A litttle info about prawns:
According to nutritionist Dr Rosemary Stanton, prawns are an excellent source of protein, a good source of omega 3 fatty acids and a great way to get iron, zinc and vitamin E. They are also low in saturated fats.
Prawns are extremely low in fat and calories, yet packed with nutrition.
Prawns are even lower in calories and fat than chicken yet with much more protein. As well as being high in protein, prawns contain magnesium, which plays a role in bone development and nerve and muscle function; Zinc, which is good for growing bodies, and selenium, an important antioxidant.
Omega 3 oils found in prawns assist in blood circulation by lowering blood fats and preventing blood clot formation. This aids blood circulation and researchers believe it reduces the risk of heart attack and stroke. Research also indicates the omega 3 oil acts as an anti-inflammatory agent and so may reduce the risk of a wide range of health problems, including asthma, pulmonary disease, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, psoriasis and inflammatory bowel disease.
Nutrition Table (per 100 g):
Omega 3 (mg)
|Lean Beef|| |
|Lean Lamb|| |
|Skinless Chicken|| |
|Lean Pork|| |
HIGH IN VITAMINS & MINERALSPrawns are an excellent source of vitamins including iodine which is essential for thyroid gland function, iron for red cell formation and zinc for wound healing. They are especially rich in niacin, essential for a healthy skin and for the release of energy in the body and vitamin B complex needed for metabolic processes.
Most seafoods also supply phosphorus (a mineral needed for strong bones and teeth and for so many of the B-group vitamins to be used effectively). Potassium (essential for muscles & nerves and for controlling blood pressure); and small quantities of many other minerals including magnesium. They are a natural source of sodium.
CHOLESTEROL AND PRAWNS: SETTING THE RECORD STRAIGHTIn the past prawns have been accused of being high in cholesterol, this reputation in part has come from older measuring methods producing artificially high results. But in order to understand the issue more clearly, we need to understand a little more about cholesterol.
A serving of 100 grams of flesh from prawns grown in Australian waters will provide approximately 130mg cholesterol (range 120-160 mg/100g) or about one-eighth your normal cholesterol production. The cholesterol in Australian prawns is about two-thirds the level usually quoted from American prawns.
In theory, when you eat prawns, your body should reduce the amount of cholesterol it makes. However, if your diet is high in saturated fat and you have the 'wrong' genes, your cholesterol-production mechanism may not work effectively and the cholesterol from prawns (or fish or any other animal food) can add to what your body is making which may be several grams a day.
To put this into perspective, even if your body does make too much cholesterol, the quantity of ready-made cholesterol you would get from prawns will be only a fraction of the total. It is much more important to reduce the saturated fat in your diet than to fuss about foods containing ready-made cholesterol.
There are some problem combinations which provide high levels of saturated fat and cholesterol for example, fried bacon and eggs, or seafood battered or crumbed and then fried in saturated fat.
Prawns themselves have virtually no saturated fat, so as long as you have them grilled, barbecued, steamed or cooked with a 'good' unsaturated fat like olive oil, they should not cause problems.
The Japanese are the world's greatest consumers of prawns. They also have the highest life expectancy. Is it is possible the two things could be connected? We can't answer that with authority, but at the very least, it is fair enough to say that the cholesterol in prawns and other seafood is unlikely to damage the arteries provided the seafood is not battered or crumbed and cooked in saturated fat.