7 Incredible Crab Benefits

by John Staughton (BASc, BFA) last updated -

Crab is more than a popular item on a seafood menu; it also offers us a number of impressive health benefits, such as its ability to increase cognition, protect the heart, reduce inflammation, strengthen bones, boost the immune system, stimulate circulation, and detoxify the body.


Crabs are some of the most popular and commonly caught creatures in the sea, and while there are thousands of different species of crabs across the world, there are only a handful of species that are widely pursued as a food source, and even fewer that are raised in crab hatcheries for more controlled cultivation. Scientifically speaking, crabs are crustaceans from an intraorder called Brachyura and possess a hard exoskeleton and two claws. There is incredible variation in the types of crabs on land and in the water, but Portunus trituberculatus is the species most likely to end up on your plate, given that over 300,000 tons of these crabs are fished each year, representing nearly 20% of all crabs caught and consumed around the world.

The crab exoskeleton must first be broken and separated in order to access the nutritious meat underneath, and in some larger species, the amount of meat inside may surprise you. Crab meat is commonly found on menus around the world, but it is far more than just a delicious entree. Crab meat is packed with essential fats, nutrients, and minerals that the human body needs to function normally. From selenium and omega-3 fatty acids to protein and vitamin B, crab meat is a very good addition to your diet. Now, let’s crack open this story and find out a bit more about the health benefits of crab.

Close up of raw, fresh crabs on a wooden table

Crab is one of the most satisfying and versatile kinds of seafood. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Nutrition Facts

Crustaceans, crab, blue, canned
Serving Size :
Water [g]79.69
Energy [kcal]83
Energy [kJ]347
Protein [g]17.88
Total lipid (fat) [g]0.74
Ash [g]1.96
Calcium, Ca [mg]91
Iron, Fe [mg]0.5
Magnesium, Mg [mg]36
Phosphorus, P [mg]234
Potassium, K [mg]259
Sodium, Na [mg]563
Zinc, Zn [mg]3.81
Copper, Cu [mg]0.81
Manganese, Mn [mg]0.07
Selenium, Se [µg]42.9
Fluoride, F [µg]209.9
Vitamin C, total ascorbic acid [mg]3.3
Thiamin [mg]0.02
Riboflavin [mg]0.09
Niacin [mg]2.75
Pantothenic acid [mg]1
Vitamin B-6 [mg]0.16
Folate, total [µg]51
Folate, food [µg]51
Folate, DFE [µg]51
Choline, total [mg]80.9
Betaine [mg]12.6
Vitamin B-12 [µg]3.33
Vitamin A, RAE [µg]1
Retinol [µg]1
Vitamin A, IU [IU]2
Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol) [mg]1.84
Vitamin K (phylloquinone) [µg]0.3
Fatty acids, total saturated [g]0.2
12:0 [g]0
14:0 [g]0.01
15:0 [g]0
16:0 [g]0.1
17:0 [g]0.01
18:0 [g]0.07
20:0 [g]0
22:0 [g]0
Fatty acids, total monounsaturated [g]0.13
14:1 [g]0
16:1 [g]0.03
17:1 [g]0
18:1 [g]0.09
20:1 [g]0.01
Fatty acids, total polyunsaturated [g]0.26
18:2 [g]0.02
18:3 [g]0.01
18:4 [g]0
20:2 n-6 c,c [g]0.01
20:3 [g]0.01
20:4 [g]0.04
20:5 n-3 (EPA) [g]0.1
22:4 [g]0
22:5 n-3 (DPA) [g]0.01
22:6 n-3 (DHA) [g]0.07
Fatty acids, total trans [g]0.01
Cholesterol [mg]97
Tryptophan [g]0.23
Threonine [g]0.73
Isoleucine [g]0.78
Leucine [g]1.31
Lysine [g]1.39
Methionine [g]0.45
Cystine [g]0.19
Phenylalanine [g]0.71
Tyrosine [g]0.66
Valine [g]0.81
Arginine [g]1.76
Histidine [g]0.39
Alanine [g]0.89
Aspartic acid [g]1.69
Glutamic acid [g]2.63
Glycine [g]1.07
Proline [g]0.68
Serine [g]0.68
Sources include : USDA

Health Benefits of Crab

There are many health benefits of crabs, let’s discuss them in detail below.

Promotes Bone Health

Following calcium, phosphorus is the most commonly found mineral in the human body and is a crucial element in teeth and bones. Fortunately, almost all crab meat is high in phosphorus concentration, making it an important food for people wanting to “bone up”. If you are at high risk for osteoporosis or are getting older and want to guarantee an active lifestyle in the future, high-phosphorus foods like crab are very important.

Boosts Mental Activity

With its diverse range of nutrients, including copper, vitamin B2, selenium and omega-3 fatty acids, crab is a wonderful food for cognition and the activity of your nervous system. By strengthening myelin and protecting the nervous system, while also reducing inflammation and plaque in neural pathways, these elements combine into a perfect cognitive cocktail if you have enough crab intake on a weekly/monthly basis.

Protects the Heart

Crab meat is noticeably high in omega-3 fatty acids, and while many people assume that all fats are bad for them, omega-3s are the “good” ones that actually balance your cholesterol levels and promote anti-inflammatory activity throughout the body. This can reduce blood pressure, lower strain on the heart, and prevent the development of atherosclerosis. This can lessen your risk of heart attack and stroke.

Eliminates Inflammation

There are many minerals and nutrients that can reduce inflammation throughout the body, including omega-3 fatty acids, copper, and selenium, all of which is found in crab meat. If you suffer from arthritis, gout, or gastrointestinal inflammation issues, then heading to your nearest seafood spot might not be a bad idea!

Boosts Immunity

The immune system of the body needs all the help it can get, given the barrage of pathogens and possible illnesses attacking it every day. Selenium has been directly linked to stimulating immune system activity, and also acts as an antioxidant to protect the body from chronic diseases. Antioxidants can seek out and neutralize free radicals that can cause cellular mutation. Selenium is found in significant concentrations in crab meat, along with riboflavin, which also increases the production of antioxidants in the body.

Detoxifies the Body

Our body’s immune system can’t do it all, and the other centers of detoxification for the blood and body are the kidney and liver. The phosphorus levels found in crab can help to improve kidney function, thus speeding the release of toxins from the body and helping to improve overall metabolic efficiency.

Increases Circulation

Copper is a mineral that is often overlooked in the body, and yet it has a number of important functions for regular organ function. For example, copper is a crucial part of the absorption of iron in the gut, which is one of the most important minerals in our system. Iron plays a key part in the production of red blood cells, thus boosting circulation and ensuring that oxygenated blood reaches all parts of the body. This can increase the speed of healing and regrowth of cells following an injury or illness.

Word of Warning: The benefits of crab meat are manifold, but it’s important to remember that crabs do possess high levels of sodium and cholesterol. For people suffering from cardiovascular conditions or high cholesterol, adding crab to your diet on a regular basis may do more harm than good. Speak to a nutritionist or your medical professional before making any major changes to your diet.

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About the Author

John Staughton is a traveling writer, editor, publisher and photographer with English and Integrative Biology degrees from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana (USA). He co-founded the literary journal, Sheriff Nottingham, and now serves as the Content Director for Stain’d Arts, a non-profit based in Denver, Colorado. On a perpetual journey towards the idea of home, he uses words to educate, inspire, uplift and evolve.

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