Feasting on crabs has its benefits and its dangers that sometimes depend on a person’s current health.
As scrumptious as crabs are, not everyone can get away with eating them, and some people may not even be aware that crabs are what are causing some of their symptoms to show up.
You can definitely place me in the group of crab lovers, but I have often heard that eating crabs is not good for you, so a little research seemed in order. Here’s what I found about the benefits of eating crabs:
Lean Protein – Eating crabs gives you a good, healthy dose of protein and it’s versatile enough to add to many different types of meals – in soups, on salads, as a stuffing, with pastas, or as a main course.
Vitamin & Nutrient Rich – You’d be surprised to know that crabs are a good source of vitamins, nutrients and minerals, including vitamin A, vitamin B12, vitamin C, selenium, chromium, zinc, copper and omega-3 fatty acids. Chromium is useful for diabetics, as it helps to regulate blood sugar levels. The antioxidant selenium is a proven cancer fighter. Vitamin A protects the eyes.
Vitamin C strengthens bones, teeth and immunity, fights infection, and revitalizes skin, to name a few things. Omega-3 fatty acids boost memory and brain function, improve mood, and lower cancer, stroke and heart disease risk. Vitamin B12, like omega-3, protects and improves the function of the brain and nervous system and helps with the production and flow of oxygenated blood to cells in the body.
Unsaturated Fat – Crabs do contain cholesterol but primarily good fats, which softens the blow a little. Good fats protect the heart and help keep the metabolism functioning properly.
Low Mercury – Unlike many types of seafood, crabs do not contain a lot of mercury, so they are generally safe enough to eat 3 or 4 times per month without the risk of mercury poisoning. The exception is blue crabs from the Eastern seaboard in the United States, which have been found to have greater amounts of mercury than usual, so should be eaten in small amounts only up to 2 times per month.
High in Sodium – Crabs are naturally high in sodium and when cooked are usually salted and seasoned further, which means that those who suffer from heart conditions, diabetes or other conditions where salt exacerbates symptoms could be adversely affected.
Sodium raises blood pressure, causes swelling and water retention, and affects blood sugar levels, among other things. These conditions are too serious to take a chance on, so if you must have seafood, it’s better to eat something like fish, which doesn’t have much sodium but still tastes just as good.
Triggers Gout and Arthritis – Crabs contain lots of purines, which have been found to trigger the production of uric acid in the body, the very thing that causes gout. Gout is a very painful, debilitating form of arthritis that can be thwarted by proper dietary habits. Unfortunately, crabs are an “x” on the list of acceptable foods for gout patients.
Food Poisoning – Crab that isn’t eaten when fresh can cause food poisoning. To prevent this, cook crab meat thoroughly and keep crabs chilled until ready to serve.
Crab Allergies – Those who are allergic to crabs are often allergic to other shellfish and seafood, and vice versa, with mild or potentially deadly reactions. So be cautious and avoid the whole group or be tested in a medical setting to see if there is certain seafood you can have, while others you cannot.