Shrimp is the most demanded crustacean in the world market because it is used as an ingredient in several dishes, thanks to its peculiar flavor, low caloric value, and wide distribution. The main ways of consuming shrimp are raw, cooked, and fried, and it has been reported that these procedures modify their nutritional properties.
In the case of cooked shrimp, this is obtained through a process where the shrimp is boiled, which causes the release of the different components of the crustacean, such as pigments, minerals, proteins, aromatic compounds, and lipids, as a result of the high cooking temperature.
It has been reported that the liquid from shrimp cooking, colloquially called "broth or juice", contains a high concentration of proteins (about 2.6 g/100 mL), lipids (mainly unsaturated fatty acids such as omega-3, with values of less than 1 g/100 mL), pigments such as astaxanthin and minerals (about 1 g/100 mL) such as sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium, iron, and zinc, among others.
These values can be compared with what 100 g of shrimp provide: about 18 g of protein, 1.2 g of lipids, and 0.5 g of minerals. These compounds have been widely studied and have potential applications in different sectors, such as food production, aquaculture, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, and nutraceuticals, the latter due to their potential beneficial effects on health.
The proteins obtained by cooking shrimp are in the form of peptides; in addition, these crustaceans are rich in essential amino acids, which are used in the formulation of feed for farm animals and also as feed for shellfish and fish. Also, peptides from shrimp by-products can reduce hypertension due to their high antioxidant capacity.
A source of nutritional goodness
Shrimp are an important source of unsaturated fatty acids, which have been shown to lower cholesterol levels and improve the health of people with chronic degenerative diseases such as diabetes, fatty liver disease, hypertension, cancer, and cardiovascular disease. These fatty acids have been used in the enrichment of different foods, in addition to being marketed as food supplements.
The so-called "fruits of the sea" also contain minerals such as calcium, sodium, potassium, iron, and zinc, whereas in the form of salts some are used in the food industry as preservatives.
Shrimp broth is rich in pigments such as astaxanthin, which is mainly responsible for its typical orange-reddish coloration. This pigment has been widely used as a food additive for pigmentation in the aquaculture system, in addition to the fact that this compound has been related to several biological activities, due to its antioxidant capacity.
Among its potential beneficial health effects are its ability to inhibit inflammation, prevention of different types of cancer, reduction of diabetes, and prevention of aging and damage caused by ultraviolet rays on the skin and eyes. Astaxanthin has a great impact on the industry, as it is marketed as a food supplement and is found in the formulation of creams.
If after reading all of the above, you still have doubts as to whether the consumption of shrimp broth is beneficial to your health, it is possible to state with certainty that this broth has potential health benefits due to its composition, although more studies are still needed to demonstrate its different potentialities. Even so, let's enjoy its incomparable flavor.
Author: Luis A. Cabanillas-Bojórquez, PhD student in science; Érick P. Gutiérrez-Grijalva, researcher for Mexico (Conacyt), and J. Basilio Heredia, tenured research professor, all from CIAD Culiacán.