Thanksgiving marks the beginning of the holiday season. It's a day of thanks and sharing the of bounty around us with family and community ... that bounty is expressed through an expansive Thanksgiving dinner, centered around a roasted turkey. Much attention is paid to the fat, sweets and extra calories that come with Thanksgiving dinner, but a closer look at the star of the meal is may help you enjoy your meal without guilt.
Turkey meat is packed with rich, healthy nutrients and can protect against certain types of cancer and diseases. Low in fat, high in protein, it is a good source of iron, phosphorus, potassium and B vitamins. It is also filled with zinc and selenium, which supports cell and tissue repair and growth. Selenium is necessary for thyroid and immune system health and helps eliminate free radicals in the body that are linked to cancer.
One of the most-asked questions on thanks giving is 'white or dark meat?' Stick to white meat if your watching your weight! While white meat is considered healthier and is leaner than dark meat because of its lower fat content, the dark meat is rich in iron. In fact there are several reasons to thank your turkey for the nutritional gifts it offers!
Protein: There are about 32g of protein in a 4-oz. serving of turkey, approximately 65 percent of your recommended daily intake of protein!
Cancer Protection: A little-known health benefit of turkey is that it contains trace minerals thought to aid in cancer prevention. Turkey contains selenium, which is essential for the healthy function of the thyroid and immune system. Selenium also has an essential role to play in your antioxidant defense system, helping to eliminate cancer-friendly free radicals in the body.
B Vitamins: Turkey is a good source of vitamins B3 and B6. A serving of turkey meat has 36 percent of the daily allowance of B3 and 27 percent of your recommended intake of B6.
Less Saturated Fat: Turkey has under 12 percent of the recommended daily allowance of saturated fat per 4-oz. serving.
Immune Booster: There is a growing body of evidence suggesting that the amino acid tryptophan plays a vital role in the immune system. In a study on mice it was found that tryptophan metabolites, work as well as any other existing medicines to alleviate symptoms of the autoimmune disease multiple sclerosis.
Need some help controlling the amount you eat? Eat the vegetables first.
Eating fiber-rich green vegetables first will help limit the total calories you eat during the meal. Low in calories, and high in fiber, the veggies slow digestion, helping you feel fuller sooner.