Seafood is an important protein source in many countries. It's highly nutritious, low in calories, and versatile in the kitchen, with many cuisines having specialty dishes created around a seafood variety.
However, not all species that live in the sea are edible, and some are incredibly poisonous. This can apply to species that appear very similar; for example, most fish are edible, but eating the wrong part of a puffer fish could quite easily kill you.
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Can You Eat Coconut Crab?
Coconut crab is edible and a delicacy in many Indo-Pacific nations. Unfortunately, it's such a popular dish in these countries that it's now a critically endangered species in some areas.
What Are Coconut Crabs?
Coconut crabs are a terrestrial crab species extensively hunted in many Indo-Pacific countries. It's an excellent protein source, and many local people believe it's an aphrodisiac, leading it to be hunted in such numbers that it's rarely found on islands with a human population.
They can weigh up to 4kg (9 pounds) and reach 1m (3 feet) in length, and due to their size, their only predators are other coconut crabs and humans.
They're omnivores, and their diet dictates how nutritious their meat is and can occasionally make it poisonous.
Is Coconut Crab Healthy?
Coconut crab is rich in protein, which keeps you feeling full longer after eating, aiding healthy weight control. Protein also builds lean muscle and contributes to your energy levels.
It's also high in essential fatty acids, which support brain health and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. These fatty acids may also alleviate depression and anxiety, especially in cold, dark periods.
Like other crab varieties, coconut crab is low in calories and fat, with three ounces containing only 82 calories, mostly from protein.
Depending on its diet, coconut crab is an excellent source of copper, zinc, selenium, and phosphorus.
It's particularly rich in vitamin B12, with three ounces containing over 100% of the recommended daily intake. This vitamin supports blood and nerve health, boosts your immune system, and reduces your risk of cardiovascular disease.
Which Coconut Crab Parts Are Eaten?
Coconut crab tastes similar to lobster, and the most popular parts to eat are the eggs and abdomen fat. These are also the most nutritious.
It's often fried or cooked with moist heat, preserving the nutrients and flavors, and served with sides specific to the region. Most crabs are cooked in coconut milk, which pairs well with seafood.
Is Coconut Crab Bad for You?
Coconut crabs are generally safe for most. However, its diet can make its flesh poisonous, mainly if it has eaten sea creatures or plants that are poisonous to humans but harmless to crabs.
Coconut crab is also high in sodium, too much of which can increase your risk of stroke and high blood pressure.