Can You Eat Shrimp With Gastroparesis? A Full Guide

If you have gastroparesis, you may be wondering what foods are safe to eat.

While it’s important to stick to a soft, low-fat diet, that doesn’t mean you have to give up all of your favorite foods.

In fact, seafood lovers will be happy to know that shrimp can be a great option for those with gastroparesis.

But before you head to the seafood counter, there are a few things you should know.

In this article, we’ll explore whether or not shrimp is safe for those with gastroparesis and provide some tips for incorporating it into your diet.

So, let’s dive in!

Can You Eat Shrimp With Gastroparesis?

The short answer is yes, you can eat shrimp with gastroparesis.

Shrimp is a lean protein source that is low in fiber, making it easy to digest. This is important for those with gastroparesis, as delayed stomach emptying can make it difficult to digest certain foods.

However, it’s important to note that portion size is key. Eating too much protein in one sitting can also impact your ability to digest quickly. So, be sure to stick to small portions of shrimp and pair it with other soft, low-fat proteins like eggs, fish, shellfish, tofu, and low-fat dairy.

It’s also important to avoid fried or greasy shrimp, as these can be high in fat and difficult to digest. Instead, try roasting or grilling shrimp to keep it lean and easy on the stomach.

Understanding Gastroparesis And Diet Restrictions

Gastroparesis is a medical condition that affects the normal emptying of the stomach. During digestion, the stomach contracts to empty itself of food and liquid. Normally, this happens about three times per minute, allowing the stomach to empty within 90-120 minutes after eating. However, if contractions are sluggish or less frequent, stomach emptying is delayed. This can result in bothersome symptoms and malnutrition, as food is not being digested properly.

There are several causes of gastroparesis, including diabetes mellitus, certain disorders of the nervous system, or certain drugs. However, in many cases, no cause can be found, although a viral infection is suspected in some cases. The symptoms of gastroparesis can include nausea, vomiting, bloating, abdominal pain, and a feeling of fullness after eating only a small amount of food.

The gastroparesis diet is designed to reduce symptoms and maintain adequate fluids and nutrition. It consists of three steps. Step 1 involves consuming liquids that usually leave the stomach quickly by gravity alone. This helps prevent dehydration and keeps the body supplied with vital salts and minerals. Step 2 provides additional calories by adding a small amount of dietary fat – less than 40 grams each day. Fatty foods and oils should be restricted because they delay stomach emptying. However, patients at the Step 2 level are usually able to tolerate this amount. Step 3 is designed for long-term maintenance and involves limiting fat to 50 grams per day and restricting fibrous foods because many plant fibers cannot be digested.

When it comes to dietary recommendations for gastroparesis, there are several foods that should be avoided. These include fatty foods, high-fiber foods that are difficult to chew or cannot be chewed well, and foods that take longer to digest. Instead, it is recommended to eat smaller, more frequent meals that are low in fat and easy to digest.

Some foods that are generally encouraged on a gastroparesis diet include breads, cereals, crackers, ground or pureed meats, cooked vegetables (blenderized/strained if necessary), cooked fruits (blenderized/strained if necessary), juices, beverages, milk products (if tolerated), and small, frequent meals.

It’s important to note that dietary fat slows digestion. Therefore following a low-fat diet is usually beneficial for those with gastroparesis. Fried foods, high-fat dairy products, fatty meats, rich desserts, cream-based soups should be avoided. Instead, it’s recommended to choose low-fat or non-fat dairy products and leaner meats like chicken, turkey or fish.

The Benefits Of Shrimp For Gastroparesis Patients

Despite being low in calories, shrimp is packed with nutrients that can benefit those with gastroparesis. Shrimp is a great source of iodine, which is important for thyroid function and metabolism. It also contains antioxidants that can help reduce inflammation and support overall health.

Furthermore, shrimp is a good source of protein, which is essential for building and repairing tissues in the body. This is especially important for those with gastroparesis, as the condition can make it difficult to get enough nutrients from food.

While shrimp is high in cholesterol, research suggests that dietary cholesterol may not have as big of an impact on blood cholesterol levels as previously thought. In fact, some studies have even found that consuming shrimp may improve cholesterol levels in people with high cholesterol.

Preparing Shrimp For Gastroparesis-Friendly Meals

When preparing shrimp for gastroparesis-friendly meals, it’s important to keep in mind the guidelines for small, low-fat, and low-fiber meals. Here are some tips for preparing shrimp that is easy on the stomach:

1. Choose fresh or frozen, raw shrimp that has been deveined and peeled. Avoid pre-cooked or breaded shrimp, as these may contain added fats and preservatives.

2. Rinse the shrimp under cold water and pat dry with a paper towel.

3. Preheat your oven to 475 degrees Fahrenheit.

4. Combine a small amount of unsalted butter with minced garlic to create a paste. Set aside.

5. Spray a large baking dish with olive oil cooking spray.

6. Arrange the shrimp in a single layer in the baking dish.

7. Lay sprigs of thyme over the shrimp.

8. In a separate bowl, combine shrimp stock, vermouth, lemon juice, and lemon zest.

9. Pour the mixture over the shrimp in the baking dish.

10. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

11. Dot the garlic butter over the top of the shrimp.

12. Bake until the shrimp are pink and firm, which should take around 5 to 10 minutes depending on their size.

13. Toss the shrimp in the sauce and transfer them to a serving dish.

By following these steps, you can prepare a delicious and gastroparesis-friendly meal using shrimp as your protein source. Remember to keep portion sizes small and pair with other low-fat proteins for optimal digestion.

Tips For Incorporating Shrimp Into Your Gastroparesis Diet

If you’re looking to incorporate shrimp into your gastroparesis diet, here are some tips to keep in mind:

1. Start with small portions: As mentioned earlier, portion size is key. Start with a small serving of shrimp and see how your stomach reacts before increasing the portion size.

2. Pair shrimp with other low-fat proteins: To ensure that you’re getting enough protein without overloading your stomach, pair shrimp with other soft, low-fat proteins like eggs, fish, shellfish, tofu, and low-fat dairy.

3. Avoid fried or greasy shrimp: Fried or greasy foods can be difficult to digest and may cause discomfort. Instead, try roasting or grilling shrimp to keep it lean and easy on the stomach.

4. Be mindful of seasonings: Some seasonings can be harsh on the stomach, so it’s important to choose seasonings that are gentle and easy to digest. Lemon juice, garlic, and herbs like parsley and basil are good options.

5. Consider incorporating shrimp into soups or stews: Soups and stews are a great way to incorporate shrimp into your gastroparesis diet. The liquid base can help with digestion, and the other ingredients can provide additional nutrients.

Remember, everyone’s gastroparesis symptoms are different, so it’s important to listen to your body and make adjustments as needed. If you’re unsure about incorporating shrimp into your diet, consult with a registered dietitian who can provide personalized recommendations based on your specific needs and preferences.

Potential Risks And Precautions When Eating Shrimp With Gastroparesis

While shrimp can be a safe and nutritious protein source for those with gastroparesis, there are still some potential risks and precautions to keep in mind.

Firstly, it’s important to ensure that the shrimp is fresh and properly cooked. Contaminated shellfish can cause shellfish poisoning, which can lead to serious illness. Always purchase shrimp from a reputable source and ensure that it is cooked thoroughly before consuming.

Additionally, it’s important to avoid seasoning the shrimp with high-fat sauces or spices that may be difficult to digest. Stick to simple seasonings like lemon juice, herbs, and spices that are gentle on the stomach.

Finally, it’s important to monitor your portion size and intake of other foods throughout the day. Eating too much protein in one sitting can slow down digestion and exacerbate symptoms of gastroparesis. Be sure to balance your shrimp intake with other easy-to-digest foods and limit your overall intake of high-fat foods.