As the Thanksgiving season comes around, most people are eagerly awaiting the different holiday staples: green bean casserole, mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie. Of course, the real star of the show is the turkey. Thanksgiving wouldn’t be complete without a big turkey on the table! However, because of its connection with a celebration, many people end up eating excessive amounts, leaving some to wonder if it really is good for the health. As a matter of fact, turkey has a lot of health benefits!
Not only is it delicious, it’s also low in fat and calories and high in various important nutrients. You can enjoy it year round, too, not just on Thanksgiving.
Turkey: What Is It?
Turkey is not just a festive meal for the holiday season; it may also benefit your overall well-being. It is a powerhouse of various essential nutrients and has a lower cholesterol and fat content than any other meats, like chicken, pork and beef.
You can incorporate turkey into your diet in a lot of ways, like adding turkey breast to your sandwiches and salads. Nutritionists suggest removing the skin to avoid excess calories and buying fresh turkeys from the market, as the frozen ones tend to be loaded with preservatives and sodium, which aren’t healthy.
Turkey is a great source of vitamin B6, vitamin B12, niacin, protein, zinc and amino acids like tryptophan. Furthermore, it also have some anti-cancer properties. It is a good source of trace minerals, such as selenium, an essential component for the metabolism of the thyroid hormone, immune function and antioxidant defense systems.
Some people believe turkey possesses various mood-enhancing properties. Its tryptophan produces serotonin, which helps improve the mood. Tryptophan also plays a vital role in making strengthening the immune system and treating chronic insomnia.
Nutritional Facts of Turkey
Turkey is low in carbohydrates and calories, yet loaded with various essential nutrients like riboflavin, phosphorus, selenium and protein.
An 84-gram serving (3 oz.) of turkey breast may contain:
|Principles||Amount||% Daily Value|
|Vitamin C||4.8 milligrams||9%|
The turkey breast also contains vitamin B6, thiamin, zinc, potassium, and iron.
Health Benefits of Turkey
Here are some of turkey’s most amazing health benefits:
- May help fight depression. The tryptophan content of the turkey is beneficial in treating depression, as it helps boost the production of serotonin. Serotonin is what controls your mood, and a deficiency in it has been connected to a much higher risk of depression.
- Rich in selenium. Turkey can supply about 27 percent of the body’s daily selenium requirements in every 3-ounce serving. This plays a vital role in a lot of health aspects. Selenium boosts the metabolism, increases immunity and acts as an antioxidant to protect against free radicals and inflammation.
- Helps with losing weight. Turkey meat is low in calories and high in protein, making it a great way to shed some pounds. A diet rich in protein helps reduce the levels of ghrelin, the hunger hormone.
- Helps promote better sleep. The tryptophan in turkey helps regulate sleep. This is the best health benefit of turkey, especially for those suffering from insomnia.
- High in protein. The protein content of the turkey improves skin, hair and nail health. It also helps transport oxygen, repair and regenerate tissue cells and reduce blood clotting.
What Is the Best Part of a Turkey to Eat?
People have opposing opinions on what part of the turkey taste the best. Some prefer the white meat of the breast and wings while others enjoy the rich flavour of the dark meat in the thighs and legs.
While there are some nutrional differences between the white and the dark meat, they are pretty insignificant. Even though the dark meat usually has more cholesterol, fat and calories than the white meat, it is also high in B vitamins, zinc and iron.
If you want to lose weight and cut calories, make sure to choose skinless turkey. The skin is higher in calories and fat, and doesn’t have the nutrients that you find in various other parts of the turkey.