The Shrimp and Cholesterol Connection

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For years, I’ve avoided shrimp because it’s high in dietary cholesterol. But when 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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