The Shrimp and Cholesterol Connection

For years, I’ve avoided shrimp because it’s high in dietary cholesterol. But when Answers.com asked me to write an article entitled, “Clarifying the Connection Between Shrimp and Cholesterol” I was stunned to find I’d been avoiding one of my favorite (and easy to prepare) foods for far too long.

Yes, it’s true – shrimp does have a lot of dietary cholesterol. Specifically, one serving of 4 large shrimp contains 42.5 milligrams of cholesterol (according to the NYU Langone Medical Center’s All About Shellfish).  And that 42.5 mg is about 20% of the 200 mg maximum dietary cholesterol recommended for those with high cholesterol or at risk for heart disease.  And that’s just the shrimp – not the butter that frequently accompanies it. (And who eats just 4 shrimp – you know you need to double it…)

So for years, high-cholesterol shrimp was a no-no.

But it turns out that dietary cholesterol is no longer believed to be a key factor when trying to lower overall cholesterol. In the fight to lower cholesterol, avoiding saturated fat and trans-fat is key.

And shrimp is a ZERO FAT protein.

Zero, people.

Oh, and it gets better.  Shrimp delivers cholesterol-lowering Omega-3 fatty acids to boot.

So go ahead — break out a cookbook or two and find a shrimp dish where the shrimp is grilled or sautéed in heart-healthy olive oil.  And if you’ve got a good recipe, please send it to me. I’m on the hunt now for easy-to-cook shrimp dinner recipes for my lo-co cookbook.

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