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Despite popular belief, lobster is not the worst food for people with high cholesterol.
The cholesterol content of lobster could vary based on the type of lobster and the method used to cook it (steamed, broiled, baked, or fried).
The value per 100g often ranges from 60 to 146mg.¹
The recommended daily cholesterol intake for people with no cardiovascular risk factors is 300mg.² This means that lobster can contribute between 20% and 49% of the recommended intake, depending on the amount of cholesterol in the particular lobster.
While it may seem like some types of lobster could potentially make up almost half of your recommended cholesterol intake, it’s still lower than the amount of cholesterol in an egg, which amounts to 373mg per 100g.
However, current research³ suggests that dietary cholesterol, even from eggs, is not as concerning for health as previously thought. Cholesterol introduced from the diet plays a relatively minimal role in the body's total cholesterol levels or in changing the LDL/HDL ratio in the body.
Instead, it may be more important to regulate saturated and trans fats. These fats prompt the liver to create more “bad” LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol and make it more difficult to remove this cholesterol from the arteries. These fats, especially industrial trans fats, can significantly reduce the “good” cholesterol (HDL) that helps remove LDL from the arteries.
For this reason, seafood like lobster can be a better option for cholesterol levels than many meats with high saturated fats. However, except for some foods like eggs, shrimp, and lobsters, it is important to note that many other foods high in cholesterol can also be high in saturated and trans fats, so checking all the fat content is vital to prevent a further increase in cholesterol.
Fish and other forms of seafood are renowned for their healthy omega-3 fatty acids, which promote brain, bone, and heart health, and can even improve sleep. Seafood also contains a wealth of vitamins like B and D and is high in protein.
Consuming seafood at least twice a week has been linked⁴ to many health improvements⁴ and even a significantly reduced risk of death caused by any health-related problem.
Lobster is no different, providing a range of nutrients and plenty of protein. In fact, lobster has more protein than some meats.
However, lobster isn’t the most accessible form of seafood. Being generally expensive and difficult to prepare, lobster isn’t often a staple of the seafood diet.
Plus, lobster contains slightly less omega-3 fatty acid and vitamin D than other types of fish, like salmon.
Lobster is a fantastic addition to any seafood diet, adding variety to any week’s meals. However, it doesn’t make an easy seafood staple and won’t replace regular fish as the foundation of a seafood-rich diet.
Because lobster is high in protein and omega-3 fatty acids, contains selenium, and has only a moderate amount of cholesterol, it’s a healthy, brain-boosting seafood option. Plus, it’s relatively low in calories, with a 100g serving providing only 89 calories.
Lobster is low in saturated fat, so it’s less likely to lead to high serum cholesterol than other protein sources like red meat.
Lobster contains only 0.2 grams of saturated fat in a 100-gram serving.
This is very low compared to the same-sized serving of beef steak, which contains 4.7 grams of saturated fat and 212 calories.
Lobster also provides a range of key nutrients, like zinc, potassium, calcium, phosphorus, and selenium, in addition to B vitamins.
Protein is a key nutrient for muscle growth and repair, hormone control, red blood cell oxygen distribution, digestion support, and healthy hair, skin, and nails. Protein is also important for hormone regulation and cell development through puberty.
Many protein sources are available. Most people think meat is the best form of protein, but plenty of alternative sources are available, like legumes, nuts, and seeds. Lobster is very high in protein, with 19g of protein per 100g of lobster, which is a higher protein content than in an equal portion of ground beef.
As the ground beef option has more saturated fat than lobster, lobster is the healthier choice where cholesterol is concerned.
Brain function depends greatly on choline intake. Choline is essential for brain and muscle function, and its deficiency has been linked⁵ to a potentially increased risk of Alzheimer's disease. Plus, it’s a key part of brain development in utero, making it essential that pregnant women consume foods with this nutrient.
Lobster is a fantastic source of choline, with 80mg per 100g of cooked lobster meat. This one serving provides 15% of the recommended adequate intake (AI) for men and 19% for women.
Not only does lobster contain choline, but it also contains omega-3 fatty acids, which are vital for brain health.
The brain-boosting benefits of omega-3 fatty acids include:
maintaining cell membrane health
making neuron communication easier
supporting brain blood flow
improving mental cognition
potentially improving depression and anxiety
Heart disease is a major health concern and is the leading cause of death⁶ in the United States. The risk of heart disease can be reduced through the dietary intake of omega 3-fatty acids, which can be obtained through foods like fish and lobster.
Lobster provides between 100-400mg of omega-3 fatty acids per 100g, depending on the type, which is a fairly high amount. Combined with other foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, lobster can help boost brain and heart functioning for overall health. Omega-3 fatty acids also have noticeable effects in other areas, such as contributing to healthy hair, skin, and nails.
Omega-3 fatty acids can help:
Prevent heart disease: Omega-3s are thought to help prevent heart disease, mostly by lowering triglyceride levels. Studies⁷ have found that omega-3 fatty acids are associated with reduced cardiovascular mortality and other negative cardiovascular-related health outcomes.
Maintain heart rhythm: Studies⁸ have found that omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil can reduce heart rate, both resting and stress-induced (during exercise), especially in people who initially had a higher heart rate.
Lower blood pressure: Some studies⁹ have found that consuming omega-3s may help reduce blood pressure in people with high blood pressure and reduce the risk of hypertension in people with normal blood pressure.
Improve the function of blood vessels: Omega-3 fatty acids are thought to improve endothelial dysfunction.¹⁰ The endothelium is a thin membrane layer lining the blood vessels. Improving its function reduces the risk of developing atherosclerosis from LDL cholesterol plaque that builds up inside the blood vessels' walls.
Recent evidence has found that omega-3 fatty acids may be able to help prevent, manage, and reduce the spread of several types of cancer. This includes ovarian cancer, digestive system cancer, and breast cancer.
Since lobster is a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, this could mean that eating lobster is protective against cancer.
There are several reasons why omega-3s may be protective against cancer. For example, research has found that they might:
Have anti-tumorigenic effects
Inhibit the excessive growth and division of cells
Enhance the effectiveness of the chemotherapy drug cisplatin and reduce its side effects
Inhibit the growth of new blood vessels
These potential anticancer effects are another great reason to include omega-3 fatty acid-rich lobster in the weekly diet plan.
Lobster is high in zinc. 100g of cooked lobster meat provides roughly 50% of women’s daily recommended allowance of zinc and 36% of men’s.
Being one of the best dietary sources of zinc, lobster can greatly boost immunity, as zinc is key to fighting infections and healing wounds. Year-round consumption of zinc is key to maintaining overall health.
Lobster is a healthy meal option but has a reputation for luxury and indulgence. This is because it’s often cooked and served in ways that significantly increase saturated fats and sodium.
Being conscious of how lobster is prepared and served is key to reaping the health gifts of this delicious food without consuming sauces and other additions high in saturated or trans fats.
It’s traditional to serve lobster as a roll, mixed with butter or mayonnaise, or perhaps steamed and covered in a butter dipping sauce. These additions can greatly increase the saturated fat levels of the meal, often providing up to three times as much saturated fat as in the serving of lobster itself.
Healthy lobster meal ideas include:
Steamed or broiled lobster with lemon juice, parsley, and garlic.
Lobster and corn stew
Baked lobster tails
Blueberry and lobster salad
Lobster has a reputation for luxury and indulgence, but this high-protein omega-3 fatty acid-rich seafood is surprisingly good for your health. By providing a range of nutrients and brain-boosting omega-3 fatty acids, lobster can make a healthy addition to a week of good eating.
Despite being moderately high in cholesterol, a 100-gram serving of lobster has less cholesterol than an egg. And when prepared well, lobster is low in saturated fats. This combines to make lobster a great option for people concerned about their cholesterol levels.
Crustaceans, lobster, northern, cooked, moist heat | U.S. Department of Agriculture
Heart disease facts | Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Egg, whole, cooked, hard-boiled | U.S. Department of Agriculture
Fish oil: Friend or foe? | Harvard Health Publishing
What’s the beef with red meat? | Harvard Health Publishing
Crustaceans, lobster, northern, cooked, moist heat | U.S. Department of Agriculture
Beef, short loin, t-bone steak, bone-in, separable lean only, trimmed to 1/8" fat, choice, cooked, grilled | U.S. Department of Agriculture
The nutrition source: Protein | Harvard T.H. Chan
The nutrition source: Choline | Harvard T.H. Chan
Choline | NIH: National Institute of Health
Omega-3 fatty acids: An essential contribution | Harvard T.H. Chan
The nutrition source: Zinc | Harvard T.H. Chan