Thanksgiving Turkey!Yes, I am sorry to report that the Food of the Month is not “stuffing.” Cuz who doesn’t love stuffing? However, as yummy as it is, it is definitely not a nutrient-dense, health-building food. So let’s talk turkey. Folks, protein is the building block of the body. A moderate 4-ounce serving of turkey has about 35 grams of high-quality protein, as well as lots of heart-healthy potassium, plenty of phosphorus, and small amounts of calcium, magnesium, and iron. Gobble, gobble! (Yes, that’s a pun…a fairly lame one, but feel free to chuckle.)
And check this out. Four ounces of turkey breast meat has about 30 mcg of selenium and the dark meat has about 45 mcg! The RDI for selenium is 70 mcg, but 200 mcg is a good target for optimal health. The almighty mineral selenium is a powerful antioxidant and is associated with lower rates of cancer. Turkey is also a great source of niacin, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, and zinc. Holy nutritional bonanza, Batman!
Turkey fat is mostly comprised of the heart-healthy monounsaturated fat, and if you’re a long-time Warren Wellness community member, at this point you understand that fat is not the enemy. Certain types of fat don’t serve us, but it’s not the ones that are harped on by our mainstream sound bytes. Turkey has happy fat!
Urban legend alert: No, you do not get tired and fall asleep after Thanksgiving dinner because of the tryptophan (an amino acid) in turkey. Truth be told, 4 ounces of yummy, juicy turkey contains less than half a gram of tryptophan. There’s actually more in ham. You get tired and fall asleep because you have just gorged yourself with food and drink. The combination of all the blood leaving your head to migrate to the digestive tract, and the sedating effect of alcohol…that’s what actually knocks you out!
About the writer – by Laurie Warren, Nutritionist, Warren Wellness, Medfield, MA
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