How often can you eat shrimp in a week?

Shrimp can be a healthy and delicious addition to your diet, but it’s important not to overdo it. Consuming shrimp in moderation can fit into a balanced diet, but eating it too frequently may have some downsides.

Quick Answers

The recommended weekly limit for shrimp is 2-3 servings. Each serving is about 3-4 oz (85-110g) of cooked shrimp.

Eating shrimp 1-2 times per week is considered safe and healthy. Going over 3 servings may raise cholesterol levels or exposure to contaminants.

Portion control is key. Stick to a palm-sized amount of shrimp and vary your protein sources to minimize risks.

How Much Shrimp Can You Eat in a Week?

When it comes to shrimp consumption, moderation is key. Here are some general guidelines for how much shrimp you can eat per week:

  • 1-2 servings per week is considered safe and healthy
  • 2-3 servings per week is the recommended upper limit
  • Each serving is around 3-4 oz or 85-110g of cooked shrimp
  • Going over 3 servings (12 oz) weekly may raise health concerns

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends 8-12 oz of seafood per week as part of a healthy diet. Shrimp counts toward this total.

So while 1-2 shrimp meals per week is fine, having more than 3 is not recommended. Portion control is important.

Benefits of Eating Shrimp in Moderation

Here are some of the benefits of adding shrimp to your diet in moderation (1-2 times per week):

  • High in protein – A 3 oz serving of shrimp provides about 21g of protein. Protein helps build muscle, regulate appetite and support metabolic health.
  • Low in fat – Shrimp are very low in saturated fat and calories, with only around 1g of fat and 84 calories in a 3 oz cooked serving.
  • Rich in nutrients – Shrimp provide vitamin B12, selenium, zinc, iodine and antioxidant carotenoids like astaxanthin.
  • May boost heart health – Some research suggests shrimp’s omega-3 fatty acids and astaxanthin content may improve cardiovascular health markers like triglycerides.

Incorporating shrimp into a varied diet can provide nutritional benefits and add delicious variety to your meals and recipes.

Downsides of Eating Too Much Shrimp

Eating shrimp more than 2-3 times per week may cause some potential downsides:

  • High cholesterol – Shrimp is higher in dietary cholesterol than some other protein foods, with about 166 mg in a 4 oz serving. Too much can raise LDL cholesterol levels.
  • Elevated TMAO levels – Choline in shrimp may get converted by gut bacteria into the compound TMAO, which is linked to heart disease risk.
  • Contaminants – Shrimp may accumulate mercury, microplastics or other pollutants from the water. Too much could raise exposure to these contaminants.
  • Allergies – Some people are allergic to shrimp. Frequent exposure could increase chance of reactions for those sensitive.

For most people, keeping total shrimp intake to a moderate level can help minimize these potential negative effects.

Tips for Incorporating Shrimp into Your Diet

Here are some tips for safely enjoying shrimp as part of a healthy, balanced diet:

  • Stick to 1-2 servings of shrimp per week
  • Watch your portion sizes – 3-4 oz is a typical serving
  • Choose wild-caught or sustainably farmed shrimp when possible
  • Prepare shrimp in lower-fat ways by grilling, broiling or steaming
  • Pair with veggie sides and whole grains to reduce cholesterol impact
  • Balance shrimp with other protein sources like beans, eggs or chicken
  • Avoid breaded or fried coconut shrimp which can be high in fat
  • Watch for signs of allergic reaction, especially if enjoying shrimp for the first time

Following basic preparation and portion guidelines can allow you to incorporate shrimp into your weekly meal routine safely.

Healthiest Ways to Eat Shrimp

Here are some of the top healthy shrimp recipes and preparation methods:

Grilled Shrimp Skewers

Make skewers with shrimp and colorful veggies like bell peppers and zucchini. Grill for 2-3 minutes per side and sprinkle with fresh lemon juice.

Shrimp Stir Fry

Stir fry shrimp with broccoli, carrots, snap peas and brown rice. Toss in reduced sodium soy sauce and toasted sesame oil.

Shrimp Tacos

Saute shrimp in chili powder, cumin and lime. Serve in corn tortillas or lettuce wraps topped with pico de gallo, avocado and cilantro.

Shrimp Salad

Make a shrimp salad with mixed greens, cherry tomatoes, sliced avocado and lemon vinaigrette. Top with grilled shrimp.

Shrimp Soup

Simmer shrimp in broth with onions, tomatoes and cajun seasoning. Ladle into bowls and garnish with parsley.

Choosing lower-fat cooking methods and incorporating veggies can maximize the healthy potential of shrimp.

Risks of Eating Shrimp Too Frequently

Here is a summary of the potential risks that can come from eating shrimp more than 2-3 times per week:

  • Higher LDL cholesterol – Shrimp is high in dietary cholesterol. Too much can negatively impact heart health.
  • Elevated TMAO – Compound linked to atherosclerosis. Shrimp may raise TMAO levels which increases heart disease risk.
  • Mercury exposure – Shrimp can contain trace amounts of mercury. Too much mercury from seafood can harm brain development.
  • Allergic reaction – Some people are allergic to shellfish. Frequent shrimp exposure raises chances of a reaction.

While shrimp can be part of a healthy diet, it’s important to eat it in moderation and vary your protein sources. Overdoing shrimp intake may negate its potential benefits.

Who Should Avoid Eating Too Much Shrimp?

Here are some groups of people who may want to avoid eating shrimp more than 1-2 times per week:

  • Individuals with high cholesterol – Shrimp is high in dietary cholesterol, which should be limited for those with high blood cholesterol levels.
  • People taking statins – Cholesterol medications and shrimp cholesterol may have an interactive effect for some individuals.
  • Pregnant women – Some guidelines advise pregnant women to limit shrimp to reduce exposure to trace mercury.
  • Young children – Shrimp mercury levels may impact brain development in infants and young kids.
  • Those with shellfish allergy – People allergic to shellfish could experience reactions from overconsuming shrimp.

People at risk for certain conditions or on cholesterol lowering medications may need to be extra cautious with how often they eat shrimp.

Guidelines for Pregnant Women

Here are the recommendations for shrimp consumption during pregnancy:

  • Pregnant women can safely eat 2-3 servings (8-12 oz) of low mercury seafood per week, including shrimp.
  • Avoid eating predatory fish high in mercury like shark, swordfish, tilefish and king mackerel.
  • Check local advisories about contaminated waterways and limit shrimp from those areas.
  • Cook shrimp thoroughly to reduce risk of parasites and bacterial illness.
  • Focus on low mercury shrimp, crab, salmon, pollock, catfish and cod.
  • If consuming more than 2-3 servings of shrimp per week, choose smaller shrimp which tend to be lower in mercury.

Pregnant women should emphasize low mercury seafood choices like shrimp in moderation as part of a healthy prenatal diet.

Mercury in Shrimp: Should You Be Concerned?

Here’s what you should know about mercury levels in shrimp:

  • Shrimp contain only low to moderate amounts of mercury compared to many fish.
  • Amounts can vary based on the size of shrimp – smaller shrimp tend to have lower mercury levels.
  • Farm-raised shrimp may have lower mercury levels than wild caught.
  • Eating 1-2 servings of shrimp per week is not a health concern for most adults.
  • Mercury exposure risks are higher for pregnant women, infants and children.
  • Choose smaller shrimp and limit intake to 2-3 times monthly during pregnancy and for young kids.

For most people eating shrimp in moderation, mercury exposure from shrimp is not a significant health risk. But some populations should take extra precautions.

Shrimp Allergy Symptoms and Precautions

People with shrimp allergy should take precautions to avoid reactions by:

  • Avoiding eating shrimp and products containing shrimp as an ingredient.
  • Reading product labels carefully to look for warnings about shellfish content.
  • Carrying emergency epinephrine if they have a history of severe reactions.
  • Informing wait staff and friends about their shellfish allergy when eating out.
  • Recognizing shrimp allergy symptoms like hives, swelling, breathing difficulty and anaphylaxis.
  • Going to the emergency room immediately if they experience severe symptoms.

Those with a known shrimp allergy should be vigilant about avoiding exposure from any food or cross-contamination.

Shrimp Recipes

Here are 5 delicious, heart-healthy shrimp recipes to try:

1. Shrimp Scampi Zoodles


  • 1 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 2 medium zucchini, spiralized into noodles
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 cup parsley, chopped
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat.
  2. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute until fragrant.
  3. Add shrimp and cook for 3-4 minutes until pink.
  4. Toss in zucchini noodles and cook for 2-3 minutes until tender.
  5. Remove from heat and stir in parsley, lemon juice and seasoning.

2. Cajun Shrimp and Sausage

A flavorful one-pan meal that’s keto friendly.

3. Shrimp Spring Rolls with Peanut Dipping Sauce

Fresh and crunchy rolls with shrimp, rice noodles, carrots, cabbage, mint and cilantro.

4. Coconut Curry Shrimp Soup

Warm up with this creamy, comforting soup made with shrimp, tomatoes and coconut milk.

5. Grilled Shrimp and Pineapple Skewers

Sweet, smoky flavor from the shrimp and pineapple grilled over open flame.


Shrimp can be part of a healthy diet when consumed in moderation. The recommended serving is 3-4 oz, 1-2 times per week. This provides nutritional benefits while limiting cholesterol, mercury and allergy risks. Watch portion sizes, choose sustainable shrimp sources, and pair with veggies for the healthiest results.

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