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Diet Diva

Get advice on healthy eating, nutrition, and weight loss from expert dietitian Tara Gidus. 

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Superfood of the Week: Health Benefits of Turkey

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Thanksgiving TurkeyAt last, it's turkey time again! It seems that turkey is ignored 10 months out of the year until the holiday season arrives, but with the nutritional benefits this lean protein provides, people should start thinking about including it more often. Highly nutritious, low in fat, inexpensive, versatile and always available, turkey is a must have superfood on your holiday menu this year. Here are six facts about turkey that make this food my superfood of the week.

1) Versatile and Adaptable:

Turkey can be cooked and consumed in a variety of ways – baked, roasted, barbequed, stir fried, and even as a sandwich filler. White meat is lower in calories and leaner than dark meat so be sure to choose white meat more often. Also be sure to remove the skin before eating to reduce the over all fat content of the meal. Check out this link for ideas on how to cook your turkey this holiday.

2) Lean Protein:

Protein helps to build muscle. It can also help to keep you full longer so you don’t get ravenous later. Turkey is a excellent lean protein and can serve as a replacement for other high-fat proteins at your meals.

3) Complete Protein:

Amino acids are the building blocks of protein. Some of them your body can make, and some of them must be obtained from your diet. Turkey delivers all eight essential amino acids that need to be obtained from food, making it a complete protein source.

4) Full of Minerals:

Turkey contains essential nutrients that help your body function properly including regulating blood pressure, building new cells, and boosting immunity. These minerals include phosphorus, potassium, iron, magnesium, and zinc.

5) High in Vitamins:

Turkey is a great source of B vitamins. B vitamins help with energy metabolism and normal cell activity.

6) Naturally Low in Sodium:

Sodium is needed to help regulate body function. All fresh cuts of turkey are low in sodium making this lean meat an ideal source for those trying to keep their sodium levels in check.

Myth buster:  Turkey does not make you sleepy.  Yes, it does contain tryptophan, an amino acid that assists in helping to sleep better, but red meat, milk, bananas, and a host of other foods also contain it.  The reason you’re tired after your Thanksgiving meal is NOT because of the turkey or tryptophan--it’s because you ate way too much and you’re in food coma!

Enjoy your Turkey Day!!!

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Tags: Cooking Healthy

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About the Author


MS, RD, CSSD, LD/N

Tara Gidus is a nationally recognized expert and spokesperson on nutrition and fitness.

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