Why you should eat more turkey
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Nutrient Database, 3 ounces of roasted turkey contains about 25 grams of protein. Compared to the average fast food burger, that’s almost twice the protein and half the fat.
Dr. Dory Jarzabkowski, a cardiologist with Advocate Heart Institute at Advocate BroMenn Medical Center in Normal, Ill., considers turkey a super food because it’s low in fat and contains many vitamins and nutrients, including iron, vitamin B6 and B12, selenium and niacin.
Dr. Jarzabkowski says that turkey is rich in the mineral selenium, which is known to lower blood pressure and help protect the heart. Selenium is important for a healthy immune system and regulates thyroid hormones, according to the American Heart Association .
“Another mineral present in turkey is zinc, which is helpful for wound healing,” Dr. Jarzabkowski says. “Adding water soluble vitamins to your diet such as vitamins B6 and B12, found in turkey, helps to protect your nervous system.”
According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, vitamin B3, also known as niacin, helps the digestive system, skin and nerves to function and is important for converting food to energy.
Although turkey is considered a super food, the improper use of cooking techniques may pose risks to one’s health.
The USDA suggests the following safety tips:
- Do not buy fresh pre-stuffed turkeys. Any harmful bacteria that may be in the stuffing can multiply very quickly.
- Do not thaw on the counter. Thawing at room temperature increases the risk of bacteria Choose safe options, such as in the refrigerator or in cold water.
- Use a food thermometer to check internal temperature of stuffing. The stuffing must reach a safe minimum internal temperature of 165 degrees.
- Cook for an appropriate time. Cook the turkey for an accurate duration, consistent to the weight.
- Always wash hands, utensils and sink. Wash anything that comes into contact with raw turkey and its juices with soap and water.
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