Eating Chicken is Healthy?
Part of the meat and beans group of the Food Guide Pyramid, chicken is full of essential nutrients that your body needs, while carrying fewer of the unhealthy qualities that other meats have. A boneless, skinless chicken breast is an excellent low-fat food that can be prepared in a variety of ways and that fits into many different cuisines.
High in Protiens
A 3-oz. boneless, skinless chicken breast packs 27 g of protein, containing all the amino acids essential for human health. Protein is a major building block of all muscular tissue in your body, including skeletal muscle, heart tissue and smooth muscle found in the walls of your intestines. Proteins are also responsible for the maintenance and building of other structures in the body, such as cells and bone, and the performance of many crucial jobs, including the breakdown of toxins.
Chicken, like its brother fowl the turkey, is high in an amino acid called tryptophan, which gives you that comforting feeling after consuming a big bowl of mom’s chicken soup. In fact, if you’re feeling depressed, eating some poultry will increase the serotonin levels in your brain, enhance your mood, blasting stress, and lulling you to sleep.
Chicken is a great source of selenium, a trace element that has been shown to fight cancer. Selenium is also thought to have a positive effect on the incidence of other degenerative diseases, including inflammatory diseases, cardiovascular disease, neurological diseases and infections. Selenium is an antioxidant and has positive affect on the activity of vitamins C and E in their ability to fight cancer-promoting free radicals. Chicken contains 24 micrograms of selenium per 3-ounce portion, or 44 percent of the selenium you need daily.
Prevent Bone Loss
If you’re entering your senior years and you’re concerned about Osteoporosis or arthritis, eating chicken will aid in your fight against bone loss thanks to the protein punch it packs!
Poultry for heart
Fortunately for us, eating chicken breast suppresses and controls homocysteine levels. Homocysteine is an amino acid that can cause cardiovascular disease if levels are high in the body.
Plenty of Phosphorus
Chicken is also rich in phosphorus, an essential mineral that supports your teeth and bones, as well as kidney, liver, and central nervous system function.
Vitamin B6 (or B-complex vitamins or pyridoxine) encourage enzymes and metabolic process of protien and carbohydrates (or a process known as Methylation), which means eating this bird will keep blood vessels healthy, energy levels high, and metabolism burning calories so you can manage a healthy weight and activity level. Without vitamin B6, your immune system, metabolism and central nervous system would not function properly. The active form of Vitamin B6, called pyridoxal phosphate (PLP), has the largest effect on human metabolism. Each serving of chicken contains 40 percent of your daily recommended vitamin B-6 intake.
Rich in Niacin
Vitamin B3, also known as niacin,one particular B-vitamin that guards against cancer and other forms of genetic (DNA) damage, is found in plentiful amounts in poultry and meat. Vitamin B3 is responsible for converting carbohydrates to energy and maintaining the health of the body’s cells. Vitamin B3 has also been shown to have cholesterol-lowering effects, and therefore it is thought to have a positive effect on the reduction of the risk for heart disease in those who have high cholesterol levels. Chicken provides 84 percent of the daily niacin intake for women and 74 percent for men.
A chicken breast is relatively low in saturated fat compared to many protein alternatives, especially when the skin is removed. By substituting chicken for higher-fat cuts of meat, you will lower your risk of developing heart disease by reducing your LDL, or “bad” cholesterol. Eating lower-fat alternatives will also help you maintain a healthy weight. Grilling, broiling and baking are great cooking methods to keep the fat content at its lowest.
Promotes Eye Health
Chicken is high in retinol, alpha and beta-carotene, and lycopene, all derived from vitamin A, and all vital for healthy eyesight.
Essential For Healthy Tissue Growth
A boost in riboflavin (or Vitamin B2), found in chicken livers, will drastically reduce your skin problems and repair dry or damaged skin like chapped lips, cracked mouths, tongue sores, or dry skin.
Eating Chicken Is Good or Bad?
Chicken is easy to prepare in a healthy way by grilling, roasting, sauteing, poaching, stir-frying and baking. According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, we should be eating lean sources of protein, including chicken. It is recommended to remove the visible fat and skin from chicken before eating to decrease unnecessary calories from fat. Here is a comparison of 3-ounces of chicken breast with and without the skin:
Without the skin:
Fat: 3 grams
Saturated Fat: 1 gram
Cholesterol: 73 milligrams
Protein: 27 grams
With the skin:
Fat: 8 grams
Saturated Fat: 8 gram
Cholesterol: 82 milligrams
Protein: 29 grams
As with most meat and poultry, it can get expensive. The problem is, most folks eat much higher portions that they really need. Purchasing 3-4 ounces cooked (about 4-5 ounces raw) per person can help keep portions at bay and control costs.
Conventionally raised chickens are often treated with antibiotics in order to make them grow faster or combat the effects of crowded living conditions. The high usage of antibiotics has led to an increased risk of bacteria developing antibiotic resistance. While they offer different pros and cons, free-range, organic and local poultry can provide more eco-friendly alternatives but cost a pretty penny.
Salmonella is another concern with chicken. The government no longer tests poultry for salmonella, instead we rely on preventative measures to keep our food safe. This includes food safety procedures from the slaughterhouse to the supermarket, which are checked by food inspectors (AKA sanitarians). It also means that consumers need to be careful how they handle raw chicken including preventing cross-contamination with ready-to-eat foods like fruits and veggies and making sure the chicken is cooked to a minimum internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
This lean meat can definitely be part of a healthy diet in appropriate portions. However, if you’re worried about how our feathered friends are raised and you have the funds, purchase antibiotic-free varieties.
HOW MUCH IS ENOUGH… CHICKEN?
Not enough: Less than 200g a day
Contrary to popular advice, it is worth counting your chickens. If you’re an average 12st (76kg) man, you need at least 200g of it each day. Without it, you risk looking like a Sunday league player the morning after his stag night: slow and off the mark. 200g of chicken provides your recommended daily allowance (RDA) of protein: 0.8g per kilo of body weight. “If you’re even slightly deficient in protein you can’t build muscle tissue,” says sports nutritionist Matt Lovell (fourweekfatloss.com).
Aside from protein, chicken contains high levels of selenium (39% of your RDA per 100g), an important mineral if you want a hatchling of your own. University of Edinburgh research found that selenium boosts your fertility.
This bird also comes ready stuffed to protect your heart: a chunky chicken sandwich provides 30% of your RDA of the vitamin B6, which makes you twice as likely to dodge heart disease as people who don’t get enough. Clucking hell.
Enough: 450-550g a day
Getting your hands on breasts is rarely an invitation to turn down. Leaner than thighs or drumsticks, a single 100g breast portion provides 30g of protein for the price of just 1g of saturated fat. By comparison, a trimmed sirloin steak gifts your arteries 15g of heart-bashing sat fats for exactly the same amount of protein.
Chicken wins, clearly. But for best results, skin your meat before you eat it. If you leave it on you’re looking at finger-lickin’ bad news. The extra sat fats in the skin increase your levels of cholesterol, found to cause 27% of coronary heart problems in a study in Circulation. To bulk up, Lovell recommends 2.2g of protein per kilo of body weight a day – that’s around 500g of chicken for a 12st (76kg) man.
It’s important to mix up your sources of protein. So follow a tuna salad at lunch with a chicken stir-fry for dinner. And sprinkle some pine nuts for an extra 14g of protein per portion. And just to confirm, a ‘bargain bucket’ never counts.
Too much: More than 550g a day
Mainline on chicken and you’re in danger of crowding out other nutritional benefits. “It’s vital not to neglect other sources of protein such as fish, eggs and lean red meat, which offer useful amounts of iron, good for the immune system, and B12, important for energy metabolism,” says NHS dietitian Tracy Purbrick. Grill a tuna steak for dinner instead and, as well as a lean helping of protein, you will find making spreadsheets and re-tuning Freeview boxes unexpectedly easy.
Research at the University of Manchester revealed that vitamin D, which is found aplenty in tuna, sharpens your mental processes. Just don’t embark on your own never-ending chicken run. That will only see your money flushed down the toilet, Lovell says. “There is a limit on how much protein your body can use,” he says. “Eat too much and it’s going to be excreted as waste product.” So keep to the right amounts to stay high in the pecking order.
- Raw: 553g
- Cooked: 368g
Cook chicken really thoroughly. The fleshy pink undercooked chicken literally makes you think of ecoli .
How To Weigh Cooked Meat
Now, if you cook your meat thoroughly, there will be less water (and weight) in the finished product. For instance, take two identical pieces of raw meat and cook one rare and the other well-done. The well-done piece will weigh less than the rare piece.
Weighing Well-Done Meat
Examples: Hockey-puck hamburger or Vacanti-dry chicken breast
When weighing (cooked) well-done meat, multiply the weight by 1.5 and use the meat’s raw nutrition facts
Weighing Rare Meat
Examples: Seared ahi tuna or Pittsburgh rare steak.
When weighing (cooked) rare meat, multiply the weight by 1.1 and use the meat’s raw nutrition facts.
You heat up two chicken breasts that were left over from that weekend BBQ. They were cooked pretty thoroughly but not torched. So you decide on a 1.4x multiplier.
We know that 4 ounces (113g) of chicken breast contains 24g protein, 0g carbs and 1g fat.
Weigh the two cooked chicken breasts: 6.8 ounces. 6.8 x 1.4 = 9.52 ounces
We have 2.38 (4 ounce) servings, or 57g protein, 0g carbs, 2g fat.
That’s it; weigh your meat raw.
If you can’t weigh your meat raw, go ahead and multiply the weight of your cooked meat by a 1.1 – 1.5 as described above to appropriately apply the meat’s nutrition facts.