Can I have shrimps if my LDL cholesterol is high?
Q: I am a 38 years old man who had high low-density lipoprotein (LDL) but it is now under control. Are shrimps safe for the heart? Do they increase the LDL cholesterol? What about high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol?
A:There are two types of blood cholesterol - low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol and high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol. LDL is considered the ‘bad’ cholesterol because it contributes to narrowing up of the arteries, which can lead to heart disease and stroke. The HDL cholesterol is considered to be the ‘good’ cholesterol because it actually cleans out the arteries, reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease. Although shrimp has more cholesterol than any other shellfish except squid, the cholesterol in shrimp has not been shown to be as much of a problem as cholesterol in other foods. The cholesterol in shrimp does increase the LDL levels of cholesterol but the level of good cholesterol is incrementally increased by a higher percentage. Also, shrimps are very low in saturated fat, which has been shown to raise blood cholesterol more than dietary cholesterol. Thus, shrimp actually improves the ratio of LDL to HDL cholesterol and lowers triglycerides. Furthermore, shrimp contains heart healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Therefore, shrimp can be included in a heart healthy diet. As long as you don't overdo it, eating shrimp should not have an adverse effect on your cholesterol levels.