Turkey benefits could be stated as nothing short of amazing! It’s hard to even picture a Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner without the turkey.
Even though the holidays are a prime time for eating turkey, this meal is also a popular ground beef alternative and sandwich meat all year round. The US is the largest producer of turkey meat in the world, at around 2.5 million tons a year, compared to the 1.75 million tons produced by all European countries combined. 1
As tradition dictates, most people enjoy a big, juicy turkey for the Thanksgiving feast. Nevertheless, turkey meat has been the protein-of-choice on Thanksgiving day for centuries. Each year, the President of the U.S. gets an “official” turkey for the Thanksgiving day for the traditional White House celebration. Turkey meat is really tasty – it’s mild, yet salty and it pairs well with bread products, veggies, and fruits. From a health standpoint, this meat shows a lot of promise. Following, we present you some of the most impressive turkey benefits:
- Good Source of Protein
Turkey benefits are so great due to the fact that this meat provides 65% of the recommended daily allowance of protein in just one serving. Infants who have behavioral disorders could lack muscle tone, it’s particularly crucial to ensure kids with developmental problems have an adequate amount of protein in their diet. Lack of protein can cause lack of energy, spiciness, jitteriness, the feeling of weakness, and poor pallor. If you are experiencing this, you could calculate your daily protein requirements by taking the weight and separating it by 2.2. – it will give you your weight in kg. Next, take the weight in kilos and then multiply by 8 and you will have your daily protein needs in grams. 1 2 3 4
Many people take a rest after their Thanksgiving day meal. Why do you think this is happening? Well, it’s actually the amino acid called Tryptophan. This amino acid is a precursor to several neurotransmitters and it also works to produce serotonin and melatonin in the body that actually produces a relaxing effect. 1
- Prevent Cancer
A little-known health benefit of turkey meat is that it has trace minerals thought to assist in cancer prevention. This meat contains selenium that is important for the immune system and the healthy function of the thyroid. Selenium also has a significant role to play in the antioxidant defense system, helping to eradicate cancer-friendly free radicals in your body. 1 2 3
- Lose Weight
A serving of turkey meat has 27 percent of the recommended intake of Vitamin B6 and 36 percent of the recommended daily dose of Vitamin B3. This does wonder for the metabolism and is very effective for individuals who are chronically constipated as B vitamins assist peristaltic contractions that pass waste through the intestines. 1
- Maintain Your Brain Power and Lower Your Cholesterol
Turkey contains niacin that may help increase the HDL (“good”) cholesterol, while also helping to decrease your LDL (“bad”) cholesterol. You cannot go wrong with that! This meat is a great source of B12 that helps reduce levels of homocysteine, which can contribute to cognitive decline. 1
Turkey Nutrition Facts
According to the USDA National Nutrient database, 85 grams/3 ounces of turkey, breast, from whole bird, meat only, roasted, contains around:
- 125 calories
- 0 grams’ carbohydrate (0 grams of fiber and 0 grams of sugar)
- 26 grams of protein
- 2 grams’ fat
In comparison, 3 ounces of dark turkey meat, roasted, has about 147 calories, 0 grams of carbohydrate (0 grams of fiber and 0 grams of sugar), 5 grams of fat, and 24 grams of protein.
As we mentioned before, turkey contains vitamins B-12 and B-6, niacin, zinc, selenium, and choline. The dark meat of turkey has a tendency to contain more minerals and vitamins, but also has more calories and fat. 1
Humane Treatment of Turkeys
Numerous people have raised up questions about the quality of life for turkey, and many third-party animal welfare organizations have started to offer certifications for the producers of a turkey who would like to display certain labels on their packaging which address animal welfare problems. Generally, humane treatment animal welfare issues include:
- access to the outdoors
- the quality of the food supply
- the quality of the indoor environment
- the quality of the outdoor environment
- the naturalness of the food supply
- the role of beak trimming and debarking
- the role of forced molting
- flock size
- exposure to natural day/night cycles
- the quality of slaughter methods
- transport standards
Unluckily, current certification and labeling standards don’t provide any easy way to assure humane treatment of turkey when purchasing this meat. Just like the assurance of pasture-raising – the assurance of humane treatment is a problem that will need you to follow-up with your salesperson or directly with the producer or turkey.
Turkey is a great source of protein. Avoid eating the skin of the meat because is high in fat. Remember, skinless turkey is the one that is low in fat. White meat has less fat than the dark meat. Turkey meat is a source of phosphorus, potassium, zinc, and iron. It is also a source of niacin and vitamin B6, which are both essential for the production of energy in the body. Regular turkey consumption may help lower cholesterol levels.
Turkey benefits your mood and provides great relaxation because it contains the amino acid tryptophan that produces serotonin which plays an essential role in strengthening the immune system.
Turkey meat is also a source of selenium that is crucial for thyroid hormone metabolism. It also acts as a powerful antioxidant and boosts immunity.
If you can, always buy organic. Organically raised turkeys will have been treated humanely and are less likely to contain herbicides and pesticides.