Health Benefits Of Crayfish Plus Side Effect You Never Knew.

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swamp crayfish, also called crawfish

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Crayfish, also known as crawfish or freshwater lobsters, are highly favored as a culinary delight in various parts of the world.

In Nigeria, Crayfish is one of the healthy and available sea-foods.

Crayfish is rich in protein, vitamins, mineral and Omega-3 fatty acid, highly digestible, with a superior biological value that is necessary for good health and normal growth.

Eating crayfish in moderation is the key to gaining all the essential nutrients it contains without worrying about the effects and health conditions that its high consumption might cause or trigger.

The nutrients in crayfish helps in improving the general wellbeing of the body which includes the muscle, skin, eyes, blood, brain, bone etc.

Due to great nutrients contained in crayfish, it is indeed a great food to promote the overall body health.

However, it is crucial to be aware of the potential risks associated with consuming crayfish especially when eating it excess on regular basis.

This article tells you everything you need to know about crayfish.

Description of Crayfish

What’s Crayfish And How Does It Look Like?

Crayfish are freshwater crustaceans belonging to the clade Astacidea, which also contains lobsters.

They’re different species of crayfish living in different water habitat.

They are characterized by a joined head and thorax, and a segmented body, which is sandy yellow, green, red, or dark brown in colour.

The head has a sharp snout, and the compound eyes are on movable stalks. The exoskeleton, or body covering, is thin but tough or smooth depending on species.

In some locations, they are also known as baybugs, crabfish, craws, crawfish, crawdaddies, crawdads, freshwater lobsters, mountain lobsters, mudbugs, rock lobsters, signal crawfish, or yabbies.

They breathe through feather-like gills. Some species are found in brooks and streams, where fresh water is running, while others thrive in swamps, ditches, and paddy fields.

Most crayfish cannot tolerate polluted water, although some species, such as Procambarus clarkii, are hardier. Crayfish feed on animals and plants, either living or decomposing, and detritus.

Previously those found in swamp habitat (red swamp crayfish) was an unacceptable species due to its aggressive behavior against the small-sized fishes and bein.

Nutrition facts of Crayfish

According to myfood data below are the nutrients value contain in a medium potion of crayfish:

  • Calories      70 to 127,    3%DV
  • Fat    1g,     1%DV
  • Protein        14.3g to 17g,         29%DV
  • Carbohydrate        0g,     0%DV
  • Fiber 0g,     DV0%
  • Good cholesterol (Omega-3)     113.1mg,    DV38%
  • Saturated Fats       0.2g,  1%   
  • Trans Fatty Acids 0g     


  • Vitamin A,  12.8mcg,     1%DV
  • Vitamin C   0.8mg,        1%
  • Thiamin (B1)        0mg,  4%
  • Riboflavin (B2)     0.1mg,        6%
  • Niacin (B3) 1.9mg,        12%
  • Vitamin B5 0.5mg,        10%
  • Vitamin B6 0.1mg,        4%   
  • Folate (B9)  37.4mcg,     9%
  • Choline       68.8mg,      13%
  • Vitamin B12         1.8mcg,       76%
  • Vitamin E   1.3mg,        9%
  • Retinol        12.8mcg     


  • Calcium      51mg, 4%DV
  • Iron, 0.7mg, 4%DV
  • Potassium, K         251.6mg,    5%DV
  • Magnesium 28.1mg,      7%DV
  • Phosphorus, P       229.5mg,    18%DV
  • Sodium       79.9mg,      3%DV
  • Zinc, Zn      1.5mg,        14%DV
  • Copper,       0.6mg, 65%DV
  • Manganese  0.4mg,        19%DV
  • Selenium, Se         31.2mcg,     57%DV

Health Benefits of Crayfish

What Are The Health Benefits Of Crayfish?

Crayfish including other shellfish are most nutritious when steamed or baked. Breaded or fried crayfish may contain additional calories, refined carbs, added salt, and other unhealthy ingredients.

Below are the top benefits of crayfish including other shellfish:

1. Promote Heart health

When regularly consumed in moderation crayfish is good source of Omega-3 fatty acid and vitamins B12 which offer a range of heart health benefits.

Studies have linked eating omega-3 fatty acids from fish, including crayfish to a lower risk of heart disease. This is likely because omega-3s have anti-inflammatory effects.

One study conducted on 18,244 healthy men in China found that those who ate more than 7 ounces (200 grams) of omega-3-rich shellfish (including crayfish) per week were 59% less likely to die from a heart attack than those who ate less than 1.74 ounces (50 grams) per week.

Studies shown that inadequate intake of vitamin B12 has been linked to high blood levels of homocysteine, a protein that can increase your risk of heart disease.

Therefore, eating foods rich in vitamin B12 may protect against heart disease.

2. Crayfish is good choice for Weight Loss

Crayfish including other shellfish are low in calories and high in lean protein and healthy fats — making them excellent foods to eat while trying to lose weight.

Protein-rich foods keep you feeling full and satisfied, which may prevent you from eating excess calories, helping you lose or maintain weight.

One study conducted on overweight adults found that those who ate more omega-3 fatty acids on a calorie-restricted diet felt significantly fuller after meals than those who ate less omega-3 on the same diet.

3. Good for Pregnant women

Crayfish is good source of folate (a natural form of folic acid).  If you’re pregnant you can testify how often your healthcare prescribed folic acid for you.

Folate requirements increase during pregnancy, in order to meet the maternal and fetal metabolic needs. It help in the development and growth of the foetus.

No wonder my mother often prepare fresh vegetables with crayfish and beef liver when pregnant. Beef liver is a rich source of folate and vitamins B12.

Try making this kind of recipe three or two times in a week during pregnancy and you will have nothing to worry about folic acid or lack of blood.

Remember to add one egg and keep the portion of crayfish to one small cup each time.

4. Good for Your Brain

The nutrients in crayfish that are good for your heart are also vital for brain health.

Several studies have identified inadequate blood levels of vitamin B12 and omega-3 as risk factors for issues with brain development in children and with healthy brain function in adults.

Some research also suggests that vitamin B12 and omega-3 fatty acids may enhance each other’s activities to promote brain health.

One study carried on 168 older adults with mild mental impairment found that B vitamins slowed the progression of brain issues in those who had higher blood levels of omega-3 fatty acids compared to those with lower levels.

5. Crayfish are rich in nutrients that boost immune system.

Some types of crayfish (including other shellfish) are loaded with immune-boosting zinc.

This mineral is necessary for developing cells that make up your body’s immune defense. It also acts as an antioxidant, protecting against damage from inflammation.

One study conducted on 62 healthy adults over the age of 90 found that zinc deficiency was associated with decreased activity of certain immune cells.

Regularly eating shellfish including crayfish, oysters, clams, mussels, lobster, and crab — may improve your zinc status and overall immune function.

Related: Check out Why You should be Eating Bone Marrow?

Related: What’s the Best Food to Eat during Pregnancy? (According to the dietitian)

Potential Side Effects Of Crayfish

Does crayfish have negative side effects in the body?

1. Allergic Reactions

One of the primary dangers of eating crayfish is the risk of allergic reactions. Crayfish belong to the crustacean family, and individuals who are allergic to shellfish may also be allergic to crayfish.

Allergic reactions can range from mild symptoms like itching and hives to severe reactions such as difficulty breathing or anaphylaxis.

People with known shellfish allergies should avoid consuming crayfish to prevent potentially life-threatening reactions.

2.Bacterial Contamination

Crayfish, like other seafood, can be contaminated with bacteria such as Vibrio and Salmonella.

These bacteria can cause foodborne illnesses leading to symptoms like nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and fever.

Proper handling, cooking, and storage of crayfish are essential to minimize the risk of bacterial contamination.

It is crucial to purchase crayfish from reputable sources and ensure they are fresh, properly cleaned, and thoroughly cooked to kill any harmful bacteria.

3. May increase blood pressure

Eating crayfish in excess on daily basis may lead to high blood pressure and heart attack. Although the human studies pointing out this effect are controversial as their result are contradicting.

One animal study found that there’s an increase in insulin-like-binding protein in crayfish (including other crustacean which may negatively interfere blood pressure and contribute to heart attack.

Several studies shown that this insulin-like-binding-protein directly favours your appetite partway.

Due to the inconsistency in result supporting the effect of insulin-like-binding protein some research suggest that other factors may be responsible for the increase blood pressure reported hence more control studies are needed to conclude.

4. Parasitic Infections

According to Center for Diseases Control, Crayfish can harbor various parasites that may pose risks to human health.

Lung fluke (Paragonimus spp.) is one parasite that can infect humans when raw or undercooked crayfish are consumed.

Lung fluke infection can lead to symptoms like coughing, chest pain, fever, and fatigue. Another concern is the presence of fish tapeworm (Diphyllobothrium spp.) in crayfish.

Ingesting raw or improperly cooked crayfish infected with fish tapeworm can result in intestinal infection causing symptoms like abdominal pain.

Proper cooking techniques, such as boiling or steaming crayfish until they reach an internal temperature of at least 145°F (63°C), can help eliminate these parasites and reduce the risk of infection.

5. Heavy Metal Contamination

Crayfish, being bottom-dwelling organisms, may be exposed to heavy metals and other pollutants depending on their area of habitat.

They can accumulate contaminants such as mercury, lead, cadmium, and arsenic

Excess daily and prolonged consumption of such contaminated shellfish with these heavy metals may have toxic effects on human health.

One study found that crayfish including other shellfish in some areas may contain cadmium levels that are twice the recommended daily limit for human intake.

Crayfish may also contain mercury, but generally have less than larger fish.

The FDA recommends that adults eat 3–5 ounces (85–140 grams) of low-mercury fish twice a week.

If the amount of crayfish you eat per week is equal to or less than that, heavy metals should not be of concern.

One Nigeria study published in 2020 found that the amount of heavy metal found in Nigeria crayfish are low when compared to recommended daily intake except for the cadmium. As a result crayfish should not be consumed in excess.

Fortunately the quantity of crayfish used in cooking a pot of soup, stew or other food in Nigeria is relatively very small to pose a health risk.

6. Asthma Triggers

Crayfish and other crustaceans contain compounds known as tropomyosins, which can trigger allergic reactions and exacerbate asthma symptoms in susceptible individuals.

One UK study shown that The processing of seafood (fish and shellfish) for human consumption can lead to health consequences, including occupational asthma (OA).

People with asthma or respiratory conditions should be cautious when consuming crayfish and other shellfish.


Eating crayfish in moderation is the key to gaining all the essential nutrients it contains without worrying about the effects and health conditions that its high consumption might cause or trigger.

The nutrients in crayfish helps in improving the general wellbeing of the body which includes the muscle, skin, eyes, blood, brain, bone etc.

Potential side of crayfish include allergy in some individual, parasite contamination, heavy mental contamination, asthma trigger.

Excess consumption of crayfish may increase blood pressure, although the connection are not yet clear hence control studies are needed.

I hope you get the value worth your time, I appreciate the time you spend with me. Leave a comment below if you find this article helpful and don’t forget to drop your question, opinion or criticism if any. Cheers!


The content provided in Living Good is for informational and educational purpose only. It’s not intended to provide medical advice or take the place of such advice or treatment from a personal doctor. All readers/viewers of this content are advised to consult their qualified health professionals regarding specific health questions. Living Good takes no responsibility for possible health consequences of any person(s) reading or following the information in this educational content. Viewers of this content, especially those taking prescription or over the counter medication, should consult their physicians before beginning any nutrition, supplement or lifestyle program.

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