknowledged a long time ago that shrimp had been wrongly accused, but lots of people, including some doctors, still believe this myth.”

A myth, indeed. In fact, when researchers from Rockefeller University in New York put volunteers on a diet of 11 ounces of shrimp a day — more than twice the recommended amount of cholesterol — the participants experienced no ill effects on their cholesterol levels and actually saw a 13 percent drop in their triglyceride levels.

Low in fat and calories — especially when flavored in a low-fat marinade — shrimp also offers beneficial doses of omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin B12 and niacin. Shrimp also are mineral-rich, supplying iron, zinc and copper.

With all types of shrimp, look for firm meat with a sweet, lightly briny aroma. Shrimp with discolored shells or an ammonia smell should be rejected. Purchasing frozen shrimp is fine as long as you can either see or feel for any problems. If the bag is transparent, look inside for ice crystals and discolored spots that may indicate freezer burn.

The key to cooking shrimp, regardless of method, is to cook them quickly. And that's good news. Cooking shrimp will leave you more time to enjoy the holidays and less time preparing the meal.

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