Metabolic Health
Reviewed by

Shifa Fathima

Is Crab Good for Diabetes

Every seafood lover relishes the taste of a juicy crab, deliciously salty with fresh minerals and sans any fishy aftertaste. It does not just taste delicious but is rich in vital nutrients. The different varieties of crabs like King Crab, Dungeness Crab, Blue Crab, Rock Crab, etc. are edible and enjoyed by people around the globe. Wondering if Crab is good for diabetes? We have just the answer.

Nutrition Information

Crab meat is rich in vitamin B12, copper and sodium, and contains lower levels of mercury than some other seafood like swordfish and tuna. The Glycaemic Index of crab is 0-5; hence, it can be very beneficial for people with diabetes. A single serving of cooked crab meat provides the following nutrients:

Calories: 97 

Fat: 1 gm

Protein: 21 gm

Carbohydrates: 0

Fibre: 0

Sugar: 0 

Vitamin B12: 8 mg

Selenium: 37 mg

Sodium: 587

It is also rich in niacin, Omega-3 fatty acids, folate, zinc and selenium. These nutrients help a person with diabetes in maintaining a healthy sugar level. 

Potential Health benefits of crab

To understand if crab is good for diabetes, we have to understand the nutrients it is loaded with. It contains high levels of chromium, which lowers the blood glucose levels by helping insulin in metabolising sugar. It also contains sterol, which helps in absorbing the cholesterol ingested during a meal and reversing the negative effects of other fats. 

Crab is also a very good source of iron. In a 100 gm serving of crab meat, it has at least 1 mg of iron, which helps prevent anaemia. It has antioxidants like zinc and selenium. Selenium is a heavy metal essentially found in crabs and other crustaceans, and if consumed in moderate amounts, is good for our health. 

The high levels of protein, calcium and iodine help with the development and maintenance of muscles, teeth and bones.  People with Type 1 diabetes have weaker bones and hence can develop osteoporosis. We recommend crab meat in this case as it helps in increasing calcium absorption by our bones. The American Diabetes Association recommends including fish or shellfish at least twice a week in our diet. 

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Improves heart health

All shellfish including Crabs are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids. These Omega-3 fatty acids help keep our red blood cells healthy and make the blood flow smoother by decreasing the stickiness of blood platelets. They also lower the level of low-density lipoproteins or LDL and triglycerides, which deposit in our heart’s artery walls and result in congestion.

The chromium present in crab meat elevates the good cholesterol called HDL in our body, which in turn lowers the chances of coronary and circulatory heart disease or strokes.

Prevents anaemia

Anaemia causes weakness and fatigue in people as a result of iron deficiency. People suffering from anaemia lack healthy red blood cells and need iron-rich food in their diets. As crab meat is rich in iron, folate and vitamin B12, it decreases the risk of anaemia and is recommended by doctors.

Keeps your brain strong

It is theorised that eating seafood can also help in decreasing the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. The high levels of Omega-3 fatty acids in seafood are said to provide this protection. While there is no conclusive evidence of this, taking a balanced diet with Omega-3 fatty acids provides us with overall good health. 

Potential risks of crab

Crabs have a significantly high level of sodium. Our body needs sodium intake as it helps in regulating the fluid balance of our body, ensures proper nerve and muscle function, but it can also increase blood pressure and lead to heart diseases when swerving is not regulated or it is taken as canned meat. 

Adults with diabetes are up to two times more likely than those without diabetes to die from heart disease, according to the American Heart Association (AHA). People with Type 2 diabetes are more prone to heart disease because of high levels of blood pressure, LDL cholesterol, and weight.

This problem can be contained if crab meat is prepared with:

spices, herbs, onions, garlic, and other natural substitutes in place of salt; 

vegetables that are properly washed and drained cut down at least 40% of sodium in them; and

potassium-rich food like potatoes, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, and greens can combat the sodium in the meat.

A single serving of King Crab contains 200-300 mg of sodium; so, if we have high blood pressure or are on a low to no sodium diet, either completely avoid consuming crab meat or consult a physician beforehand.

Crabs can also contain cadmium, a heavy metal found, which if over-consumed, can result in increased chances of kidney damage and osteoporosis. So, avoid consuming tinned crab meat and only eat fresh crab meat.

Healthy Alternatives

While crab is good for diabetes, as it has a lot of nutrients, it also has high levels of sodium. Some other seafood alternatives we can choose from are Salmon and flounder from the fish category, and if one is in the mood for shellfish, we can go for raw clams.

Some people also believe that imitation crab is a good alternative to real crab. While it has lower sodium levels than real crab meat, people with diabetes should avoid it because of the harmful food additives, which can spike your blood sugar levels. It is also high in carbs.

Also read about other best foods for diabetes.

Bottomline

Crab meat is rich in nutrients like chromium, selenium, vitamins and B12, which not only help in maintaining our blood sugar but also takes care of general health. Diabetes comes with accompanying comorbidities like obesity, cardiovascular diseases, hypertension, etc. These nutrients act as a safeguard against these problems. The important factor to be kept in mind is that crab is also rich in sodium. A balanced meal of crab meat should be with potatoes, greens, and other food items that absorb sodium. We have no reason to question if crab is good for diabetes. Book an appointment with our expert today to know more about seafood that is good for diabetes.  

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