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Health Food of the month - Shrimps

July 2020

cooked shrimps has some lovely shrimp recipes

Previous Health Foods of the Month...





Diet & Supplements Index

In recent weeks, with restaurants shut and more time at home, there has been increased interest in more exotic home cooking. One idea that caught a lot of eyes was a delicious and easy recipe for grilled shrimp with peach salsa.

But what exactly are shrimps?  Many people think they are small prawns, but in fact they are an entirely different subspecies in the animal kingdom.

Shrimps and prawns do have a lot in common, they both have ten legs and both have exoskeletons or rigid outside covering.  They both live near the bottom of water, and both shrimps and prawns can be found in fresh and salt water. However, interestingly shrimps are generally found in salt water while most prawns are in fresh water. 

Prawns are generally much larger and meatier than shrimps which is why shrimps have often been disregarded or treated as a poor substitute.  This is unfair as shrimps are a great food that fit perfectly with many recipes. You can occasionally get large shrimps but even small shrimps still offer a tasty addition to many meal ideas.

Shrimps are one of the foods that is probably better bought frozen. You can buy fresh shrimps, but they are highly perishable. If they are giving off any smell like ammonia, or have shells that feel soft or slimy, then avoid them and go for frozen. They will need to be thawed before cooking, but this is quick and easy; just pop them into a bowl under cold running water, and in a few minutes they should be fully thawed.

One thing to be aware of is the vein that runs down through a shrimp. It is really its digestive tract and generally it is recommended that this should be removed as it could taste bitter, or even contain some sand. It is easy just to pull this out.

Shrimps are very good for us. While say a three ounce (85 gram) serving provides 84 calories, 90% of this comes from protein.  This same amount will also provide an impressive 20 different vitamins and minerals.  One of the most interesting is selenium; shrimps are naturally very high in this essential mineral which supports the immune system and cognitive function. Shrimps also offer good levels of vitamin B12, iron, phosphorus, niacin, zinc and magnesium.  It also is one of the best food sources of iodine which is especially interesting for people of our age. Iodine is required to ensure good function of the thyroid, something that can become a problem as we age.

One of the good things about shrimps is that they are so easy to cook. They can be grilled, broiled, fried, sautéed, steamed or course cooked on the barbecue. They cook quickly and easily and are very popular in stir fries and in salads.

With their mild, slightly sweet flavour, it might be worth turning to shrimps for a change instead of the ubiquitous prawn.

There is lots of information about shrimps on line; one good site for shrimp recipes is at Delish:


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