Crab meat is a tasty and popular form of sea food that fits well with the Paleo diet. Crabs are crustaceans that are usually found in the ocean. They are a popular part of many cultures’ diets, and they can be eaten steamed, boiled, fried or baked. Some cultures eat soft-shelled crabs whole after moulting, while hard-shelled crabs have the meat extracted and then put it into curries, bisque or other dishes. Note that many ready meals are made from artificially flavoured fish and other cheap substitutes, so are best avoided.
The Health Benefits of Eating Crab
Crabs are a good source of protein, and relatively low in calories. A 100g serving of crab meat contains about 90 calories. Crabs do contain some fat, but the fats that they contain are mostly unsaturated fats and omega-3 fatty acids, which are considered to be “good” forms of fat.
Omega-3 fatty acids are associated with improved memory, decreased risk of cancer, improved cardiovascular health and even improved cognitive function and reduced anxiety.
In addition, crabs are a good source of vitamin A, the B vitamins (including B12) and vitamin C, as well as zinc, copper and selenium. Those who suffer from insulin resistance may benefit from eating crabs because they are a source of chromium, which is linked with improved blood sugar metabolism.
The Risks Associated with Eating Crabs
Those who suffer from allergies to other shellfish, such as lobster or prawns, may also be allergic to crabs. Allergic reactions can range from a simple skin rash to potentially fatal anaphylaxis.
Crabs contain a relatively large amount of purines, which do serve a beneficial purpose in the body but can cause gout in those who are susceptible to the condition. If you have ever had gout in the past, you should consume crabs in moderation only and take care to keep your alcohol intake low.
Another risk associated with eating crabs is the potential for food poisoning. The meat must be eaten when it is fresh, and if you are not able to eat it immediately it should be kept cold or frozen for consumption at a later date. Meat with a strong odour should be discarded. Do not take chances with shellfish.
Crabs and the Paleo Diet
Crab meat fits the Paleo diet very well. The Paleo diet involves eating food that is as close to nature as possible. Humans have collected and consumed fresh shell fish throughout history, and crab is no exception. If you can find fish that were caught in the wild rather than bred in farms, you can enjoy an authentic Paleo eating experience and the health benefits that it provides.
While some fish, such as swordfish and tuna, carry some risk of mercury contamination, crabs are generally much safer. This makes them a great option for people who like to eat a lot of fish but who are concerned about the cumulative effects of eating lots of tuna. Crabs are a good source of protein and healthy fats and can be a versatile, affordable food.