Let’s talk turkey
Ever tried turkey? Turkey has not really been a popular choice of lean meat in this country where fish, pork, beef, and chicken reign supreme. You might want to consider turkey as not only is it as tasty, but it is also packed with more benefits than most of its other meat counterparts too! So let’s talk turkey—about turkey!
Turkey has been a Western staple during the holidays, especially Thanksgiving. In those parts, it is also a part of the everyday diet as found in versions of nuggets, hams, and hotdogs. In the Philippines, turkey is not as widely available as in the US and Canada, but did you know that turkey farming has been around in the country since it was introduced by the Spaniards in the 1500s? While not as commercially available as fish, chicken, beef, or pork, there are still a number of turkey farms in the country. A few local groceries, health shops, and restaurants now carry them in their menu as well. That is why if you haven’t tried one, you may not look far nor travel abroad to have a taste.
Turkey has a lot of health benefits—making it a guilt-free option for those who want to try something new. Its benefits, however, depend on the parts and preparation. As with other meats, removing the skin also takes away a lot of the fat, and roasted is healthier than fried. The breast part (white meat) is slightly lower in calories than the leg, thigh, or wing (dark meat). The latter, however, has more nutrients but is also slightly higher in fat. A roasted turkey breast at 85g has almost 25g of protein according to the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Nutrient Database, which is good for satiety, muscle retention, and muscle growth. Moreover, turkey helps with energy (B vitamins), fights anemia (vitamin B12 and folate), has antioxidants (selenium) and balances the immune system (zinc, iron), promotes better sleep (tryptophan), supports bone and teeth health (phosphorus, calcium and magnesium), and is also good for metabolism (potassium).
Compared to other lean meats, turkey packs quite a punch. While fish is still the best type of meat health-wise, turkey is also high on the list too. When it comes to chicken, turkey’s benefits are at par when talking about protein, but it is still slightly higher in nutrients. Compared to red meats (beef, pork, and lamb), on the other hand, turkey is far more superior as the beef, pork, and lamb contain much higher saturated fat and are also known to raise the risk for cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and certain cancers.
As with other meats, however, choosing the right type of turkey is key. Avoid factory-farmed, processed, or pre-packed turkey meat that could be high in sodium and full of preservatives. Instead go for fresh, organic, and pasture-raised turkey that are free from harmful additives, antibiotics, and enhancers.
Turkey can be another meat option to consider if you are looking for something new and tasty to try. It is slightly healthier than chicken and as versatile as well, as it can be added to salads, soups, and sandwiches too!
As with other types of food, remember to eat in moderation because anything consumed in excess may be harmful to your health. Include turkey in your meals but do not forget to add fruits and vegetables as well for a healthy, balanced diet.