Shrimps are high in cholesterol but not as high as in eggs. By comparison, the cholesterol level in shrimps are about half the amount that you would find in an egg by weight. And this is dietary cholesterol. On the other hand, shrimps have unusually low fat content and is a rich source of low calorie protein. For example a four ounce serving of shrimp supplies 23.7 grams of protein (that's 47.4% of the daily value for protein) for a mere 112 calories and less than a gram of fat.
Shrimps are also an excellent source of selenium and omega-3 fatty acids, which are known for their anti-inflammatory properties and their ability to stop blood clots from forming. Four ounces of shrimp have 14.8% of your daily need of Omega 3. Shrimps are also a very good source of vitamin D and vitamin B12. A four-ounce serving of shrimp, will give you 28.2% of the daily allowance of vitamin B12. Vitamin B12 is one of the nutrients that keep levels of homocysteine low. Homocysteine is a molecule that can cause damage to blood vessel walls, and it is also deemed a significant risk factor for heart disease.
Eight percent of the cholesterol in the blood is manufactured in the liver. The remainder comes from food. Studies show that while saturated fats e.g. from meat and diary products aids in the absorption of cholesterol, unsaturated fats e.g. from shrimps, do not. This is a plus.
While shrimps may be high in dietary cholesterol, but do they contribute to cholesterol in your blood? In a peer-reviewed scientific study, scientist studied two diets, one containing shrimps and the other eggs. A group of people with normal lipid levels ate either 300 grams of shrimps of day or two large eggs. Members of the group were then picked at random and put on the other diet. The result was interesting. The shrimp diet did raise LDL levels (bad cholesterol) by 7%, but also raised HDL levels (good cholesterol) by 12%. In contrast, the egg diet raised LDL levels by 10% and HDL by 7%. The results then showed that the shrimp diet produced significantly lower ratios of total to HDL ("good") cholesterol and lower ratios of LDL ("bad" cholesterol) to HDL cholesterol than the egg diet. In addition, in people who ate the shrimp diet, levels of triglycerides (a form in which fat is carried in the blood) decreased 13%.
While the shrimp diet did increase bad cholesterol or LDL slightly, it also boosted their good cholesterol or HDL enough to offset the increase in bad cholesterol. While the study didn't test the effect of shrimp on people with high cholesterol, health experts say moderate amounts of shrimp should be fine for them too.
Like eggs, shrimps were thought to be bad for those with high cholesterol. But studies seem to suggest otherwise. If you are a shrimp lover, it probably would not do any harm if you include a sensible amount of shrimps in your diet.