Is Shrimp A Fish?

Many people are uncertain whether shrimp fall in the category of fish, seafood, or shellfish. It is vital to know the category shrimp falls under so that a person can avoid it in case of a food allergy. Some individuals refer to all sea animals as fish because of a lack of information in this area.

Shrimp is not a fish but a crustacean that lives in water and has slender legs. Fish refers to cold-blooded vertebrates that live in water, move using fins, and breathe through gills.

Differences Between Shrimp And Fish

Shrimps and fish are similar because they are both sea creatures. Their differences arise from their eating styles and physical appearance. The table below is a summary of their specific differences.

They have an exoskeletonThey have an internal skeleton
They possess ten sets of limbs. The first three sets of legs nearest to the mouth are used for feeding.No limbs, but they have fins
Upper body muscles are thick and hard acting as a caseUpper body muscles are very flexible

Relationship Between Shrimp, Fish, And Seafood 

Relationship Between Shrimp Fish And Seafood 

This section will answer the question of ‘Is shrimp a fish?’

Seafood is a collective term that refers to sea animals such as crab, crayfish, lobster, oysters, clams, squid, octopus, shrimps, sea urchins, and fish. Both fish and shrimp are seafood. Seafood is a type of dish that is offered across the world. The most common shrimp dishes are Sushi and Spanish paella which is Italian pasta. 

Shrimp are native to the coastal floor. They do not travel far into the sea and have various species. They can be found in freshwater, in rivers, and in lakes.

Shellfish are also seafood. It is referred to the seafood that has an external skeleton such as crab, lobster, oysters, mollusks, shrimp, and scallops. 

Shrimp belongs to the family called crustaceans. They are in the same family as crabs, prawns, crayfish, or lobsters. They all share some characteristics such as an external skeleton, having no skeletal frame on the inside, turning a reddish, coral color when exposed to heat, and their standard color is grey and a little translucent.

From the above details, it is evident shrimp is not a fish. It is seafood, shellfish, and crustacean.

Is Shrimp Fish Or Meat?

Is Shrimp Fish Or Meat

Shrimp is neither fish nor meat but is seafood. Most people who ask if shrimp is meat are mostly looking into embracing a vegetarian diet and want to know if they can eat shrimp. Vegetarians don’t eat fish or shrimp, but pescatarians do. If you’re going to change to a vegetarian-based diet without omitting shrimp, pescatarian is the way to go. You will avoid meats but still enjoy the benefits of fish and seafood.

Other than being vegetarian, your religion can also impact how you view shrimp. Some religions allow the eating of finfish, but not shrimp: for example, in Islam, the Maliki, Shafi’s, Jafari, and Hanbali schools allow the eating of shrimp, but the Hanafi school forbids it. Kashrut, which is Jewish law, prohibits the eating of shrimp. The bible in the old testament also warns about eating shrimp, but finfish are acceptable.

With all this information, you can decide whether or not to introduce shrimp to your diet. There are a million ways to prepare shrimp and make a sumptuous meal. You can choose to boil, bake, fry, barbeque, or grill your shrimp. Shrimp takes about the same time to cook as eggs do, and when overcooked, they have a rubbery and tough texture.

 To prepare shrimp, you first need to remove the sand vein, head, shell, and tail except for the drunken shrimp, which is eaten alive. After removing these parts, shrimp is rinsed under cold running water and used as an ingredient in various recipes. In Asian cuisines, wet shrimp is used as a soup base or as flavoring, while fried shrimp is famous in most recipes and can be eaten with rice or salad. There are many recipes for preparing shrimp, and you can’t luck one that works for you.

Allergies Associated With Shrimp

An allergy is an adverse reaction that someone experiences when eating a particular food or smell the cooking vapor. Anyone with an allergy to shellfish will have an allergy to shrimp and other sea animals with an external skeleton similar to a shrimp. Allergies vary from one person to another. Some people are allergic to shrimp, but they are not allergic to scallops. The individual needs to consult the doctor regarding allergies to know the specific seafood to avoid. 

The most common protein in shrimp that causes allergy is tropomyosin, arginine kinase, or hemocyanin.

One can detect an allergy if one experience a tingling feeling in the mouth, digestive issues, nasal congestion, or skin reactions after eating it. A person can also experience anaphylactic reactions. If not treated on time, sudden reactions can cause seizures, unconsciousness, and death.

Shrimp Species

There are various shrimp species, and some are eaten as seafood, and others are not edible because they are small. The most available shrimp species are tiger prawns found in Southeast Asia, northern prawns found in the North Sea, and White leg shrimp.

The best producers of shrimp in the world are China, Thailand, Indonesia, India, Vietnam, Brazil, Ecuador, and Bangladesh. The biggest importers of shrimp are America and Europe. 

Nutritional Value Of Shrimp

This section will show if shrimp is healthy or unhealthy to the human body.

Shrimp provide iodine, omega fatty acids, and astaxanthin antioxidants to our bodies. Iodine assists in proper thyroid function and brain health. Astaxanthin protects against inflammation by preventing free radicals from damaging the cells, reducing the risk of several chronic diseases, and making the arteries strong. Also, astaxanthin improves brain health. Its anti-inflammatory properties may prevent brain cell damage that often leads to memory loss and neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s.

Some sources claim it has high-fat content. There is a fear of consuming fatty foods because it increases the chances of getting heart disease. However, professionals say that not all people are affected by this fat. Only a quarter of the population is sensitive to dietary cholesterol. For the rest, dietary cholesterol may only have a small impact on blood cholesterol levels. The fat in shrimp is good cholesterol. People who consume shrimps have a lower chance of getting heart disease because it lowers triglycerides and blood pressure levels.

Shrimp is pretty low in calories but high in protein. It provides only 84 calories in a 3-ounce (85-gram) serving and does not contain any carbohydrates. Approximately 10% of the calories in shrimp come from fat, with about 90% coming from proteins.

The table shows the nutrients contained in a 3-ounce (85-gram) serving of shrimp:

Protein 15g
Zinc9% of the RDI
Phosphorus12% of the RDI
Iron15% of the RDI
Vitamin B1221% of the RDI
Selenium48% of the RDI
Niacin11% of the RDI
Magnesium7% of the RDI

How To Choose High-Quality Shrimp

High-quality shrimp is fresh, which means it is clean, firm, or not infected. 

When it comes to color, the shells should be translucent and greyish-green, pinkish-tan, or light pink. Poor quality shrimp has black spots and edges. Additionally, raw and cooked shrimp typically has a mild, “ocean-like,” or salty smell. If one notices the ‘fishy’ smell is too much, it is likely unsuitable for consumption. Another consideration is the buyer should always ensure they purchase the shrimp from a reputable supplier.

Final Word

Shrimp is not a fish but a crustacean. Vegetarians do not eat shrimp, but pescatarians do; if you are unsure of your allergies, we recommend visiting a doctor to know if you can eat shrimp. Shrimps are amongst the leading allergens, and you want to be sure before you eat something that might be harmful to you. Despite shrimp having a cholesterol level, it has other nutrients which are beneficial to the human body.

We hope that this article helped you classify and identify shrimp as a food and source of nutrients.

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