Shrimp and Cholesterol: the Updated Story - Plus a Recipe for Zesty Shrimp Saute

April 5, 2019

Zesty Shrimp Recipe from Providence Health

By Kay MacInnis, Registered Dietitian at Providence Health

What is the story on shrimp? We have been told for many years that it is not something we should include in our diet, however, the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans changed all that, even for heart healthy diets. 

Shrimp are now included as party of a healthy eating pattern.  Three ounces of cooked shrimp contain about 179 milligrams of dietary cholesterol and are low in saturated fat. Those same three ounces of shrimp contain about 100 calories and 20 grams of protein, sounds like a great option!! 

Also a good source of copper, niacin, vitamin B 12 and an excellent source of iodine. Looks like shrimp and the cholesterol that are present may be good for a heart healthy lifestyle, but more research is being done to confirm, so stay tuned. 

If we are going to include more shrimp in our diet, though, our Southern cooking methods need a little work.  Try grilling, stir-frying, boiling or broiling for a healthier food prep option. Serve with cocktail sauce, instead of tartar sauce or butter which are both high in fat and calories.  Probably the most popular Southern way to have shrimp is shrimp and grits.  This is a great way to prepare the shrimp and top the grits.  I add a little Texas Pete if I am serving with grits.

Try this recipe for a quick healthy dinner!  Works great as appetizer or main course.

Zesty Shrimp Sauté Recipe


1 tsp granulated garlic
½ tsp red pepper flakes
¼ tsp ground black pepper
¼ tsp kosher salt
1 tsp unsalted butter or olive oil
1 lb. shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
½ tsp lemon zest


Preheat a nonstick sauté pan over medium heat for 1 minutes.  Add garlic, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper.  Toast for 30 seconds.  Increase  heat to medium high, add butter or olive oil.  Add shrimp and cook 1 minute on each side until flesh is opaque.  Turn off  heat.  Add lemon juice and zest.  Swirl the pan until shrimp are evenly coated with sauce.  Serve immediately or refrigerate for at least 2 hours and serve chilled.

Nutrition information: 108 calories, 1 gm fat, 185 mg cholesterol, 236 mg sodium, 1 gm carbohydrate, 23 gr protein

Recipe Source: Tessa Nguyen, RD, LDN

This is another in a weekly series of healthy recipes from Kay MacInnis, registered dietitian at Providence Health in Columbia, S.C.

Kay promotes health and wellness, helping cardiac and diabetes patients eat their way to healthier lives. She works in consultation with the trained chefs at Providence, combining her nutrition knowledge with their food prep know-how to create delicious, healthy dishes for patients and the public. She also conducts a number of health and wellness events for the public, including the monthly Providence Cooks! classes.