Is Turkey Sausage Good For You
Turkey is not only the world’s largest country but also its most popular export. As of 2012, it exported $28 billion worth of goods, making it a very important part of global trade. In recent years, turkey has become increasingly popular among Americans as more people are looking for healthier alternatives to their favorite foods. This may be due to the fact that there have been numerous studies conducted on turkeys recently which have shown promising results. The following will discuss some health benefits associated with eating turkey.
Health Benefits of Turkey
Turkey contains many nutrients including Vitamin B12, folic acid (Vitamin B9), Zinc, Iron, Manganese, Calcium, Phosphorus, Selenium, Iodine, Copper, Riboflavin, Niacin, Pantothenic Acid, Potassium, Sodium, Choline and Omega 3 fatty acids. These vitamins and minerals play an essential role in maintaining healthy skin, hair, nails, teeth, bones, muscles, nerves, blood circulation, heart, lungs, digestion, metabolism, immunity, reproduction, and growth. They help maintain proper body functions such as breathing, blood pressure, beating of the heart, etc. Their deficiency can cause serious problems ranging from fatigue, weakness, loss of appetite, memory impairment, depression, etc. Turkeys are also good sources of fiber and low-fat proteins.
Protein is one of the main components of muscles and other tissues. Proteins consist of amino acids which are the building blocks of muscle tissue. There are three types of proteins; namely structural proteins, enzymes and transport proteins. Structural proteins include collagen and elastin. Collagen forms connective tissue and helps keep our bodies firm by supporting them structurally. Elastin is used to provide elasticity to our skin and allows us to stretch or bend without breaking. Enzymes perform chemical reactions within cells. Some of these enzymes are responsible for manufacturing hormones. Transport proteins carry molecules across cell membranes. Examples of this kind of protein include albumin which transports fats into the liver where they are processed into cholesterol, transferring vitamin D3 and calcium into intestines so that they reach the bloodstream, etc.
Turkey meat is generally leaner than beef and pork. According to research done by Cornell University, compared to pork and beef, turkey is significantly lower in calories (about half the amount) and saturated fat (about two thirds less). However, it still retains about 80% of the total protein content found in pork and beef. Additionally, turkey is relatively high in monounsaturated fats, specifically omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids which are known to reduce inflammation. These fatty acids are widely distributed throughout the turkey meat. A study published in “The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition” showed that consumption of poultry products like chicken and turkey instead of red meat reduces risk of cardiovascular diseases by lowering levels of LDL cholesterol. Another study published in “Nutrition Reviews” shows that people who eat poultry tend to experience fewer symptoms of osteoarthritis. Poultry was also found to be effective at relieving chronic back pain.
It should be noted that although turkey is quite beneficial when it comes to reducing risks of certain diseases, consuming too much of it can lead to nutritional deficiencies. Therefore, it is recommended to consume no more than 2 pounds of turkey per week. If you choose to eat turkey, make sure you buy organic, free-range varieties as they contain even higher amounts of omega 6 fatty acids. Also, try to avoid deep fried turkey as it tends to increase unhealthy fats in your diet.
Healthy Recipes With Turkey
As we discussed above, turkey provides many health benefits. Below are several recipes using turkey that are tasty and nutritious.
1. Turkey Meatloaf – One of my favorite meals is made out of ground turkey. To prepare this meal, all you need is some spices, onion, garlic and egg. Mix together the ingredients well and then form into small round balls. Be careful not to overwork the mixture because it will result in tough meatballs. Bake the meatballs for 30 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Stuffed Peppers – This recipe uses turkey breast rather than ground turkey. Cut the turkey into pieces and season with salt, pepper and rosemary. Put some stuffing mix inside each piece and stuff the turkey. Then cut off the top stem of green bell peppers and remove seeds. Fill the peppers with the seasoned turkey and wrap tightly with aluminum foil. Bake for 45 minutes at 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
3. Spaghetti Sauce – Use turkey slices instead of pork chops for this recipe. Season with herbs and spices. Place the slices in a pan and cover with water. Add tomato sauce, basil leaves, oregano, onions and bay leaf. Cook covered until tender. Remove the bay leaf before serving.
4. Turkey Soup – Take 1 pound cubed turkey along with celery, carrots, potatoes, onions, garlic, thyme, parsley and peppercorns. Pour enough water into pot to completely submerge the items. Bring the soup to boil and let simmer for about 4 hours. After cooking, take out the vegetables and discard the broth and set aside. Process the turkey with cornstarch to get rid of excess moisture. Return the vegetable stock to the pot and add the turkey. Let cook for another hour and serve hot.
5. Turkey Pasta – Prepare a whole wheat pasta according to package directions. While the pasta cooks, heat olive oil in a large skillet. Saute chopped onions, grated parmesan cheese and crushed red pepper flakes. When onions start to brown, add ground turkey and continue cooking until warmed through. Drain the cooked pasta and put into the pan with the turkey. Toss around gently and serve warm.
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