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Food of the month - Crabs

May 2014

 

 

Previous Health Foods of the Month...

Feta

Mangoes

Cheese


 

Diet & Supplements Index



There is nothing fishy about crabs!

Crabs, although they come from the sea, are not fish. Crabs are crustaceans, which have their skeletons on the outside for protection.

There are lots of types of crabs and they are harvested around the UK as well as across the world. Here the most common crab for eating is the brown crab; female crabs are said to have a better flavour than males.

Crabs are generally available from April until autumn and of course today you can buy them frozen or tinned all through the year. In fact, most of us buy our crab readily prepared in some form or another. Cooking fresh crabs can be tricky and it is recommended they are popped into a large freezer at -18C to humanely cool and kill them before cooking.

But however you obtain your crab, there are lots of benefits from this tasty meat. First is that it is low in calories - only around 85 - 90 calories per 100g.

Even better, crab meat is a good source of omega-3 fatty acids which can give lots of serious benefits including help to improve memory and also reduce the risk of heart attack. Omega-3 fatty acids are also said to affect mood and can help to lift depression.

When it comes to vitamins, crab is also a top hitter. It is a good source of vitamins A, C and also B vitamins including B12. It also contains minerals such as zinc and copper and, a real plus, it contains selenium. This works in conjunction with various vitamins as an antioxidant to prevent free radical damage and this can lead to benefits for cancer prevention and also DNA repair. But crab doesn’t stop there.....it also contains some chromium. This mineral is said to improve blood sugar metabolism and therefore can be especially useful if you have insulin resistance.

Of course crab, although not a fish, still lives and feeds in the sea. However, it is at the lower end of the food chain and the risks of it containing high levels of mercury are low. This makes it a particularly useful seafood.

Like all foods, there are health risks....some people are allergic to shellfish and crab also contains purines, so possibly not ideal for people suffering from gout. But possibly the main problem with crab is that crabs need to be prepared and cooked properly. Like all seafood, they can cause food poisoning if badly stored, so always ensure you are buying from a shop or restaurant with a good reputation.

Crab can be used in a wide variety of dishes, from crab salads to crab pastas and crab fish cakes. Prepared well, it can be a really lovely addition to a meal from taste alone - even better to know that it is also doing you lots of good.



 

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