With Turkey Day almost upon us, I thought it seemed pertinent to focus on the nutritional profile of the traditional Thanksgiving main course- turkey. Most people think of the Thanksgiving Day feast as a time of unhealthy choices but it doesn’t have to be. Fill your plate wisely and you can create a nutritious, health supporting meal.
Turkey is a rich source of protein, making it excellent at keeping post-meal insulin levels within the optimal range. Four ounces of skinned turkey breast will provide 30-35 grams of protein, with less than 1 gram of total fat.
Turkey is loaded with tryptophan, a neurotransmitter, responsible for producing and boosting serotonin. Serotonin is considered the feel good neurotransmitter. Research suggest that a serotonin deficiency could cause an increase in stress and severe depression. Tryptophan also plays an important role in strengthening the immune system and promoting sleep.
Turkey is also a good source for phosphorus, important for strong teeth and bones.
Turkey is a rich source of the all the B vitamins. The B6 and niacin present in turkey are essential for energy production in the body. Niacin is also important for converting the proteins, fats and carbohydrates in the body into usable energy.
All turkeys have some omega threes, the good fat, present in their meat but pasture raised turkey is the richest source. Omega 3 content is impacted by the turkey’s diet.
Turkey may also be helpful in the fight against cancer. A four ounce serving provides 60% of your DRI of the trace mineral selenium, which is essential for thyroid hormone metabolism and immune system function. Scientific studies have suggested that selenium intake can decrease the risk of cancer.
Remembering all these amazing benefits of turkey, reminds me why I love it so much!
Photo found on flickr.