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Shrimp are crustaceans that may be served hot or cold. This nutritious, protein-rich alternative to meat has, when raw, a translucent, firm yet tender, mild tasting flesh. Like all shellfish, shrimp contains some cholesterol but is very low in calories, total fat and saturated fat. Shrimp is rich in vitamins and minerals. The major vitamins in shrimp include vitamin D, vitamin B12 or cobalamin and vitamin B3 or niacin.
According to the World's Healthiest Foods website, 15 large shrimp, or a 4 oz 1. serving of steamed or boiled shrimp provides roughly 162 IU vitamin D, which meets 40 percent of the Recommended Daily Value or DV for this nutrient based on 400 IU. Thus, shrimp are an excellent source of vitamin D. Vitamin D helps with the absorption of calcium and phosphorus in order to build and maintain strong bones and teeth. Vitamin D is also important for immune system function and promoting healthy skin.
Vitamin B12 or cobalamin is a nutrient found in animal foods, such as meat, poultry, fish, eggs and dairy. There are very few vegan food sources of this essential nutrient. However, shrimp is one of the better food sources. A 4 oz. cooked portion provides 1.7 micrograms (mcg), which meets just over 28 percent of the DV based on 6 mcg. Vitamin B12 is required for optimal function of the nervous system as well as DNA synthesis and the formation of red blood cells.
Vitamin B3 - Niacin
A 4 oz. serving of steamed or broiled shrimp, or 15 large shrimp, provide 3.5 mg vitamin B3 or niacin according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Agricultural Library database. The DV for niacin is 20 mg daily; thus, this amount meets 17.5 percent of the DV, making it a good food source. Vitamin B3, like vitamins B1 and B2, is needed by the body to obtain energy from the foods you eat, break down and use proteins, carbohydrates and fats and maintain healthy nerves and skin.
- shrimp image by Liz Van Steenburgh from Fotolia.com