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Is Ceviche Healthy? Nutrition, Calories
Nutrition

Is Ceviche Healthy? Nutrition, Calories

HR_author_photo_Edibel
Written by Edibel Quintero, RD | Medically reviewed by Medically reviewed by Rosmy Barrios, MD check
Published on 2022 August 10
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8 min

Do you love the tangy and spiced flavor of your favorite ceviche recipe? Ceviche is a popular spicy raw fish dish that many enjoy.

is ceviche healthy

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Many wonder about the popular Latin American dish ceviche, especially its health implications. With so many benefits, it has its downsides, too. 

Read on to learn more about the benefits and drawbacks of eating ceviche! 

What Is Ceviche? 

Ceviche is a Latin American dish consisting of raw fish or seafood and a citrus marinade, including lemon or lime juice, full of spices and herbs, often including cumin, garlic, chili pepper, and cilantro. 

Shrimp ceviche is a popular dish that can be served with tortilla chips. Other types of popular fresh fish used are flounder, tilapia, and more. 

Many ceviche marinades also include red onion, tomato, and more. Many also enjoy eating ceviche with tortilla chips, plantain chips, sweet potato, and more!

Instead of cooking the fish and seafood with the traditional heating methods, it instead uses citrus juice to “cook” or cure the fish while it marinates. The citrus contains citric acid that breaks down the proteins in fish and seafood, making the ceviche safe and healthy to eat. 

This preparation process not only leaves a visually appealing dish, but the fish is opaque and firm like it has been heated. 

Is Ceviche Healthy?

When you eat ceviche, you are getting a rich source of vitamins, minerals, healthy fats, and protein. Additionally, ceviche is rich in antioxidants. However, this healthy food can be slightly high in sodium. Therefore, ceviche should be consumed in moderation.

Is Shrimp Ceviche Healthy? 

Shrimp is a popular raw fish protein choice for ceviche dishes, whether it is served in a restaurant or made at home.

Shrimp ceviche is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins, minerals, and more. In addition, it is low in saturated fat, which can contribute to an increased risk for heart disease. 

Click here to learn more about shrimp and how it impacts weight loss! 

How Is Ceviche Made?

When making ceviche at home, the fresher the seafood or raw fish, the better! You can make shrimp ceviche, or use sea bass, firm white fish, and more. 

Let’s discuss the key steps to making your own delicious ceviche healthy dish! 

Prepare your seafood, whether shrimp or other seafood or fish, by cutting it into small pieces, approximately half to a quarter of an inch. 

Combine the fish with lemon juice and lime juice, red onion, garlic, and your choice of spices, herbs, and chiles. 

Cover the raw fish, lime and lemon juice, and vegetable spice mixture and put it in the refrigerator until the fish or seafood is opaque and firm. This “cooking” or curing process may take a few hours for shrimp. However, it may take as little as 30 minutes for certain types of white fish ceviche. 

Feel free to add a fresh garnish, such as a cilantro sprig, or season with salt or pepper to taste! 

What Are the Ceviche Health Benefits? 

Ceviche is a healthy dish rich in many benefits to your health and well-being. Let’s dive into some of the benefits you reap when you eat a nice bowl of ceviche! 

Rich in antioxidants 

Ceviche, including shrimp ceviche, is rich in antioxidants that provide a wide variety of health benefits. From the raw fish itself, vegetables, lemon juice, lime juice, and more.

Antioxidants, including vitamin E, selenium, and vitamin C, are chemicals in the body that help fight against harmful free radicals that are naturally created in the body by processes such as digesting the food you eat and then breaking this food down into amounts and types of energy that the body can use to operate. 

According to the Journal of Chemical and Pharmaceutical Research, antioxidants in the diet can decrease the risk of developing cancer, heart disease, and inflammation and even reduce the effects of aging. 

Therefore, consuming ceviche is rich in antioxidants and can have many potential health benefits.

Low in carbohydrates 

Additionally, eating ceviche provides a healthy food low in carbohydrates. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture food database, a serving of 100g of ceviche only contains a mere 3.5g of carbohydrates.

Carbohydrates are often found in starches, grains (both whole and refined), fruits, and dairy. However, since ceviche is primarily protein and vegetable-based, with a small amount of lemon and lime juice, the carbohydrate content is relatively low.

While carbohydrates are not inherently bad and actually are essential to provide adequate energy to live, consuming excessive amounts of carbohydrates can contribute to weight gain and obesity. 

Obesity can increase the risk of heart disease, including high blood pressure, stroke, heart attack, and high cholesterol. 

However, being low in carbohydrates, ceviche is also typically low in soluble and insoluble dietary fiber. 

Dietary fiber is needed to regulate a healthy digestive system, relieve constipation, and more.

According to Mayo Clinic, adequate dietary fiber can also help lower cholesterol levels, improve blood sugar levels, and help feel full and satisfied longer after eating.

To boost the fiber content of ceviche, pair it with a slice of whole-grain bread, a handful of wheat crackers, tortilla chips, or a cup of brown rice. 

However, if you are not used to eating fiber-rich foods, gradually increase the amount of fiber in your diet each day to prevent uncomfortable bloating and gas. 

Many also pair their ceviche with delicious sweet potato to boost nutrition and flavor.

Promotes weight loss 

One of the main reasons ceviche is healthy is because it is low in calories and fat. However, ceviche (including shrimp ceviche) is typically a spicy dish, including chilis, peppers, and more! Spicy foods have many benefits to your health and well-being.

According to the Cleveland Clinic, spicy food may actually help with weight loss. Research has demonstrated a relationship between people who eat more spicy foods and a lower incidence of overweight and obesity.

This correlation may have to do with the presence of a chemical called capsaicin in spicy foods. Capsaicin is responsible for much of the spice and reduces the feelings of hunger. 

Additionally, capsaicin can help promote weight loss because it boosts the metabolism and helps the body burn more fat.

Scientists have discussed how capsaicin in spicy foods can also relieve pain. 

Add some cayenne pepper or chilis to your ceviche to make it spicier! 

Nutritional Facts 

Ceviche is a dish rich in flavor but also in nutrition. So let’s discuss the nutrition facts. 

Nutritional table (per 100g) 

Calories/NutrientAmount
Calories (kcal)62 
Net carbs (g)3.58 
Fats (Total) (g)0.75
Protein (g)10.3 
Cholesterol (mg)18
Sodium (mg)158

Source: https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/1099281/nutrients 

High in vitamins and minerals

Ceviche is rich in vitamins and minerals that have many health benefits to the body. However, the specific nutrients may vary slightly depending on the particular fish or seafood used and the other ingredients (vegetables, spices, herbs) used in the ceviche recipe. 

The lime juice and lemon juice also contribute beneficial vitamin C that boosts immunity, healing, and more!

Typically, ceviche is rich in vitamin A, potassium, and phosphorus. Vitamin A is an essential nutrient that plays a crucial role in vision health, cell growth, and immunity. 

Vitamin A is also commonly found in sweet potatoes, which many like to have with their ceviche dishes.

Potassium is needed for heart functioning, muscle contraction, and nerve transmission. It is also found in bananas, potatoes, tomatoes, and more.

According to the Harvard School of Public Health, phosphorus is an essential mineral needed for healthy bones, teeth, and cell membranes. 

High in protein 

A 100g serving of the dish has 10g of protein. Furthermore, a one-cup (250g) serving contains 25g protein. 

Consuming adequate protein is essential for muscle maintenance and growth, cell growth, and much more. Protein is an integral part of every cell chemical reaction in the body.

Low in fats and calories 

A 100g serving of ceviche only contains 62 calories. However, it is essential to note that 250g of ceviche equals one cup, so it would have about 155 calories per cup.

Additionally, ceviche is extremely low in fat, especially saturated fat. The small amount of fat it contains is mostly unsaturated fat with omega-3 fatty acids that have many health benefits to heart health.

Compared to more processed foods, ceviche is very low in calories and fat. 

Since ceviche is low in calories and fat but typically spicy and filling, it is a great option to include in your diet. 

A moderate amount of sodium 

A 100g serving of ceviche contains 158mg of sodium. While this is not incredibly high, it can add up since a 250g serving (equivalent to one cup) is 395mg of sodium. 

The American Heart Association recommends consuming no more than 2,300mg of sodium daily. However, they encourage consuming even less – closer to 1,500mg or less daily. 

While this is not true for everyone, consuming excessive sodium, especially for those who consume a lot of processed foods, can contribute to high blood pressure. 

Low in cholesterol 

A serving of 100g of ceviche contains 18mg of cholesterol, which is relatively very low.

While the guideline was previously to consume no more than 200 to 300mg of cholesterol each day, the 2020–2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans now recommends consuming as little cholesterol daily as possible.

Cholesterol can potentially build up in the bloodstream and plaque in the arteries. If the plaque accumulates so much that the blood flow is blocked, it can cause a heart attack or stroke. 

However, according to the journal Marine Drugs, shrimp and many other kinds of seafood commonly used in ceviche contain an antioxidant called astaxanthin. 

Research shows that consuming seafood containing astaxanthin is protective against heart disease instead of increasing risk.

FAQs

Is ceviche good or bad for you?

Ceviche, including shrimp ceviche, is good for you because it provides healthy vitamins, minerals, fats, and protein. However, it can be moderately high in sodium and contains some cholesterol.

How many calories are in ceviche?

A 100g serving of ceviche only contains 62 calories. However, in one cup or an 8-ounce serving, ceviche contains 155 calories.

Is ceviche healthy for bodybuilders?

Ceviche is healthy for bodybuilders as it contains a good source of protein. However, it is not very high in calories, which is needed for bodybuilding.

A Word From a Dietitian

Overall, shrimp ceviche, or ceviche made from any other type of fish or seafood, is a delicious and nutritious way to get healthy fats, vitamins, minerals, protein, and more into your diet. To make it even healthier, add extra veggies and fruits such as tomato, onion, and sweet potatoes, to boost the nutrition of your favorite ceviche recipe.

While eating ceviche, made from any type of fish or seafood, you are getting a great source of protein that helps facilitate growth, muscle maintenance, and much more!

Try varying your ceviche with different types of fish and seafood to get the most nutrients, vitamins, and minerals! Variety will also ensure you are the most satisfied with your diet and lifestyle.

Conclusion 

Ceviche, including shrimp ceviche, can be a great addition to your healthy diet, especially when you prepare it yourself at home, can control how much salt you add, and can boost the veggie content!

HR_author_photo_Edibel
Written by
Edibel Quintero is a medical doctor who graduated in 2013 from the University of Zulia and has been working in her profession since then. She specializes in obesity and nutrition, physical rehabilitation, sports massage and post-operative rehabilitation. Edibel’s goal is to help people live healthier lives by educating them about food, exercise, mental wellness and other lifestyle choices that can improve their quality of life.
Medically reviewed byRosmy Barrios, MD
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