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Shrimp has less cholesterol than egg: Study

35Medical practitioners and dieticians have for long recommended that adults keep off shrimp as it is considered high in cholesterol.

Now, a study, to the delight of non-vegetarians, shiws that the traditional wisdom may be flawed. A study by Central Institute of Brackishwater Aquaculture says healthy individuals can have a moderate quantity of shrimps as part of their daily diet as the cholesterol in it is not as bad as presumed. The study shows that shrimp have low saturated fatty acids, moderate levels of cholesterol and low lipid levels and high levels of protein when compared to other meats. Besides containing macro and micro minerals including calcium, phosphorus and selenium, shrimp are also found to be a rich source of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) required for a healthy diet. Head of cardiology department, Government Medical College Hospital, Dr Kannan said the study shows that healthy individuals can have a small quantity of shrimp. “As for heart patients, we would still recommend small fish as they are rich in omega-3 fatty acids,” the doctor said.

Scientists analysed the nutritional composition of 100g of tiger shrimp and white shrimps. Saturated fatty acids which increases blood cholesterol was found to be low in shrimp (0.25mg100g) compared to other meat like chicken, mutton, beef, pork and even egg. Dietary cholesterol level in shrimp (173mg100g) is less than in eggs (400mg100g).

The American Heart Association recommends less than 300mgday of dietary cholesterol for healthy individuals and less than 200mg day for diabetics. Scientists say 100g of shrimp provides less than the recommended cholesterol. The lipid (fat) levels in shrimp were found to be around 1.15g 100g, which is the lowest compared of all meats.

Senior scientist J Syama Dayal said that about 32% shrimp lipid has PUFA, a healthy fat that can improve blood cholesterol levels as well as decrease the risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

While a healthy diet should have a PUFASFA ratio of at least 0.54 and above, shrimps provide more than 1.9. Shrimps also provide vitamins A, D, E, B12 and B3. It also has astaxanthin, a potent natural antioxidant.With 80% of its dry matter having protein, shrimps can provide 87% of the total energy needed for the body .

While the study recommends moderate quantity of shrimp for healthy individual to benefit from its vital nutrients, it suggests that those with clear risk of CVD and diabetics may , however, should keep it off the menu.