Shrimps: Characteristics, properties, benefits, nutrients and more

You have probably seen a Shrimps in a visit to a river, or perhaps in a cocktail of this crustacean; but it is quite possible that you do not know the characteristics and properties of this amazing creature.

These tiny crustaceans better  known as shrimps, receive the scientific name of Caridea, and we can find them  not only in fresh water, but also in the salty waters of the world.  There are many species of shrimps, we can find up to  two hundred forty in the  American coastal waters of Pacific ocean

Characteristics of Shrimps

Shrimps  are characterized for being benthic  animals, which means, that they live in deep waters. They can measure between two and twenty-five centimeters long, they have small feet and a sort of antennas that are the same size of their shell. Their second appendage (pereiopods) is long and articulated  as well as their tails.

Shrimps  have a very weak armor.  The front half of the shell, consists of medium sized spines, while the segment corresponding to the abdominal part has a backbone, but lacks dorsal crest.

These crustaceans have a cylindrical  body, which is divided in two sections: the cephalothorax, which results from the articulation between the head and the thorax, and the abdomen; that tends to be very narrow, since it measures less than half the width of the shrimp. Their body is   composed of a shell in the front section, and six abdominal segments.

All shrimps have ten legs, so they  are decapods. They also have three pairs of thoracic appendages which work  as mouthparts ,and are called maxillipeds , and the other pairs correspond to the pereiopods .The first pair of legs of the shrimps are the tongs (  as in the case of crabs), and they are also named quelipeds.

We have the particular case of the Pistol shrimp, which has one of his tongs much more developed than the other, which is the reason of his name.

In addition, shrimps have  other appendages (pleópods ) on the abdomen, in shape of blades, which propel  them through the water. Some species use  them( the appendages) to incubate the eggs, while others instead of having these pleopods,  employ  gills for the breathing process.

These appendages( pleopods) are highly variable, and the males of some species frequently use them for insemination. On the other hand, the last  appendages located on the abdomen and the telson, constitute the tail of the shrimps.  These are called uropods .

Shrimps employ  these appendages as a rudder,  to propel themselves  forward and backwards

Both appendages  feature a fan shape, when the tail is extended.  If shrimp panics for any reason, he flexes the fan in a quick movement , which  allows him  to escape.

This is what is called  “caridoid escape reaction” which propels him backwards  allowing him  to escape.

Other Characteristics

Shrimps usually have well developed eyes, however, there are some species  that live in caves, and they are often blind. They also have antennas of different  sizes and forms, which vary according to the species. For example, the species that live in caves, have a greater number of these appendices ( antennas ), which help them to orientate  and find food.

The antennas of these creatures are usually  soft, and their color tend to be deep red, although this color may vary to light red or white .They are often the same size of the shell, and sometimes can be even longer.

Shrimps’ color varies depending on the species, and according to the age, since  there are   some juvenile specimens in red,  brown,  and even green colors. There some species in white , or even without color., specially the cave-dwelling species.

Shrimps that live in reefs tend to be  more brilliants,  ( eye-catching colors, ) . We also have the Crystal Shrimp, which is almost undetectable, because he is completely transparent. We also have blue, red, orange, and yellow; specimens and others may even have color stripes on their legs..

Watch this video, so you could notice the giant antennas some shrimps may have

Let’s Learn about the Properties of Shrimps

Shrimp is a food of animal origin, which is delicious for humans. It is part of the basic diet of many people, and belongs to the group of shellfish and crustaceans.

Shrimps  have  many beneficial  properties  for human beings, since they  have a high content of vitamins ….. Let’s See


The consumption of Shrimps , stimulates the performance  of muscles ,nervous tissues and  circulatory system of the human being,  due to the content of Iodine. The iodine contained in shrimps,  activates the metabolism of other nutrients to get the most out of these.

The consumption of Shrimp is extremely useful for people with hormonal problems, since iodine, helps in the development of the thyroid gland, which regulates the  functions of  the body,

Vitamin B12

The consumption of shrimps,  also helps to produce  red blood cells, due to the content of vitamin B12. Since this is the only vitamin in  this group containing cobalt which is essential for the body to function properly, and to improve the health of people who are sick. Shrimp intake is also useful for pregnant women, since vitamin B12 provides folic acid, which   is fundamental for the development of the fetus .

According to experts, the  shrimp is a potent stimulant  of sperm production, so it is widely recommended for  gentlemen who present inadequacy of sperm and can’t  get her partner pregnant.,

The cobalamin contained in vitamin B12, is useful for those who have any kind of nervous imbalance, since it promotes the proper functioning of the heart, brain, and nervous system.  Therefore it is recommended to eat a shrimp cocktail, to combat depression, or any emotional disturbance.

The meat of  shrimps, is an coadjutant in nucleic acid production, it also benefits the creation of genetic material, produces energy, and helps keep cells in good condition; because it is a regenerator of muscle mass and as well as it produces energy, it also maintains it. In addition the consumption of shrimps promotes the development of the immune system, thus the defenses increase, therefore a shrimp intake prevents viral infections.

A diet based in the consumption of shrimps, is highly recommended for people who suffer of  pernicious anemia and thus weakness and fatigue, due to the vitamin B12, which helps to improve the different systems  of the body.


This is another benefit of the intake of shrimps meat, it’s useful to help reduce blood cholesterol levels, preventing  the risk of cardiovascular disease. This type of natural grease is required to create membrane plasma that normalizes the input and output of substances that enter our body through the cells.

 Vitamin E

As well as vitamin B12 , vitamin E is also contained in the meat  of shrimps, and it prevents atherosclerosis, preventing arteries from becoming clogged  with bad cholesterol. Vitamin E also , increases the defensive response of the cells against  toxic substances, which may result from the human body metabolism, or through oral or respiratory tract.

This vitamin is effective to prevent the formation of blood clots, so it also protects the cardiovascular system; its antioxidant properties also protect both the immune system and the nervous system. This is another benefit of including shrimps in our diet, especially for adults since vitamin E increases the levels of Interleukin-1.. Vitamins E, A  and C  face aging caused by the degeneration of the tissues. Vitamin E, helps  to prevent complications women may arise in state of pregnancy, as for example, pre-eclampsia, also decreasing  premenstrual syndrome in teenagers   as well as the painful periods.

Other properties of Vitamin E:

    • Prevents the prostate cancer
    • It has multiple benefits for skin care.
    • It has antioxidant properties preventing free radical damage and naturally slowing aging


The selenium contained in shrimps, could be considered as another benefit of feeding on these creatures.  Selenium also stimulates the immune system, so some chronic diseases can be prevented. Like vitamin E, also present in shrimps, selenium slows the process of Cellular Aging, and has preventive actions against cancer.

Selenium is widely recommended for diabetic people it helps to improve the cells and tissues that have been damaged by oxidative stress. It is also recommended for viral infections like flu, and other bacterial infections

Srimp spicy sauce

Bacterial and viral infections are associated with the absence of macro and micro nutrients such as selenium; this is the reason why this food provides benefits for people who suffer viral diseases, and HIV, since some specialists suggest that selenium contained in shrimps can influence the function of the cells of the innate and adaptive immunity of the patient. Due to the content of selenium in shrimps, they are very useful for people who suffer from chronic asthma, because it has been shown that these people have very low levels of this mineral. And there is a relationship between the develop of this disease at an early age and the lack of selenium in the diet of pregnant women.

Selenium increases  the mobility of the sperm, and reduces the risk of miscarriage in pregnant women,  which is another reason to include  this nutrient in our diet, especially those couples trying to have children


This is one of the most important properties of shrimps, since  cells ,organs  , tissues , hormones, brain, nerves, glands and enzymes, are all constituted of proteins. Therefore their intake helps structural immune function, since it accelerates chemical reactions, and they are useful to maintain  PH balance

The consumption of shrimps is ideal for losing weight in a very short time, since they are very low in carbohydrates,  but very rich in proteins This is an ideal combination, since if there is a limitation of carbohydrates, the body will be  making fat-burning and providing  power, insofar as the proteins strengthen the muscles.

Due to the presence of proteins in shrimps, their  consumption allows to renew the tissues of the human body, such as skin or hair .They ( proteins) also regulate body heat, since it produces energy for itself  and they also protect from diseases, since proteins create antibodies and eliminate waste from the body.

Proteins have many leading features in all vital processes, and since they  are complex molecules, the body takes time to process them, so this process provides a feeling of fullness for a longer time, so they are a source of energy. In this video you can understand the proteins develop their function.


What else could we say about water, which is the vital liquid for human beings. This is also one of the wonderful properties of shrimps, thus its consumption favors the hydration of our body.

The Hydration provided by the consumption of shrimps,  is a paramount for the proper performance of the brain,  since when it is properly hydrated, brain cells receive oxygenated blood, which makes the brain stays on constant alert. Water is also essential for the proper functioning of the kidneys, so that through the urine, unnecessary nutrients and waste are disposed.

There are very few people who feel any kind  of bad symptom due to the consumption of shrimps, this is because this food improves digestive tract, since water contributes with  the dissolution of nutrients  which are absorbed by the blood and transported to cells.

Similarly, water is a vital and powerful moisturizing for the human body, it helps not only to maintain the elasticity and tonicity of the skin, but that it’s  also an excellent lubricant for muscles and joints, making them work properly.

In addition to the listed nutrients  and vitamins, shrimps also have the presence of others elements in a lesser extent as zinc, sodium, calcium, phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, iron, are, vitamin B, B2, B3, B6, B9, as well as fatty acids, carbohydrates, and saturated fatty acids, monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated.

Shrimps Cocktail


All these properties make of shrimps an exceptional food, that although it is a little expensive, it is worth making the effort to include it in our basic diet, because besides being delicious, it is a great benefit for humans

What are the benefits of Shrimps

As well as other food, shrimps also have detractors who attribute them a series of bad properties that have slightly damaged their reputation, due to the so-called «high “cholesterol content.  But believe it or not, this food was prohibited during the 90’s , because it was not demonstrated their harmless for humans.

After many studies, shrimps returned to people’s diet,  since it was  demonstrated that it is a healthy alternative, mainly for the heart; and for other diseases that usually attack body.

With regard to those who believe that shrimp  has very high levels of cholesterol, are truly mistaken, since two hundred grams of shrimp boiled in water, only contain half of cholesterol containing an egg.

In addition of being low in fat and calories, and being  very rich in protein, shrimps  also have  a high content of Omega 3 Acid, which is famous for preventing coronary heart disease. Many specialists suggest that eating two servings of shrimp a week, it’s much more effective than taking a fish oil supplement a day.

In addition, we just can’t compare the delicious taste of well-prepared shrimps, with the horrible taste of fish oil.

Many nutritionists believe that a diet containing shrimp brings more benefits than one that contains eggs.

Due to all the properties   we have learned about the shrimp, it is actually beneficial to consume this food, since for example if you want to have a family, it encourages the creation of sperm, and the mobility of these to make them more effective. It also reduces the risk of developing pre-eclampsia during pregnancy .

In addition, the  consumption of shrimps in the daily diet, prevents us from catching some viral diseases, and helps cope with the symptoms of others as it is the case of diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

Another benefit provided  by shrimps, is that due to contain of vitamin E, they provide elasticity and tonicity required  for the skin. It also helps regenerate some dead cells. For example, in the case of burns caused by sunstroke,  vitamin E   is useful   for hydration and for damaged skin.

So if you want to take advantage of these properties, it is time to learn how to cook shrimps.

All these properties can vary depending on the different types of shrimps.

 To eat or not to eat the shell, here is the Dilemma

The husk or shell of shrimps has caused much controversy, since some researchers argue that it is not entirely clear if it has the same  benefits that have been attributed to the shrimp.

According to experts in this matter, the shell of the shrimp is made up of a substance called Chitosan, which has been used for a long time to purify the water. Today, this component has been studied for its ability to reduce LDL levels, and increase the HDL, which helps lose weight.

Some researchers assert that this component of the shell, binds to fat molecules during the process of digestion, making them unable to be absorbed by the body, and since they are not disposed ,they are stored in the form of fat.

Given that these shells are not absorbed, the body eliminates them from the digestive tract. So the decision about eating the shell  depend on the preferences of every person. For example, a seafood soup known by the name of Fosforera  in some Latin American countries,  is made of liquefied shrimp shell.

But there are those who prefer to eat shrimp without the shell, because it is unpleasant to chew, it also depends on the preferences of every person.

In this video you can learn how to remove the shell in a very simple way.

Ten reasons why you shouldn’t eat shrimps

This food just like any other has supporters and detractors. And since we have freedom of speech in this country , we can list the reasons why some people avoid eating shrimp.

1.Some people believe that during the process of cleaning shrimps, after being beheaded and being removed  their legs, their excrement spreads everywhere contaminating  all their  body,  making it undesirable for consumption.

2.- Since shrimps  live in the bottom of the sea, feeding on dead animals they might  contain different  types of parasites that humans would be also consuming.

3.-  Shrimps for human consumption come from places that don’t  have any restriction against the use of illegal pollutants so they might be impregnated  with toxins that can be deadly for humans .

4.- These animals are caught using nets where not only them are trapped, but also all kinds of fish, including dolphin, so it’s not worth that both animals die for a mere shrimp cocktail.

5.- Since two kilograms of fish are needed in order to feed 0,5 kilograms of shrimps,  some people think that both species would be also dying,  for a mere shrimp cocktail

6.- Usually the countries that breed shrimps for trading purposes are developing countries, where workers are exploited with long working hours, and low salaries , so when you eat shrimps, you also contribute with this situation

7.- . There is a large number of shrimp species, and scientists are still discovering  their characteristics, so it is not at all safe to eat these animals without knowing all their properties.

8.- Shrimps have a high content of cholesterol, so it is not recommended for health.

9.- Some religions consider that  eating shrimps represents a karma, for two reasons, first they would be  removing an animal life, and second they would  be consuming unclean meat..

10.-  It is better to consume a shrimp meat substitute, because none animal would be hurt, and  shrimps are usually too expensives.

These are  some of the reasons why many people prefer not to eat shrimps, and leave them in  the sea or rivers.

We leave this information for your own criteria.

If you are one of those people  who just don’t agree  with the consumption of shrimps, we respect that; and if you are one of those who simply love this food, Bon Appetit!

We show this recipe of rock shrimps sea in this video.

Another specimen that will possibly impress us by its size,  is the Giant shrimp perhaps few people have heard about him, but he undoubtedly exists, but we’ll talk about him in further articles

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