Can you eat freshwater shrimp? (+5 health benefits)

In this article, we will answer the question “Can you eat freshwater shrimp?”. We will also discuss the benefits and risks of eating freshwater shrimp, how you can safely consume it, and how you can properly store it.

Can you eat freshwater shrimp?

Yes, you can eat freshwater shrimp. As long as they come from reliable sources and are prepared correctly, freshwater shrimp can be eaten without risk as a component of a balanced diet. Due to their high protein content, low calorie and fat content, omega-3 fatty acid content, vitamin and mineral content, and antioxidants such astaxanthin, freshwater shrimp have several health advantages (1,2,9).

What are the benefits of eating freshwater shrimp?

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Health benefits associated with omega-3 fatty acids, found in freshwater shrimp, include reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease, lowering blood pressure and triglyceride levels, improving cognitive function, and reducing inflammation in the body. Omega-3 fatty acids are polyunsaturated fats that play crucial roles in maintaining cell membrane structure and function (1-3).

May promote cognitive function

Omega-3 fatty acids in freshwater shrimp, particularly EPA and DHA, have been linked to advantages for cognition. These fatty acids are crucial for the growth and upkeep of the brain, supporting memory, focus, and general cognitive function. So, consuming freshwater shrimp regularly can help promote good brain function and perhaps lower your chances of developing age-related cognitive decline (1,4).

Rich in vitamins

Several significant vitamins and minerals are present in freshwater shrimp. The importance of vitamin B12 for both the development of red blood cells and neurological function makes it particularly significant. Iodine is essential for healthy thyroid function, and selenium and zinc boost the immune system and cell development by serving as cofactors in many enzyme activities (2,5,6,7,9).

Rich in protein

Shrimp from freshwater are renowned for having a high protein content. Amino acids, which make up protein, are necessary for several physiological functions, such as muscle development, tissue repair, enzyme creation, hormone synthesis, and immune system support. The amino acids included in freshwater shrimp, like methionine and cysteine, threonine and valin, are also essential for the production of antibodies, which aid in the defense against infections and sickness (2,8,9).

Antioxidant effect

Due to the presence of substances such astaxanthin, freshwater shrimp are thought to have antioxidant effects. Free radicals, which are responsible for oxidative stress and other types of damage in the body, can be neutralized by antioxidants. Particularly, astaxanthin has been linked to anti-inflammatory properties, defense against age-related macular degeneration, and skin health support (10,11).

What are the risks of consuming freshwater shrimp?

Freshwater shrimp and other shellfish may cause allergic reactions in some people. From minor symptoms like itching or hives to more serious ones like trouble breathing or anaphylaxis, allergic responses can manifest in a variety of ways. Freshwater shrimp and any other shellfish should be avoided if you have a known shellfish allergy (12,13).

Freshwater shrimp, like the majority of seafood, may be contaminated by pollution, heavy metals (such as mercury), or chemicals. Water contamination may cause these chemicals to build up in their bodies. It is advised to pick shrimp from reputable suppliers, making sure they are supplied from clean and controlled surroundings, to reduce any potential dangers (14).

Freshwater shrimp, like all seafood, can harbor bacteria, such as Vibrio species or Salmonella, or parasites. These microorganisms can cause foodborne illnesses associated with consuming freshwater shrimp. Ensure that the shrimp is fresh, properly cleaned, and cooked thoroughly to destroy any potential pathogens (15,16).

Freshwater shrimp naturally contain salt, therefore anyone who needs to watch their sodium intake, including those who have high blood pressure or renal problems, should be careful while eating shrimp. Select cooking techniques that don’t use a lot of extra sodium, such as boiling or grilling without salt (17).

How can you safely consume freshwater shrimp?

To safely eat freshwater shrimp, make sure the shrimp is obtained from reliable vendors. Before cooking, wash them and, to eliminate any possible microbes, fully cook shrimp until it reaches an internal temperature of 145 °F (63 °C). You can verify the meal’s temperature with a food thermometer (18). 

While cooking shrimp, maintain proper cleanliness by cleaning your hands and utensils, and stay away from other raw seafood or meals to prevent cross-contamination (19).

How can properly you store freshwater shrimp?

Refrigerating freshwater shrimp

You can store freshwater shrimp in the fridge to slow down enzymatic and microbial reactions. First wrap the shrimp snugly in moisture-proof and airtight packaging, such as plastic wrap or a sealed container, to minimize moisture loss and cross-contamination (20).

Then, put the shrimp in the refrigerator’s coldest section, ideally between 32 °F and 39 °F (0 °C and 4 °C). This temperature range prevents the formation of microorganisms and preserves freshness. As shrimp encounter temperature changes, avoid keeping them in the refrigerator door (21).

To guarantee food safety and quality, it’s essential to eat the shrimp within 1–2 days of preparation. Always keep an eye out for any symptoms of deterioration or spoilage, such as a strong fishy smell or sliminess, and throw away any shrimp that seems hazardous. Remember, you should never leave seafood out over 2 hours, as bacteria can grow faster and cause you foodborne illness (21).

Freezing freshwater shrimp

To freeze freshwater shrimp, begin by rinsing the shrimp in cold water and patting any remaining moisture from them. Then, in order to avoid freezer burn, put the shrimp in an airtight, freezer-safe container or a firmly closed plastic bag (22).

To maintain track of freshness, date the packaging. The shrimp should be kept at or below 0 °F (-18 °C) at all times. The growth of bacteria is considerably delayed at this temperature, protecting the shrimp’s quality and safety. Shrimp that has been properly frozen may usually be kept for three to six months (22).

Thaw frozen shrimp overnight in the refrigerator or under cold running water, and then utilize the shrimp right away. Do not refreeze until necessary (22,23).


In this article, we answered the question “Can you eat freshwater shrimp?”. We also discussed the benefits and risks of eating freshwater shrimp, how you can safely consume it, and how you can properly store it.



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