Good things really do come in small packages. The name “shrimp” may imply something tiny and feeble, but the health benefits from shrimp are quite the opposite.
Seafood has often been praised for the nutrition and health benefits it provides, and shrimp are not to be excluded. Adding shrimp to your meals instead of meat gives new flavor to old favorites.
The main source of food in shrimp is their meaty tail. They can be a topping to a favorite salad, added to soups, or served as a main dish. By adding seafood into your diet, and shrimp in particular, you can enjoy a great many health benefits. Shrimp can help:
Protect Your Heart
A powerful fibrinolytic enzyme that can be found in fermented shrimp paste is a powerful tool in the fight against cardiovascular disease. In addition to this, shrimp contain omega-3 fatty acids, which eliminate cholesterol from the bloodstream and promote blood vessel health.
With heart disease being the number one killer in the country, loading up on shrimp seems like a tasty and beneficial way to protect your heart.
Shrimp is low carbohydrate food, making them great for weight loss programs. It also contains high levels of leptin, the hormone responsible for regulating fat storage and appetite.
By increasing leptin levels, you can curb hunger and avoid overeating to reach the weight you want. The iodine content of shrimp also interacts with and speeds up your thyroid, further aiding in weight loss efforts.
Slow Down the Aging Process
Sun exposure as well as poor diets can speed up the aging process of your skin. Shrimp contains astaxanthin, which is a powerful antioxidant that protects your skin from oxidative damage and premature aging.
The aging process also takes its toll on your eyes, and the risk for macular degeneration increases as you get older. Astaxanthin works to protect your eyes from fatigue that comes with daily computer use and keeps your eyes younger and protected from degeneration.
Shrimp contain high amounts of iron, which is important for optimal blood flow and oxygen circulation. Increased iron means enhanced blood flow to the brain, which is linked to better concentration, and improved comprehension and memory.
In addition to this, the astaxanthin promotes brain cell survival and strength, thus protecting you from neurodegenerative or brain-inflammatory diseases.
The carotenoids in shrimp possess anti-cancer properties, specifically through the reduction of oxidative damage.
Shrimp also contains selenium, a trace mineral associated with reduced risk for certain types of cancer. Selenium fights against free radicals and inhibits the growth of cancerous tumors.
Better Bone Health
The magnesium, calcium, and phosphorus content of shrimp helps to protect against bone loss. Diets deficient in these proteins increase your risk for bone density loss and osteoporosis.
Add shrimp to your diet to slow the effects of bone aging and keep bones stronger for longer.
Prevent Hair Loss
The zinc content in shrimp protects against hair loss. Because zinc is essential for maintaining and creating new hair cells, the more you have, the healthier your hair can be.
For the Shrimp Tacos:
1 pound large or jumbo shrimp peeled, deveined, and tails removed (fresh or frozen and thawed)
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil divided
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground chipotle chili
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
6 to 8 corn or flour tortillas
Garnishes: avocados cilantro, sour cream (or Greek yogurt), lime wedges
For the Slaw and Shrimp Taco Sauce:
1 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic peeled
1/2 small jalapeno seeds and membranes removed
1/4 cup tightly packed fresh cilantro leaves
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
Zest and juice of 1 large or 2 very small limes about 2 teaspoons zest and 3 tablespoons juice
2 cups shredded cabbage or slaw mix
1. Rinse and pat the shrimp dry, then transfer to a large mixing bowl. Drizzle with 1/2 tablespoon olive oil and sprinkle with the chili powder, chipotle chili, cumin, and salt. Toss to coat evenly and let rest while you prepare the shrimp taco sauce and slaw.
2. In a food processor fitted with a steel blade, process the Greek yogurt, olive oil, garlic, jalapeno, cilantro, salt, lime zest, and lime juice. Taste and adjust seasonings as desired. Place the cabbage in a mixing bowl and toss with about 1/2 cup of the sauce. Reserve the rest of the sauce for serving.
3. In a large nonstick skillet over medium high, heat the remaining 1/2 tablespoon olive oil. Add the shrimp and sauté just until the shrimp is cooked through and no longer translucent which is typically about 4 minutes. Take care not to overcook them. Transfer the shrimp immediately to a plate.
4. Warm the tortillas and assemble the tacos. Fill the tortillas with your desired number of shrimp, then top generously with the slaw, extra sauce that you reserved, a squeeze of lime juice, and any other desired toppings.
Let shrimp do big things for you and consider adding them to your diet more often. Versatility and maximum nutritional benefits make shrimp a valuable addition to your meal plan.
Lose weight, look great, and feel good from the inside out because a little shrimp can go a long way when it comes to your health.