Sue Bedford (MSc Nutritional Therapy)
This low-fat, high-protein shellfish is brimming with nutrients including minerals that are good for fertility. Did you know that there are more than 8,000 different varieties of freshwater and saltwater crabs exist? There are numerous edible crab species, but the brown crab (Cancer pagurus), blue crab (Portunus pelagicus), Atlantic blue crab or Chesapeake blue crab (Callinectes sapidus), horse crab (Portunus trituberculatus), and Dungeness crab are the most popular (Cancer magister).
Crab can be consumed in a variety of different ways including wild-caught crab and farmed crab, freshwater crab and saltwater crab. There is also canned crab meat (this can contain higher levels of sodium and less omega 3) and imitation crab meat made from other fish and meat, soy, vegetable oils and various additives (sugar, egg). The imitation crab meat (also called surimi), crab stick or fish sticks does not often contain any real crab. The colour, texture and taste of crab meat from various species may differ slightly.
Why is crab so healthy?
Crab meat is a nutritious food that is rich in a number of nutrients vital to both health and fertility. It is a popular shellfish choice and enjoyed all over the world. As long as it is eaten in moderation, forms part of a diet that is healthy and varied, and is not contraindicated (for instance, if a person has a crab or crustacean allergy), it should have positive health effects.
Top benefits of eating crab meat for health and fertility:
Low fat and high in lean protein – contains a similar amount of protein to the equivalent weight of lean beef and is, therefore, a great choice for vegetarians who eat seafood and fish.
High in selenium – a 100g portion of crab provides over half the daily amount of selenium for an adult. Selenium is an antioxidant that is important to fertility because it prevents oxidation and DNA damage in the egg. It is important in oogenesis and spermatogenesis (egg and sperm production). In studies men with low sperm counts have been found to have low levels of selenium. Increasing selenium levels may lead to improved sperm motility. A low selenium status has been tied to low birth weight babies and preeclampsia, which is high blood pressure during pregnancy. It is important for the healthy functioning of the thyroid gland.
Due to the significant levels of beneficial Omega-3 fats found in crab, eating it may support female fertility. Because healthy fats aid in the production of hormones, the foundation of optimal fertility, healthy fats and fertility go hand in hand. Fats are also necessary to aid in the absorption of nutrients, including vitamin A, D, E and K. Vitamin D insufficiency has been seen in women who are having trouble getting pregnant, and addressing vitamin D levels has been shown to be positive.
It is a source of vitamins B9 and B12 that help prevent neural tube defects of the brain and spine in the developing foetus. B vitamins also help synthesize carbohydrates, fats and protein and produce energy for the body. A good intake elevates energy levels and combats fatigue.
Crab meat contains the amino acid l-tyrosine which has shown to help brain power
The high phosphorus level of crab may help to increase bone density. Additionally, the crustacean is a reasonable source of other necessary minerals including calcium and magnesium, which support the maintenance of healthy bones and teeth.
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