As you prepare for the Thanksgiving feast in the company of your family and friends, it is likely that the turkey will be on the menu (and will play the lead role in your delicious leftovers for days). But you might ask at one point: "Is the turkey really good for me?" Many of my clients ask me the same question. Here are the facts about turkey nutrition that's useful to know:
Turkey is rich in B vitamins and minerals
A three-ounce portion of skinless roast turkey breast provides about 120 calories, 25 grams of protein, 0 grams of carbohydrate and 2 grams of fat. Turkey also contains B vitamins and minerals, including a significant amount of selenium, which also acts as an antioxidant. And turkey provides smaller amounts of zinc magnesium and potassium. Brown meat provides more vitamins and minerals, but it also contains more calories and fat.
Grazing birds have even more nutrients
You can see different terms on turkey packages, such as "loose" or "no cage". But the one that really makes sense is "high on pasture". This means that the birds have time to look for their food on the outside. Their exposure to sunlight and a more varied natural diet increases their levels of nutrients, including anti-inflammatory fatty acids omega-3.
Organic turkey is free of antibiotics
This is important because approximately 80% of the antibiotics sold in the United States are used for animal agriculture – a practice that contributes to antibiotic resistance, according to the World Health Organization ] and the . Centers for Disease Control and Prevention . And while drug-resistant bacteria are problematic in many ways, they can also contaminate food after slaughter and spread to other farms. A recent study found that even fresh produce purchased in grocery stores was contaminated with antibiotic-resistant bacteria .
Turkey remnants may be in healthy meals for days
Add chopped turkey breast leftovers to garden salads, stir-fries, chili and soup. You can also prepare a turkey salad without mayo with chopped turkey and other diced vegetables, such as red pepper, celery, red onion and spinach. Combine with dairy-free pesto, olive tapanade, avocado puree or seasoned tahini. (For your safety, eat or discard turkey leftovers within three to four days.)
Are you excited about Turkey Day? Here are some more tips on birds:
You must cook meat well
Even if you buy an organic turkey grown on pasture, eating a poorly cooked bird or allowing its juice to contaminate other foods, can cause food poisoning. Do not thaw frozen turkey at room temperature. Thaw in the refrigerator, which takes about 24 hours for every four to five pounds. Use separate surfaces, plates, and utensils for handling pre-cooked turkey versus other foods. And be sure to cook your turkey long enough. Use a food thermometer to ensure that the temperature reaches 165 ° F in the thickest parts of the chest, thigh and wing joint.
Turkey will not make you sleepy
Turkey is often cited as a food causing drowsiness because it contains the amino acid tryptophan, a precursor to the soothing neurotransmitter serotonin. But the truth is that the amount of tryptophan in Turkey is not enough to send you to the land of dreams. (Other foods, such as chicken, nuts and seeds, contain as much or more tryptophan as turkey.) If you tend to feel sleepy after your Thanksgiving meal, it's probably due to the general heaviness of the meal. By eating a big meal, your body deviates the blood flow from your brain to your digestive system, which can prepare you for a sofa bed .
Legumes are a good herbal alternative
If you are trying to eat less meat (or if you have a vegetarian at your table ), consider legumes instead of poultry. Legumes include lentils, beans, peas and chickpeas. You can use them to make a bread-like dish, a consistent soup, or simply cook them with garlic and herbs. In addition to being naturally gluten-free and a good source of vegetable protein, fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, legumes help maintain weight, reduce waist circumference and reduce the risk of diabetes. type 2, heart disease, and some cancers.
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Cynthia Sass MPH, RD, is the editor-in-chief of nutrition at Health, a best-selling author in the New York Times, and a consultant for the New York Yankees and Brooklyn Nets.No tags for this post.