Are Prawns Good for Cholesterol? Let Us Find Out!

Aditi Shenai

May 26, 2023

Cholesterol is an essential substance for our bodies needed to make healthy cells, but when levels in the body become too high, it can increase the risk of heart disease and stroke. While medication is often prescribed to manage high cholesterol, lifestyle changes, including dietary modifications, are also crucial. 

When it comes to diet, many people are hesitant to include seafood in their meals due to concerns about cholesterol. However, not all seafood is high in cholesterol, and prawns are an excellent example of a low-cholesterol, nutrient-rich food. 

In this article, we will delve into the health benefits of prawns and how they can be a delicious and healthy addition to a cholesterol-lowering diet.

Nutrition Values of Prawns 

​​According to the USDA, here’s an estimate of the nutrients in a 100g serving of prawns:


Prawns and Their Effect on Cholesterol

The body needs cholesterol for digestion and the production of hormones, and it can produce enough to sustain these processes. Therefore, eating meals high in cholesterol may potentially increase your risk of developing health problems.

Despite their moderate cholesterol content, prawns are healthy and can be part of a low-cholesterol diet. Unfortunately, there is a common misconception that high-cholesterol foods will cause an increase in bad blood cholesterol (LDL) levels and heart disease, leading many people to avoid them. However, research has shown that only 25% of people are susceptible to dietary cholesterol. It means that for most people, dietary cholesterol may not affect their blood cholesterol levels at all.

Furthermore, consuming meals high in cholesterol can reduce the cholesterol produced by the liver, which is responsible for most cholesterol in the blood.

Research also indicates that prawn meat is a great source of many other essential nutrients. These include proteins, bioactive peptides, omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, and minerals, which help reduce cholesterol absorption and benefit overall health.

Other Benefits of Eating Prawns

  • Prawns are nutrient-rich as they include calcium, phosphorus, potassium, and vitamins A, E, B6 and B12.
  • They contain a lot of iron, which promotes the growth of red blood cells and thus prevents the incidence of anaemia.
  • Prawns are rich in protein. A diet rich in protein helps you feel fuller for longer. As you result you stay satiated for longer and your calorie consumption goes down which facilitates weight loss.
  • Prawns are a great source of selenium, iodine, and zinc, among other trace minerals. While selenium and zinc support the immune system, iodine is necessary to maintain thyroid gland function.

The HealthifyMe Note

According to studies, while significantly increasing your prawn consumption does result in minor increases in LDL or “bad” cholesterol, it also, and more critically, results in a rise in HDL or “good” cholesterol levels. Moreover, these improvements in HDL levels are noticeably more significant than the increases in LDL levels, indicating that prawns’ favourable fat ratios don’t generally raise the risk of heart disease.


Prawns are generally a healthy food choice and can benefit cholesterol levels. Studies have shown that eating prawns can help reduce bad cholesterol (LDL) levels and increase good cholesterol (HDL) levels, positively affecting overall cholesterol levels. In addition, prawns are  high in protein and other essential vitamins and minerals that boost overall health benefits. 

For people with a healthy lifestyle, moderate consumption of prawns can be beneficial. However, it is vital to note that prawns are still high in cholesterol, and one must consume them in moderation as part of a balanced diet.

Disclaimer: The purpose of this article is just to disperse knowledge and raise awareness. It does not intend to replace medical advice from professionals. For further information please contact our certified nutritionists Here

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q. How much cholesterol is in a prawn?

A: Prawns are a great source of lean protein and are relatively low in cholesterol. Depending on the size, a 100g serving of prawns can contain between 55-75 mg of cholesterol. It is much lower than other animal proteins, such as beef and pork, which can have over 100 mg per 100g serving. Furthermore, prawns are a good source of unsaturated fats, which can help to reduce levels of bad cholesterol in the blood. Therefore, prawns are an excellent option for those looking to reduce their cholesterol levels.

Q. Who should avoid prawns?

A: People allergic to shellfish or crustaceans should avoid eating prawns. Those with certain medical conditions, such as weakened immune systems, should also avoid eating prawns. Pregnant women should also avoid eating prawns due to their potential risk of foodborne illness. Lastly, people following a low-sodium diet should also avoid eating prawns, as they tend to be high in sodium.

Q. Are prawns OK for the heart?

A: Prawns are an excellent choice for the heart due to their high omega-3 fatty acids, which are known to reduce inflammation and improve heart health. Additionally, prawns are rich in vitamin B12 and selenium, which benefits the cardiovascular system. They also contain low saturated fats, making them a healthy choice for those looking to lower their cholesterol levels.

Q. Can prawns increase high blood pressure?

A: Prawns have many health benefits but can also increase high blood pressure. It is due to the high sodium content in prawns, as sodium is known to raise blood pressure. In addition, prawns contain omega-3 fatty acids, which can also contribute to high blood pressure. Therefore, those with high blood pressure should avoid overeating prawns and opt for healthier, low-sodium seafood options. Speaking to a doctor to determine the best dietary changes to make if high blood pressure is an issue is crucial.

Reference Sources

1. Jones, W. & Wong, Max & Lowe, Gordon & Davies, Ian & Isherwood, C. & Griffin, Bruce. (2010). The effect of prawn consumption on lipoprotein subclasses in healthy males. Proceedings of The Nutrition Society – PROC NUTR SOC-ENGL SCOT. 69. 10.1017/S0029665109992849.

2. U S Department of Agriculture. Shrimp, NFS

3. Berger S, Raman G, Vishwanathan R, Jacques PF, Johnson EJ. Dietary cholesterol and cardiovascular disease: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Am J Clin Nutr. 2015 Aug;102(2):276-94. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.114.100305. Epub 2015 Jun 24. PMID: 26109578.

4. Menon, V. & Gopakumar, Kumarapanicker. (2017). Shellfish: Nutritive Value, Health Benefits, and Consumer Safety. Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety. 16. 10.1111/1541-4337.12312.

5. Soliman, G.A. Dietary Cholesterol and the Lack of Evidence in Cardiovascular Disease. Nutrients 2018, 10, 780.

6. De Oliveira e Silva ER, Seidman CE, Tian JJ, Hudgins LC, Sacks FM, Breslow JL. Effects of shrimp consumption on plasma lipoproteins. Am J Clin Nutr. 1996 Nov;64(5):712-7. doi: 10.1093/ajcn/64.5.712. PMID: 8901790.

By: Aditi Shenai, Masters in Dietetics and Applied Nutrition

About the Author

M.Sc in: Dietetics and Applied Nutrition from Manipal University. Worked: All over India and have been involved in helping set up nutrition departments in start ups. Interested in lifestyle based nutrition. Mantra: A healthy lifestyle isn't a choice to be made or discarded, it's a way of life!

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