Shrimps are crustaceans that belong to the Decapod order. They are widely distributed in the seas of the whole world, however, some species live in fresh waters. The average life expectancy of these marine inhabitants is 2-6 years, it depends largely on the habitat. The size of adults reaches a length of 2-30 cm.

There are warm-blooded and cold-blooded shrimps. Warm-blooded are larger and have an exotic appearance. The largest are tiger prawns, which can reach a length of 36 centimeters. Their name comes from a special color - the presence of black stripes on the shell. Cold-blooded shrimp are smaller, but they are more beneficial to the body; their cost is usually cheaper than warm-blooded ones. These seafood have a short shelf life, therefore, immediately after being caught, they are subjected to heat treatment or frozen.

The shell of crustaceans contains astaxanthin, a substance that belongs to carotenoids. This is what gives the shrimp its bright pink color. It is believed that seafood of a brighter color is tastier and better. But don't jump to conclusions right away. Sometimes the owners of fish farms artificially color the inhabitants of their farms.

Nowadays, shrimp is no longer a food that is available only to the elite. Whole shrimp in shell or their meat can be seen in any store, while the price for them is quite affordable.

Chemical composition

Shrimps, like other seafood, are rich in easily digestible protein. Its digestion occurs very quickly, which contributes to the absorption into the blood of a sufficient amount of the components of the product.

One 100 gram serving of crustaceans provides 47% of the daily protein requirement. At the same time, they are low in fat and carbohydrates, many valuable vitamins, micro- and macronutrients.

Shrimps are a source of vitamin D. 100 grams (boiled) contains about 32% of the daily value of this important component. Vitamin D ensures the absorption of calcium and phosphorus, and also regulates their levels in the blood.

If we compare shrimp and other products, then, for example, they contain almost 100 times more iodine than beef. So 100 g of this crustacean contains the daily norm of this element and 2.5 norms of potassium. Eating 200 grams of seafood per day, you can easily replenish the daily requirement of the human body for copper and cobalt.

Fresh shrimp are low in calories: 73-107 kcal per 100 g (it all depends on the species). In terms of calories, this seafood is on the same level as potatoes, low-fat fish, and bananas. Cooking shrimp increases their calorie content. Boiled crustaceans contain about 100 kcal, and fried or baked ones become even more high-calorie. They can become an alternative dish for allergy sufferers, as they are a non-allergenic product.

Table 1."Chemical composition of shrimp"
Composition Content per 100 grams
Proteins 18.9 g
Fat 2.2 g
Water 77.2 g
Ash 1.7 g
Calcium 135 mg
Potassium 260 mg
Phosphorus 220 mg
Sodium 450 mg
Magnesium 60 mg
Iron 2200 mcg
Zinc 2100 mcg
Copper 850 mcg
Iodine 110 mcg
Manganese 110 mcg
Fluorine 100 mcg
Cobalt 12 µg
Molybdenum 10 µg
Selenium 38 mcg
Vitamin A (beta-carotene) 0.01 mg
Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) 1.4 mg
Vitamin E (tocopherol) 2.27
Vitamin B1 (thiamine) 0.06 mg
Vitamin B2 (riboflavin) 0.11 mg
Vitamin B9 (folic acid) 13 mcg
Vitamin PP (niacin) 1 mg


Benefits for the heart

They increase the level of “good” cholesterol in the blood, and the level of “bad” cholesterol is reduced. Behind a serious cardiac pathology is precisely an excessive amount of “bad” cholesterol. The B vitamins also have a positive effect on the cardiovascular system - they destroy harmful homocysteine ​​molecules that impede blood flow and damage blood vessels. This type of crustacean is characterized by a high content of omega-6 and omega-3 acids, which help human vessels to remain elastic and healthy, prevent the possibility of heart attacks and reduce blood pressure.

Prevention of cancer

Selenium, which is part of shrimp, prevents the formation of cancer cells, inhibits their growth, and also kills cells that are weakened, old, with a broken gene apparatus. This trace element is also able to activate the activity of glutathione peroxidase, which is characterized by anticarcinogenic properties. There is information that the fatty acids contained in shrimp normalize metabolic processes, reducing the risk of cancer of the rectum and colon.

Benefits for the nervous system

Fatty acids have a positive effect on the cognitive functions of the brain. The high content of omega-3 fatty acids helps to prevent the decline in the quality of mental activity, provide protection against Alzheimer's disease and dementia. Scientists at Columbia Medical Center have shown that fatty acid compounds help reduce blood levels of beta-amyloid, the amyloid plaque protein that occurs in Alzheimer's disease. With the regular presence of fatty acids in the diet, the risk of these terrible diseases is reduced by 30%. In addition, omega-6 and omega-3 acids improve mood and help prevent depression. Magnesium, which is part of the shrimp, has excellent anti-stress properties.

Antioxidant properties

Shrimp is an excellent antioxidant. The carotenoid substance that they contain, regularly entering the body, promotes the formation of new tissues and cells, prolonging their youth, and helps to reduce the risk of developing oncological pathology.

Antimicrobial properties

Chitin, found in crustacean shells, has antimicrobial properties that help cuts and wounds heal faster. Also, thanks to this, it is used in dentistry and the food industry.

Benefits for bones

The high content of vitamin Dand calcium in shrimp helps to strengthen the skeletal system. It is useful to use this seafood for patients suffering from osteoporosis and arthrosis of the joints. With its regular presence in food, the risk of developing muscular and bone dystrophy is reduced, ligaments and joints become elastic, and the skeleton becomes strong.

Strong aphrodisiac

Shrimp is a strong aphrodisiac. Their high content of selenium, iodine, protein, lysine and vitamins normalize hormonal levels, improve mood and give strength. This increases the sex drive in both men and women.

Benefits for women

During pregnancy, every woman is concerned about nutrition. Nutritionists advise pregnant women to include seafood in dishes, the beneficial properties of which contribute to the favorable development of the fetus. The rich mineral composition improves metabolism, having a beneficial effect on the endocrine system, the appearance of nails and hair.

Shrimps are an indispensable source of trace elements not only during pregnancy, but also during menopause.

Benefits for men

Seafood is very beneficial for the body of a strong half of the population, and shrimp is no exception. In ancient Rome, crustaceans were part of the dishes for the patricians, they allowed to stimulate their male power due to the content of zinc and selenium. Fatty amino acids are involved in the biosynthesis of the main male hormone - testosterone. After dinner, where the menu included shrimp and related products such as vegetables, rice and white wine, a romantic continuation is guaranteed.

The use of shrimp

In cooking

Shrimp is accessible to almost everyone and at the same time an exquisite table decoration. What dishes can you add them to? Of course, salads - in them, tender, cold and almost melting in the mouth crustacean meat, along with spices, fully reveals its unique delicacy taste. They can also be added to main dishes. Some shrimp gourmets cook soups. And, of course, just ordinary shrimp without any ingredients are widespread.

Recipes of different culinary specialists differ from each other in the variety of additions of flavoring spices and the duration of preparation. What is the secret to cooking shrimp? How to cook them so that the meat is completely cooked and tasty?

Proper defrosting of the product plays an important role in cooking. There are rules that will allow you to save more nutrients in it:

  • Shrimp should not be thawed at room temperature, in the microwave, or thrown frozen into water. The optimal preparation of the product for cooking is gradual defrosting and thawing in the refrigerator for 10-12 hours.
  • A less "correct" but also effective way to defrost is to place seafood in a colander and leave it for 15 minutes in cold water. Then you need to change the water and keep the shrimp for another 20 minutes.
  • After defrosting, seafood should be washed in running water. Before throwing into boiling water, it is necessary to dry it on a paper towel.

Let's move on to the recipe itself. First, boil water. Its quantity is determined in the ratio for 1 part of shrimp - 2-2.5 parts of water.

Salt the water and add spices to it. The most common are parsley, black peppercorns, dill. Sometimes bay leaves are also added, but you need to remember that it will give the shrimp excessive rigidity. But it all depends on your preferences.

After boiling water, you can put shrimp in it. Make sure that the dish does not “run away”, as the crustaceans may foam slightly during cooking and rise to the surface. Tender and soft shrimp meat is cooked very quickly - as soon as the shrimp boil and float, after 1.5-2 minutes they can be removed with a slotted spoon or drained. The cooking time for larger seafood is slightly longer - about 2-3 minutes. It is very important not to overcook - otherwise the meat will become a "rubber-like" consistency and instead of enjoying it, you will only need to chew on elastic hooks. The meat of properly cooked shrimp is very tender and almost melts in your mouth. As soon as the seafood is taken out of the water, it must be cooled and cleaned. If desired, before serving, you can sprinkle a little greens.


It is important to know how to properly peel a shrimp in order to eat it. First, it is imperative to free it from the shell. To do this, you need to take it in your hands upside down and tear off your head. Then you need to take the shrimp by the upper part with one hand and by the tail with the other, slowly pull the back part and the shell will slide off the body. After that, you can enjoy the taste of crustaceans.

The paws may contain caviar, which is eaten by some gourmets. It is no less tasty than the shrimp itself.

When cleaning a shrimp, be sure to remove the “vein”, which is the digestive organ. It may contain grains of sand, and the taste is sometimes bitter. Of course, we expect completely different sensations, feasting on shrimp.

Shrimps, regardless of their type, can be boiled not only in water. For example, many seafood in Italy are cooked with cream or raw milk. In Japan and China, in order to eliminate the specific "fishy spirit" for cooking shrimp, green tea is used. Its leaves are added to water just before boiling. In this case, the shrimp should be cooked a little longer. And as a result, the meat will not be tasteless and “rubber”, but, on the contrary, with an additional zest. In Russia, many people boil shrimp in vodka or beer. The most common ingredients that are added to the liquid during crustacean cooking are bay leaf, salt, black pepper, lime, lemon, vegetable oil, cloves, garlic, tarragon, and dill.

All of the above tips can be used on gas or electric stoves. You can also cook shrimp in the microwave. But in this case, there is no consensus on the required time for cooking. Some believe that these seafood in the microwave must be kept for 12 minutes, and it must be turned on at full power. Others are of the opinion that only two minutes are enough for such a procedure. Still others adhere to the golden mean, they cook seafood at medium power for 5-7 minutes. But almost everyone agrees that frozen shrimp can be cooked in the microwave without water, because the melted ice is enough.

Sometimes frozen-boiled shrimp are not cooked at all because they have already been cooked after being caught. You can simply wait until they are completely free of ice, sprinkle them with lemon juice, sprinkle with finely chopped greens on top and serve. Sometimes shrimp are "warmed up" for a couple. All of the above methods of cooking are correct and acceptable.

For weight loss

Shrimps are low in calories, contain almost no sugar and fat, but thanks to their high protein content, they perfectly satisfy hunger. Therefore, this seafood is one of the most preferred types of food. The high content of vitamin B12 promotes the synthesis of hemoglobin and has a positive effect on the nervous system, which is important during weight loss.

There is a special shrimp diet that can help not only improve the figure, but also improve the condition of the skin and hair. With this diet, you need to eat about 350 grams of boiled shrimp meat per day. If you really want fried food, then only cooked in vegetable oil and no more than 100 grams. Vegetables can be consumed with this crustacean, with the exception of potatoes, legumes and corn. Greens can be eaten in unlimited quantities. Green apples, citrus fruits and wild berries are allowed. From liquids, water, citrus juices, pineapple, apple, pomegranate, as well as skim milk are allowed.

The duration of such a diet is 7-10 days. It is not suitable for people suffering from liver pathology or chronic allergies. It is advisable to discuss the need for such a diet with a doctor if you have problems with the thyroid gland.

In cosmetology

Eating sea crustaceans improves the condition of hair, nails and skin due to the presence of vitamin A in their composition. But they are used for cosmetic purposes, not only as food. The chitosan contained in the shell makes it possible to slow down the aging process, prevent wrinkles, and normalize immune responses. It is used for cosmetic correction, because it does not leave scars on the skin.

Chitosan has other excellent qualities: it creates a protective layer on the skin, protecting it from moisture loss. It also prevents from the aggressive effects of environmental factors and is perfectly absorbed by the body.

There is a whole series of different cosmetic products based on chitosan: creams, lotions, masks, powders. Scientists are developing technologies in which they plan to use chitosan nanoparticles in new skin care products.

Selection Rules

The best option is to buy shrimp immediately in the harbor after unloading from the ship. But, unfortunately, few people live in such a place. The bulk of people choose this seafood in the markets or in stores where they are chilled, canned or frozen.

The most useful are fresh-frozen shrimp, because in this form they retain the components included in it to the maximum. But most often on our shelves you can find frozen boiled seafood. It is best to buy it frozen in a block.

In order to fully enjoy the benefits and taste of shrimp, it is necessary to carefully examine their appearance. They should definitely smell a little of the sea and look fresh. What else to look for when choosing?

  • The freshness of the shrimp is indicated by its elasticity and slight moisture. Too dry shell indicates old age.
  • There must be no spots on the crustaceans. Black rings or spots on the legs indicate that they are spoiled or advanced in age. When cooking, such individuals will turn into porridge. Yellow stains indicate that the sellers tried to hide the presence of black spots with a chemical solution.
  • White stripes on seafood indicate that it is frozen.
  • It's okay if a shrimp has a green head - it just fed on plankton for a long time. A brown head indicates that this is a female and she is in position - such shrimp are much more useful.
  • If the sea crustaceans are brown or yellow, then this is evidence that they are stale on the shelf. Do not buy bright or almost red with an orange tint, because they are most likely just tinted to give a presentation.
  • Shrimp in the form of a frozen lump occurs if it has been thawed and refrozen.

When making a purchase, be sure to pay attention to the shelf life, otherwise there is a risk of purchasing a damaged product. Shrimp after purchase is better to cook immediately. But if it becomes necessary to store them, then it is better to do this in the freezer.

Additional Facts

Fans of shrimp will be interested to know some interesting additional facts about them:

  • Many species of shrimp are hermaphrodites - they can change sex from male to female during their lives.
  • As they grow, they molt and change their old shell, which has become uncomfortable, to a more spacious one.
  • Can easily accumulate toxic substances.
  • King prawns are grown predominantly on farms. For this, growth stimulants and antibiotics are used. They have very few nutrients.
  • One of the types of shrimp is the so-called "shooting" shrimp. With their claws, they can make a click so loud that nearby fish die from it.

Harm and contraindications

Shrimp is a safe product, you can even give it to children. It can only be contraindicated if a person has an allergy to seafood. But they do not need to be abused, like many other foods.

The environmental situation in the world does not inspire optimism. Therefore, there is no certainty that the shrimp lying on the table grew in absolutely healthy conditions. In addition, they are not only sea, but also river, while they are very different from each other in composition and useful properties. Some fishermen and vendors stuff shrimp with antibiotics and various additives that have a negative effect on the body when consumed.

Sea crustaceans well absorb various toxic substances and accumulate them. They can detect cadmium, mercury, lead and other heavy metals, which are extremely dangerous for the human body. Due to the dishonesty of carriers and suppliers of goods, if the rules of transportation and storage are not followed, sometimes seafood that is useful in itself can become dangerous and provoke poisoning.

Shrimp is an amazing, tasty and nutritious food. Do not abuse them, follow the rules of choice and they will only benefit you.