4 surprising health benefits of eating turkey
The classic centrepiece to your Christmas or Thanksgiving table, turkey is a poultry meat with useful health credentials making it a worthy inclusion, whatever the time of year.
It’s also twice as much as people ate just 50 years ago. Since then, scientists have learned a lot about the many good things that turkey can do for your health.
Turkey packs a powerful nutritional punch and it’s healthier overall than red meat. Many people choose it as a replacement for beef in recipes.
Turkey is a great source of protein. The body uses protein to build and repair bones, muscles, cartilage, skin, blood, and tissue. Protein is a macronutrient, which means that your body needs a lot of it. Your body can’t store protein, so you need to consume it every day.
As long as you don’t eat too much turkey, it is a healthy way to get the protein you need. It’s also a good source of beneficial vitamins and minerals like magnesium and niacin.
Reduced Cancer Risk
Turkey is also an excellent source of selenium. Some studies have shown that a diet rich in the mineral may help to prevent certain kinds of cancer, including:
- Bladder cancer
- Breast cancer
- Lung cancer
- Stomach cancer
Scientists have only seen the protective effects of selenium when it’s present in the food you eat. Taking supplements doesn’t appear to have the same effect. To learn more, scientists need to do further research.
Turkey is a low glycemic index (GI) food. That means it won’t cause the blood sugar spike that you’d get from more sugar-rich and carb-rich foods. If you have diabetes, including turkey in your diet can help you to keep your blood sugar under control.
Low GI foods like turkey can also help increase levels of “good” HDL cholesterol in your body. HDL cholesterol travels through the bloodstream and helps to remove “bad” LDL cholesterol. LDL cholesterol can damage the walls of your arteries and increase your risk of heart attack and stroke. By eating foods like turkey that boost your HDL cholesterol, you can increase your resistance to these diseases.
Turkey and other kinds of poultry are part of the MIND diet. Scientists created the MIND diet to slow the mental decline associated with Alzheimer’s disease and other causes of dementia. By eating poultry products like turkey at least twice a week as part of the MIND diet, older adults may preserve their memory and thinking skills.
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