Busting the myth
Our thanks this month to members The Big Prawn Co, who have kindly allowed us to reproduce this fascinating piece on cholesterol in shellfish. Widely perceived by many as actually being bad for your cholesterol levels, the introduction of many shellfish species to your diet, such as prawns or crab can positively influence the balance.
Eating more shellfish in our diet is a great way to look after our health. Although not one particular food will turn you completely healthy, however, introducing more shellfish is a great start. Many believe that shellfish is actually bad for your cholesterol, but recent studies have proven this isn’t true.
How can shellfish help?
It has long been the belief that because shellfish contains cholesterol, it must be bad for your own cholesterol. Although shellfish, such as prawns, crabs, and lobsters, does contain cholesterol, it is dietary. Plus, they have very little saturated fat. Saturated fat in the diet actually has a greater effect in raising blood cholesterol as opposed to cholesterol in the diet. Shellfish is naturally low in saturated fat. In 100g of prawns, there is only 0.2g fat whilst in 100g of beef mince, there is 13.5g fat. In fact, the build-up of cholesterol can be due to many factors, from genetics to cell uptake. However, what recent studies have determined is that in attempts to improve your blood cholesterol with your diet, try to reduce your intake of saturated fat as your primary focus, rather than believe the idea that dietary cholesterol is the biggest factor. In fact, a recent trial, according to the SAGB, states that even when eating 225g of prawns a day, blood cholesterol is not raised.
Impact of Cholesterol
Cholesterol is a type of fat that is made by the body in the liver. Ad a result, it is naturally present in our blood and some cholesterol is required for good health. However, too much cholesterol in your body can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease. If cholesterol builds up, they can block or weaken your blood vessels, therefore, increasing the risk of heart attacks and strokes.
In improving your health with your diet, it is all about balance. Eating more shellfish and seafood in your diet is a great way to balance your diet as they’re often packed with minerals, nutrients; they’re low in fat and low calorie. On top of all these, shellfish is incredibly tasty! If you’re looking for inspiration for healthy seafood, check out our recipes here.