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The Health Benefits of Turkey

With the holiday season upon us, there will be plenty of turkey consumed. The World’s Healthiest Foods examines turkey and the health benefits it provides.

There is a caveat regarding turkey. The World’s Healthiest Foods recommends organic, local, pasture-raised turkey over commercially produced turkey. This is because there are greater nutritional benefits. It makes clear that when selecting a turkey ask for one that has been raised in a pasture. Avoid getting confused by labels that aren’t clear about how the animal was raised.

The turkey originally came from both North and South America. They were domesticated by native peoples in Mesoamerica and later on by Europeans. The United States produces the most turkey meat in the worlds at 2.5 million tons. The average American eats about 16.5 pounds of turkey annually with about 20% of turkey consumption occurring on Thanksgiving.

Turkey contains many kinds of nutrients. For example:

  • Vitamin B2, B3, B6, B12.
  • Selenium
  • Phosphorus
  • Zinc
  • Choline

It is also a great source of protein. There are between 30-35 grams of protein in a four ounce serving of skinned breast meat. Yet, there is only one gram of fat for that four-ounce serving.

Turkey is also a source of omega-3 fats. However, the amount of omega-3s varies depending on how the turkey was raised. This is why the World’s Healthiest Foods recommends pasture-raised turkeys, as the animals will be able to absorb more omega 3s from the food that they find in their environment. These include grass and insects.

Interestingly, both turkey and chicken are gaining more attention for lowering the risk for pancreatic cancer. However, this is dependent on consuming skinless meat.  

To prepare a turkey the World’s Healthiest Foods recommends roasting. This will take several hours to accomplish. It is important to check the internal temperature, which is between 165-170 degrees Fahrenheit when done.

Want to learn more about the health benefits of turkey? You can read the full post by the World’s Healthiest Foods here:  Turkey, Pasture-Raised.