Mary Ellen Kelly, Sports R.D.
Confused about Cholesterol?
Anybody out there confused about cholesterol? If the answer is yes, you are in good company! In the United States, cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of death, so many people are concerned about their blood cholesterol levels. (Quick reminder: LDL is known as the “bad cholesterol” and HDL is known as the “good cholesterol” in our blood).
Credit: USA Vascular Centers
Dietary Cholesterol vs. Saturated Fat
The messages to the public used to always emphasize that excess intake of dietary cholesterol was a primary cause for an increase in LDL blood cholesterol levels, which appear to be tied to increased risk of cardiovascular disease but more recently researchers have found that dietary cholesterol may not actually be the problem.
In 2018 a paper was published in the scientific journal, Nutrients, entitled, “Dietary Cholesterol and the Lack of Evidence in Cardiovascular Disease.” The confusion comes because most foods with significant amounts of dietary cholesterol are also high in saturated fat. Researchers have made it clear that it is saturated fat content that should be considered when trying to reduce blood cholesterol levels, but dietary cholesterol? Not so much!
We now know that dietary cholesterol does not appear to increase the risk of CVD in healthy individuals. Consider egg yolks and shrimp. These are two nutrient dense food items that offer high quality protein and several vitamins and minerals, and while they do contain dietary cholesterol, they do not contain high levels of saturated fat like other foods high in cholesterol, such as various cuts of beef or pork.
The American Heart Association encourages fish and shellfish as part of a heart healthy diet. They encourage an emphasis on fish, fruit, vegetables, and whole grains, and limited lean beef intake.
Now… Enjoy that Shrimp!
Now that we have cleared up that confusion around cholesterol, who is ready to cook up some shrimp? For some simple cooking techniques, check out what North Coast Seafood Chef Andrew Wilkinson has to say, here.
Do yourself a favor and make your roasted or grilled shrimp part of a balanced meal. Toss it into a mix of stir fry vegetables over brown rice, or place it on top of a colorful salad and enjoy!
Here’s a fantastic recipe for Naked Shrimp Stir Fry from Chef Andrew!
Shrimp Stir Fry
Sweet & Spicy Sauce
- 1 cup Sweet Chili sauce
- ¼ cup Low Sodium Soy sauce
- ¼ cup Toasted Sesame oil
- ¼ cup Korean Gochujang sauce/paste
- 2-4 tbsp Red Chili Garlic sauce depending on preferred heat level
- 2 tsp Toasted Sesame seeds
Shrimp and Veggies
- 1 lb Raw Naked Shrimp thawed and patted dry
- ¼ cup Canola oil
- ½ cup Spanish Onion julienne strips
- ½ cup Red Pepper julienne strips
- 1 cup Broccoli florets trimmed into 1" pieces
- 1 cup Asparagus peeled & cut into 1" pieces
- 1 cup Zucchini cut into 1" pieces
- 1 cup Sugar Snap peas strings removed + halved
- ¼ cup Scallion sliced thin
- to taste Cilantro leaves
- Mix together all sauce components & keep chilled until ready to use.
- Prep your shrimp & vegetables while your starch of choice is cooking.
- Prepare your vegetables by cutting into similar sizes & shapes, so that they will cook evenly.
- Separate the “hard” veggies from the “soft” indifferent bowls.
- Heat a large (12-inch) sauté pan with 2 tbl. Canola oil. Get it nice and hot.
- Add shrimp to hot pan & do not overcrowd the pan! Shrimp should sizzle when placed in pan.
- Cook 2½ minutes per side. Remove and set aside.
- Wipe out excess oil and add 2 tbl. clean oil and heat pan.
- Add a single layer of the hard veg and allow to cook. Stir every 30 seconds. *They are done when they are no longer raw, but still crisp*
- Remove hard veg from pan & reserve in a bowl. Add a bit more oil to pan.
- Add your soft veg in one layer and allow to cook over high heat. *This should take no longer than 30 seconds*
- Remove the soft veg to the bowl.
Finishing the Dish
- Put pan back on heat and add ¼ - ⅓ cup of Mother-in-Law Sauce.
- Bring to a quick simmer. Then add shrimp, scallions, and veggies back to pan and toss together well. Everything should be coated in the sauce.
- Serve immediately and top with Cilantro leaves.