Thanksgiving without a giant, buttery roast turkey gracing the dinner table is like the 4th of July without fireworks (Sorry vegans). For a traditional Thanksgiving or Christmas meal, the turkey is stuffed with a bread mixture and slow-cooked in an oven for over six hours. But you don’t have to wait for the Holidays to sink your teeth into some decadent turkey meat. You can eat it all year long, because it’s good for you. Turkey is one of the healthiest proteins you can have because of its impressive nutritional profile and low-fat content. Thanksgiving or not, here’s why you should have turkey.
Turkey Nutrition at a Glance
Turkey flesh comprises two main types: white meat and dark meat. White meat refers to the flesh from the bird’s breast area, whereas dark meat refers to legs, wings and thighs of the turkey.
The National Nutrient Database of the US Department of Agriculture says that 85 grams of turkey breast has 135 calories, 3.26g of fat and 24.7 g of protein.
The same amount of dark meat or flesh from the thighs and legs of the bird contains 173 calories, 5.13g of fat and 23.55g of proteins. From All American To Tandoori, Delicious Roast Turkey Recipes For A Scrumptious Feast.
And turkey meat has no trace of carbohydrates, making it an ideal food for those on keto or Atkins diet.
It’s also a great source of nutrients like vitamins B6, vitamin B12, niacin, choline, selenium and zinc. Thanksgiving 2018: Turkey Challenge Goes Viral Freaking Parents out!
Reduced Cardiovascular Diseases
An observational study carried out in the US among women reported an inverse relationship between eating poultry (turkey, chicken and quail meat) and the risk of developing coronary artery disease. Another study also found that substituting red meat with a daily serving of poultry reduced cardiovascular risk by 19 percent. Include These Spices In Your Diet To Melt Away Those Extra Kilos.
Turkey is healthier for the heart than red meat is because it contains lesser amounts of saturated fats, cholesterol and heme iron, all of which cause hardening of the arteries.
Promotes Weight Loss
Turkey breast is one of the leanest proteins you can eat with high protein, less fat and practically no carbs. It’s the perfect weight loss food. A high-protein diet is recommended for those looking to shed some pounds. A 2006 study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition having a high protein breakfast like turkey meat can control the hunger hormone ghrelin. It reduces hunger and banishes unnecessary cravings. 7 Reasons Why Pumpkin Is More Than Just a Jack-o-Lantern for Halloween.
Turkey contains tryptophan, an essential amino acid that helps in the production of serotonin, a mood regulator. Low serotonin levels in the body are responsible for increased anxiety and depression. Since tryptophan is not synthesised in the body, it has to be obtained through the diet.
Eating foods like turkey, banana, chocolate, oats and milk, which contain tryptophan, helps in elevating the mood by increasing the serotonin levels in the body.
But be warned that only fresh turkey meat can afford you all these benefits. Processed meat like turkey cold cuts, sausages and salamis may be full of preservatives and sodium, which are bad for health. But don’t hesitate taking an extra serving of the roast bird this Thanksgiving as long as its freshly prepared.