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First of all: what is cholesterol?

  1. There are many questions online about shrimp and cholesterol. In general, many people are concerned about the cholesterol levels in foods such as meat, eggs and dairy products. In the case of shrimp, the story about cholesterol is different, as a number of studies have shown that the high percentage of 'good fats' in shrimp reduces the impact of cholesterol and that the vast majority of people can eat shrimp as part of a balanced diet.

  1. Years ago, shrimp was considered a taboo for heart patients or for people who need to watch their cholesterol. That is because a small portion of, for example, 350 grams contains about 200 mg of cholesterol. This is their maximum recommended daily amount for people with a high risk of cardiovascular disease. (For a healthy person, 300 mg is the recommended daily amount.)

  1. Shrimp, however, has very low total fat (about 1.5 grams per serving) and contains virtually no saturated fat. Saturated fat is known to be particularly harmful to the heart and blood vessels, in part because our bodies can efficiently convert it to LDL (or bad) cholesterol. But the LDL level is only part of what affects your risk of cardiovascular disease.

  1. Cholesterol is a waxy substance, which is on the one hand produced by the body and on the other hand comes from food. We produce the cholesterol we need, especially in the liver. Cholesterol can also come from animal sources such as meat, poultry and full-fat dairy products. Our livers produce more cholesterol when you eat a diet rich in saturated and trans fats.

  1. Excess cholesterol can form plaque in the arteries, making it more difficult for your heart to pump blood, and if that plaque forms blood clots, it can cause a stroke. If that plaque blocks an artery that feeds the heart, it even causes a heart attack.

  1. There are two types of cholesterol: “bad” and “good” cholestrol. Too much of one type - or too little of another - can increase your risk of heart attack, cardiovascular disease, or stroke.

  1. Cholesterol travels through your body in two types of lipoproteins, which contain cholesterol, through the bloodstream throughout your body and are distributed: low density lipoproteins (LDL) and high density lipoproteins (HDL)

  1. LDL is also known as the â € bad cholesterolâ € ™ because it can lead to a build-up of cholesterol in the arteries and because it can block the artery, leading to a heart attack or to a risk thereof.

  1. HDL is considered the â € good cholesterolâ € ™ because it returns cholesterol to the liver and thus lowers blood cholesterol levels.

  1. High cholesterol is a condition in which a person has too much cholesterol in his / her blood and can increase the risk of coronary artery disease, also known as coronary artery disease. The higher the level of LDL cholesterol in the blood, the greater the risk of heart disease and vice versa, the higher the level of HDL cholesterol in the blood, the lower the risk of heart disease.

  1. A good ratio of these two types of cholesterol, LDL and HDL, reduces susceptibility to heart disease, so it's important to keep a close eye on those levels.

  1. Dietary cholesterol only has a negative effect if it is absorbed by the body. Saturated fat appears to stimulate this absorption. Eating foods high in saturated fat thus increases LDL cholesterol in the blood.

  1. Foods that are very high in cholesterol (such as meat, eggs and dairy products) are also rich in saturated fat and therefore increase LDL cholesterol.

  1. Shrimp is relatively high in cholesterol, but contains essentially no saturated fat (slightly more than 1 gram per serving compared to meat, which can have 10 to 20 grams per serving) and the cholesterol in shrimp is more difficult to absorb than the cholesterol in other high-fat foods. Unfortunately, the reason for this is not known.

  1. Thus, the cholesterol in shrimp and other seafood will not damage the arteries, provided it is not breaded and not prepared in saturated fat.

  1. In the past, scientists could not distinguish between the different sterols and therefore they were all referred to as â € cholesterolâ € ™. Therefore, the amount of cholesterol in shrimp and other shellfish has traditionally been reported to be very high.

  1. The cholesterol in shrimp is about 130 mg per 300 grams of raw shrimp, and the same portion contains about 2 grams of fat. The amount of cholesterol in a comparable amount of normal ground beef is about 110 mg, with about 20 grams of fat. In addition, shrimp also contain high levels of beneficial highly unsaturated fatty acids, which increase HDL cholesterol (the “good” cholesterol) so eating shrimp can eventually lower blood cholesterol.

  1. It appears that dietary cholesterol is not the only cause of high cholesterol in the blood. Blood cholesterol levels are determined by a number of factors. Genetic factors can influence the absorption of cholesterol, the production of cholesterol or the absorption of cholesterol in the body cells. Research has shown that the amount of saturated fat in the diet has more of an effect on raising blood cholesterol than the amount of cholesterol itself in the diet.

  1. A number of studies have looked at the relationship between shrimp and cholesterol. A 1990 study conducted by scientists at the Harvard School of Public Health and Rockefeller University in New York: The effects of shrimp consumption on plasma lipoproteins concluded that eating steamed shrimp significantly reduced cholesterol levels in the blood, in general. increased.

  1. It was also found that the shrimp increased the levels of HDL (the 'good' cholesterol) more than the levels of LDL (the 'bad' cholesterol) and that the ratio HDL to LDL eventually improved.

  1. A good ratio of these two types of cholesterol - low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and high-density lipoprotein (HDL) - keeps blood cholesterol levels under control and reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease. The Rockefeller University researchers also found that the participants who ate the shrimp had significantly lower triglyceride levels afterwards compared to those who ate an egg, for example. [! 134728 => 1140 = 21!] More recently, Drs. John D. Griffin and Alice H. Lichtenstein, in their article Dietary Cholesterol and Plasma Lipoprotein Profiles: Randomized-Controlled Trials, "Previous studies suggested that dietary cholesterol would significantly increase total cholesterol. Given the relationship between elevated cholesterol and the risk of cardiovascular disease is therefore recommended to limit the consumption of foods that are very high in cholesterol…

  1. Another study showed there is no reason to avoid seafood and shrimp. The researchers asked 18 men and women to eat large portions of steamed shrimp every day. In fact, the participants ate more than 275 grams (or 30 to 40 shrimp), which represented about 600 milligrams of cholesterol. This is twice the recommended daily allowance (RDA).

  1. This may surprise you. Three weeks later, the researchers took blood samples from the volunteers and found that their levels of LDL, or “bad” cholesterol, had risen by an average of 7.1%. While this may not seem like good news, the shrimp provided an important benefit of increasing HDL, the good cholesterol for arteries, by as much as 12.1%.

  1. In other words, the good cholesterol / bad cholesterol ratio has been greatly improved by eating shrimp. Many cardiologists believe this ratio is a better indicator of cardiovascular health than total cholesterol.

  1. Another study conducted two decades ago by the Harvard School of Public Health and Rockefeller University in New York found that a low-fat diet containing steamed shrimp reduced cholesterol in the blood and that, according to the researchers, it could even lead to a lower cholesterol level in the blood.

  1. The risk of cardiovascular disease is based on more than just LDL levels or total cholesterol in the blood. Inflammation is another important factor in the risk of cardiovascular disease. Because of the great HDL benefit in shrimp, you can benefit from this as part of a smart heart diet. Perhaps it is just as important to know where your shrimp are coming from. Much of the shrimp, now sold in Europe, comes from Asia, where the use of pesticides and antibiotics is allowed but can have adverse effects on human health.

  1. Try to buy shrimp that are as organic as possible, preferably from countries where the use of pesticides and antibiotics is heavily restricted.

  1. Shrimp are an excellent source of protein, they are low in saturated fat and are a great way to get iron, zinc, vitamin E and omega-3 fatty acids.]

  1. These valuable fats can lower triglyceride levels and provide many other heart health benefits as well. Shrimps contain less fat and therefore less omega-3 fatty acids than some other seafood (such as fatty fish such as salmon) but the omega-3 content in shrimp (average 120mg / 100g) is well above the minimum and therefore shrimp are also mentioned as a good source of omega-3 fatty acids.

  1. Shrimp also appears to be an excellent source of the antioxidant selenium (no less than 51 mg per 100 grams).

  1. Recent research has shown that the selenium in shrimp is well absorbed by the human body (estimated 80-85% total selenium absorption). Selenium deficiency is a risk factor for heart failure and other forms of cardiovascular disease, Type 2 diabetes, cognitive function disorders and depression.

  1. Another example is glutathione peroxidase (GPO), an important enzyme that cannot function without selenium. It protects the majority of the systems in our body - such as our lungs - from unwanted damage from oxygen-containing molecules. And shrimp can be a distinctive source of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory carotenoid astaxanthin (a 150 gram serving of shrimp can contain 1-4mg astaxanthin). These carotenoids have been shown in animal studies to provide antioxidant support to the nervous and musculoskeletal systems and reduce the risk of colon cancer and diabetes-related problems.

  1. A portion of shrimp (steamed, 150 grams) provides a significant portion of the recommended daily allowance of the dietary reference for many valuable nutrients including protein (52%) and omega-3 fatty acids (14%) , minerals such as selenium (102%), iodine (31%), phosphorus (50%), zinc (17%) and vitamins such as vitamin B12 (78%), vitamin B3 (19%), vitamin E (17%), vitamin B6 (16%) and vitamin A (11%).

  1. In a small number of people (about 1 in 100), high blood cholesterol may be caused by a genetic condition called familial hypercholesterolaemia (FH) or familial combined hyperlipidaemia (FCH). This autosomal dominant disorder is characterized by elevated cholesterol, particularly very high levels of LDL, “bad cholesterol” in their blood and cardiovascular disease at a young age. People with this condition have an interest in paying more attention to the consumption of foods high in cholesterol.

  1. The nutrition center recommends consuming foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids twice a week. Although shrimp is not the best choice (in that amount, so twice a week) if you have high cholesterol. If your cholesterol levels are normal, you should eat shrimp every week without worrying too much about your LDL level.

  1. Did you know that the Japanese are the largest consumers of shrimp in the world? In addition, the Japanese also have the highest life expectancy. A bit blunt, but it is likely that there is a connection. At the very least, it is fair enough to say that the cholesterol in shrimp and other seafood will not damage the arteries, provided the fish is not breaded or fried.

  1. I said it before in this article: Shrimp can be eaten, but then you shouldn't fry them in saturated fat, for example. Breading is also not good.

  1. The best way to prepare shrimp and food in general is by steaming. But there are also other ways:

Fried shrimp

  1. Since shrimps cook very quickly, you can fry them perfectly. Heat a little olive oil in a frying pan and fry the shrimps for about 4 minutes together with finely chopped ginger and various vegetables. Peas go well with shrimp.

Roasted shrimp

  1. Roasted shrimp in the oven is an easy way to cook large quantities of shrimp at once. Preheat the oven to a temperature of about 170Ëš. Brush the shrimp with some olive oil and sprinkle with fresh herbs and spices. Roast them in a single layer on a baking tray. You can eat them on their own or with a paste.

Boiled shrimp

  1. Like other seafood, shrimp become juicy when cooked in a seafood broth. Prepare a spicy broth with some Cajun spices. Cook the shrimp in the stock for a few minutes and reduce the heat and let it steep for a while. Remove the prawns from the pan with a slotted spoon, reserve the stock and serve with a dipping sauce.

Grilled shrimp

  1. Large, meaty shrimp are ideal for grilling on a grill. Brush them with oil and a selection of herbs and spices. Then thread them on, for example, skewers to easily turn them on the grill. Serve the grilled prawns as a main course or as a side dish with salads or as a filling for tacos.

Steamed shrimp

  1. Cooking shrimp in a package provides a steam cooking effect that gives a great taste. The term for this classic cooking technique is "en papillote". Wrap individual portions of shrimp in foil or parchment paper with an aromatic liquid, such as white wine or broth. Make sure the parcels are closed tightly and cook them in a pan over medium heat or in the oven at 170Ëš. This remains the best way to prepare shrimp. The steaming process retains most of the nutrients.

Ground shrimp

  1. Crushed shrimps have a fixed structure, making it possible to mix them with other ingredients to make hamburgers, for example. Grind some shrimp in a food processor along with your favorite vegetables such as onions, peppers and fresh herbs. Mix with some whole shrimp to improve texture. Use this mixture to make burgers that you can fry on a grill or, with olive oil, in a hot frying pan.

  1. Regardless of the cooking method you use, you can assume the shrimp are good if they are pink on the outside and opaque on the inside. On a direct heat source, on a stove or on a grill, a medium shrimp will take about 2 minutes per side to cook. With indirect heat, such as in an oven, it takes about 10 minutes to cook the shrimp. When overcooked, they become hard and rubbery, so take them out of the oven as soon as they are pink on the outside and opaque on the inside.

  1. Despite shrimp's bad reputation, most people can eat shrimp as normal, of course as part of a well-balanced diet.

  1. A portion of a dozen large shrimps contains 130 mg of cholesterol. This should not pose a health concern because shrimp are low in fat and rich in highly unsaturated fatty acids, which can lead to the formation of high-density lipids known as "good cholesterol".

  1. Consuming shrimp can actually lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Scientists have concluded that a healthy diet should include plain cooked or roasted shrimp. As with most foods, it is better not to fry and to limit the amount of oil, butter, mayonnaise and tartar sauce.

  1. By the way, you are not supposed to follow a 'shrimp diet'. I've said it before, but again: Shrimp can be eaten normally, but as part of a versatile and healthy diet.

  1. Although shrimp will eventually positively affect your cholesterol, it is by no means the only food that can do this. If you are serious about working on your cholesterol, you should make as complete a list of foods as possible that are good for your cholesterol. You can then incorporate these foods into your daily diet.

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