Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Let's talk Turkey.....Ignored 11 months out of the year!


Turkey Contains:
  • Low fat protein
  • Niacin
  • Vitamin B6
  • Vitamin b12
  • Iron
  • Selnium
  • Zinc
3 to 4 servings per week of 3 to 4 ozs per serving.

Turkey: Low Fat Protein, the skinless turkey breast is one of the leanest meat protein source on the planet.  This alone makes it a power food. But turkey also offers rich array of nutrients, particularly niacin, selenium, vit b6,12 and zinc. 

These nutrients are heart healthy and also valuable in helping lower the risk of cancer.

Protein has become a loaded word these days.  High protein, low carb...they are concepts that have dominating nutrition discussion in the recent years.  

What's the truth?  First, a very brief chemistry lesson...much of our body , including muscles , organs, skin, hair and enzimes, is made primarily made of protein.  Protein is in every cell and is nessessary for life.  Protein in turn is composed of amino acids.  Some amino acids are manufactured by the body.  Nine others called essential amino acids must come from foods we eat.  Some foods including all animal proteins, like eggs, meat and fish, contains all of the essential amino acids and they are called complete proteins.  Other foods particularly plant foods , are incomplete proteins, they must be made complete proteins by getting there missing amino acids from other sources.  Thats why vegetarian must rely on certain combinations of foods.e.g., brown rice and beans, peanut butter and whole grain bread, whole grain mac and cheese. in order to get complete protein.

Dont't worry to much about your total protein intake.  Instead think about healthy sources of protein and how to increase them in your diet.  Foods like nuts, grains, soy, turkey, seafood such as salmon, oysters, clams, and sardines and low fat or non fat dairy products.

Turkey for your immune system: Turkey is rich in zinc, a remarkable nutrient that is present in all tissues of the body.   Zinc is critical for healthy immune system.  It helps promote wound healing and also normal cell division. A 3 ounce serving of  turkey breast provides about 14 percent of your daily requirements for zinc.

Turkey is a power source for Selenium: Turkey is a great source of the trace mineral selenium.  Selenium is a critical importance to human health.  It is involved in a number of bodily functions, including thryroid hormone metabolism, antioxidant defense systems, and immune function.  Scientist believe there is enoguh evidence to suggest there is a strong relationship between selenium intake and the risk for cancer.  This is due to the role that selenium repairs the dna. 

Fresh ground turky can be an excellent food, but read the lable carefully.  It should be ground from breast meat with no added skin.  Sometimes its ground including skin , fat, and dark meat.  Look for turkey that 99% fat free.
Some favorite ways to use turkey:
  • Whole fresh baked turkey remove skin after baking.  We stuff its cavity with lemons, orange, onion, apple..cut into half pieces.  This alows the citrus to penetrate the meat while cooking and mositens and tenderizes at the same time.
  • A turkey sandwich on whole grain bread with lettuce tomatoe and avocado. a smear of mayo or mustard. 
  • Turkey with a bit of barbecue sauce ( love that lycopene!) Take it to work in a container with some cranberry sauce. 
  • Turkey soup with plenty of veggies...celery, carrots, turnips, corn, tomatoes, thyme and rosemary,  lemon zest , orange zest..yummy good.
  • Lean ground turkey meat in spagehtti sauce.
Tip: buy only whole turkey without added fats and oils.  Self basting birds contain partially hydrogenated soy or corn oil.  Check lables carefully.

Turkey is begining to increase in popularity and more and more stores carry it all year round.  Enjoy this wonderfull power food all year and gain the benefits of healthy eating. 

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