Usually you see turkey as part of Thanksgiving and Christmas meals, but the health benefits of turkey make it an excellent source for your weekly and monthly nutritional profile.
Just like Chick-fil-A has cows promoting the consumption of chicken maybe we need an ad campaign of pigs promoting turkey consumption.
Turkey provides both dark and white meat (I prefer the dark meat) with most people preferring white meat. Given that, here is the nutritional value of 1 cup (140 grams or 5 ounces) of turkey:
Protein: 42 grams
Thiamin: 6% of RDI (Reference Daily Intake)
Riboflavin: 11% of RDI
Niacin: 48% of RDI
Vitamin B6: 38% of RDI
Vitamin B12: 9% of RDI
Calcium: 3% of RDI
Iron: 10% of RDI
Magnesium: 10% of RDI
Phosphorus: 31% of RDI
Potassium: 12% of RDI
Zinc: 19% of RDI
Selenium: 64% of RDI
Glycemic Load: 0
That’s a pretty good nutritional profile. Here are the health benefits of turkey based on this nutritional profile.
Health Benefits of Turkey
The health benefit of turkey is numerous. While the list below is not complete it will help you realize that turkey should be a key part of your weekly nutrition.
Health Benefit #1 – Protein Source
Protein is key to your overall health and turkey is a great source of concentrated protein. Proteins are used by your body to make enzymes, hormones, and other chemical compounds for optimal metabolism. And protein is a key building block for bones, muscles, cartilage, skin, and your blood.
Health Benefit #2 – Fantastic Source of Niacin
Niacin or vitamin B3 has been used since the 1950s to treat high cholesterol levels. Specifically, niacin lowers LDL (bad) Cholesterol while helping to raise HDL (good) Cholesterol. And it helps to lower triglycerides, which may prevent heart disease.
Niacin can also boost brain function, benefit your skin, and may help to reduce the symptoms of arthritis.
Health Benefit #3 – Excellent Source of Pyridoxine
Pyridoxine or vitamin B6 has been shown to improve mood and reduce the symptoms of depression. This means that it helps to promote good brain health. Plus it works with iron to prevent anemia.
For pregnant women it has been shown to be helpful in treating nausea. And vitamin B6 may be helpful in reducing the risk for heart disease by preventing atherosclerosis.
Health Benefit #4 – Good Source of Vitamin B12
Like vitamin B6, vitamin B12 helps to prevent anemia since it’s a key part of proper red blood cell formation. Additionally, vitamin B12 supports bone health to prevent Osteoporosis. It aids in reducing your risk for macular degeneration. And it can help to improve your mood while lessoning the symptoms of depression. Vitamin B12 aids in energy production.
Health Benefit #5 – Good Source of Magnesium
Magnesium is a key mineral that works with calcium to maintain the health of your bones while preventing osteoporosis. Magnesium is critical in proper heart muscle contraction. And it has been shown to help lower high blood pressure.
Magnesium also aids in digestion to help the good bacteria of your small intestine properly break down food for nutrient absorption.
Health Benefit #6 – Excellent Source of Phosphorus
Most people do not realize the numerous health benefits that come from phosphorus. In fact, I could do a separate article just on phosphorus. Here’s a brief listing of 11 key benefits:
- Aids in Bone Growth and Maintenance
- Necessary for Healthy Digestion and Elimination
- Excellent in Helping to Eliminate Toxins
- Reduces Fatigue and Muscle Weakness
- Helps to Prevent both Arthritis and Osteoporosis
- Necessary for Proper Brain Function
- Key in Protein Metabolism
- Helps the Repair of Cells at the Cellular Level
- Helps to Balance Hormones
- Can Aid in Weight Loss by Increasing Metabolism
- Needed for Proper Nutrient Absorption
Health Benefit #7 – Good Source of Zinc
Like phosphorus I could do a separate article on the health benefits of zinc. So here is a quick overview. It’s the second most abundant trace mineral in your body with iron being the most abundant.
What makes zinc so critical to your health is that it’s required for more than 300 enzymatic processes in your body. It’s needed for the proper metabolism of carbohydrates, fats, proteins, nucleic acids, and other mircronutrients. And zinc plays a role in immune functions, wound healing, cell division, blood clotting, and thyroid function.
Health Benefit #8 – Fantastic Source of Selenium
According to Dr. Mercola the health benefits of selenium are numerous especially in the prevention of chronic diseases associated with inflammation. As a powerful antioxidant it helps to prevent free radical damage, which typically results in cellular inflammation.
Plus, selenium has been linked to the prevention certain types of cancers while also boosting your immune system. And selenium is needed for proper thyroid function.
Health Benefit #9 – Zero Glycemic Load
The glycemic number associated with turkey is usually zero or 1. The glycemic number associated with food represents its effect on your blood sugar. The higher the glycemic number the greater the effect that food has on increasing your blood glucose or blood sugar.
This means that turkey is an excellent food source for all diabetics as it will not affect your blood glucose numbers. And when you examine all the other health benefits listed above, turkey can be a key nutritional source in helping to prevent diabetic complications.
Well, that’s a good summary of the health benefits of turkey based on some of its nutritional components. And while I didn’t cover everything, I’ve covered enough to help you realize that turkey needs to be a consistent part of your diet. Not just on holidays.
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