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Health food of the month - Turkey

December 2013

Previous Health Foods of the Month...

Lemons

Yoghurt

Anchovy


 

Diet & Supplements Index


Don’t go cold turkey on Christmas Turkey!

Most of us know that the turkey is a large bird, but the species we know today has come from one specific bird, the Meleagris gallopavo or wild turkey, that is native to the forests of north America.

Turkey is a health meat to eat as a general low fat, high protein food. It is a very rich source of protein and without its skin, is very low in fat. White meat is generally lower in calories and has less fat than dark meat, and a typical turkey consists of a high proportion of white meat, often around 70 per cent.

Turkey is also an excellent source of B vitamins, zinc and potassium, essential for cardiovascular health, nerve function, disease prevention and immune system function. Turkey also contains iron, phosphorus and niacin which is essential for the body’s energy production. There are also traces of magnesium and copper in turkey.

Being a low GI food, turkey is useful in keeping insulin levels stable and regular turkey consumption is said to help lower cholesterol levels.

Interestingly, turkey contains the amino acid tryptophan. This produces serotonin which plays an important role in keeping our immune system up to scratch, and it is also a source of selenium, which is essential for thyroid hormone metabolism.

Turkey also contains tryptophan. This has a calming effect and can even help people who have trouble sleeping as well as helping to ease anxiety, panic attacks and other nervous problems.

However, before we invest in turkeys for every meal, it is worth noting that despite all these health benefits, there is a downside.  Turkey can be very high in sodium and turkey skin is very high in fat. Too much tryptophan can make you sleepy.

But prepared properly, turkey can be a really excellent addition to any diet - and not just at Christmas time!


 


 

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