On the evening of Thanksgiving, a turkey was on the table of almost every family in the United States.
According to statistics, on Thanksgiving day, 88% of Americans eat turkey. Annually, Americans consume 736 million pounds of turkey. Since 1970, both turkey production and consumption has increased by over 100%.
Why the jump in consumption?
The unique nutritional value of turkey
When the entire world is fighting chronic illnesses caused by high blood cholesterol, inflammation diet, and contaminated red food, people turn to turkey for a healthier alternative. Turkey indeed provides a unique combination of essential nutrients that everybody needs.
1. Very high protein
100g of turkey contains 24.6 grams of protein. Turkey’s protein is also rich in a special amino acid called tryptophan. Tryptophan is converted into serotonin, a neurotransmitter that exists in our central nervous system and gastrointestinal nervous system. Serotonin helps regulate our mood, sleep, blood pressure, and intestinal motility. Serotonin can also convert into melatonin that governs our sleep-wake cycle, and is a great antioxidant too!
Children and adolescents need protein for their growth and development. The essential amino acids, important enzymes, and immune factors that our bodies need are all made of protein.
Young people need protein support for fitness and muscle training, and nutritional protein for middle-aged and older adults is also indispensable. So turkey is an important source of protein for people of all ages.
Some people may feel drowsy after eating a turkey meal and think it is due to tryptophan. In fact, although turkey is the star on the Thanksgiving dinner table, other accompanying dishes like bread, mashed potatoes, and turkey stuffing are all rich in carbohydrates. They are more likely than turkey itself to cause a large amount of insulin to be secreted in a short period. Consequently, this lowers blood sugar and makes one feel drowsy.
2. Extremely low fat and cholesterol
Turkey meat is almost free of fat and cholesterol. One hundred grams of turkey contains only 0.7 grams of fat. Turkey’s fat is mainly on the skin . Once the skin is removed, turkey meat will be very lean. In contrast, with beef and lamb, fats and proteins are mixed.
For this reason, in our previous blog, Seven Foods to Keep a Vibrant Brain, we talked about concerns when consuming too much red meat.
For people with high blood cholesterol or cardiovascular atherosclerosis, turkey meat is definitely a better choice.
3. Abundant Vitamin B3
Turkey is also rich in Vitamin B3, which is niacin. Niacin itself has the effect of lowering cholesterol, and its metabolite niacinamide also participates in regulating methylation and treating schizophrenia.
Methylation is a critical biochemical process for our human health, which controls the expression of undesirable genes. Please read more about this topic in my previous blog, Methylation Disorders, published on Oct 3, 2019.
4. Ample Zinc
Turkey is also rich in zinc. A 100-gram (3.5-ounce) serving of turkey contains around 4mg of zinc. This zinc is not only essential to the health of our gastrointestinal tract, but it is also an essential factor for our central nervous system and immune function. It can regulate our emotions and improve our tolerance for mental stress and directly block the replication of viruses in cells. During the current coronavirus epidemic, it is particularly important for our health.
It is also essential to promote wound healing and skin health.
5. Plenty Vitamin B6
Turkey is also rich in Vitamin B6. Vitamin B6 is an essential cofactor for producing neurotransmitters in our body, such as dopamine, norepinephrine, serotonin, and r-aminobutyric acid (GABA). Vitamin B6 is essential for us to fight depression, dementia, anxiety, premenstrual tension syndrome, and other neuropsychiatric diseases.
Childbearing and pregnant women, as well as patients with anemia, often suffer from vitamin B6 deficiency. For them, turkey is a significant food choice.
6. Great vitamin B12 and folate
Turkey has a large amount of Vitamin B12 and folic acid. Vitamine B12, also known as cobalamin, is an essential vitamin that your body needs but cannot produce on its own. Vitamin B12 supports the normal function of your nerve cells and is needed for red blood cell formation and DNA synthesis. Vitamin B12 may also boost your energy, improve your memory, and help prevent heart disease.
Folate, on the other hand, helps the synthesis, repair, and regulation of DNA. Together with Vitamin B12, Folate converts homocysteine to methionine. High Homo
cysteine levels are toxic to the heart and brain. Methionine is an amino acid that’s used for protein synthesis or converted into S-adenosylmethionine (SAMe). SAMe is necessary for numerous cellular reactions involving liver detox and brain functions.
7. Bountiful selenium
Turkey meat also contains a large amount of selenium. Selenium is a powerful antioxidant that fights oxidative stress. It helps defend the body against heart disease and cancer. Selenium may also help prevent mental decline and improve memory loss in the elderly population. Selenium is necessary for thyroid hormone production and may help people with thyroid disease. Selenium helps boost the immune system and reduce inflammation. It may help people fight asthma, HIV, tuberculosis, flu, hepatitis, and definitely COVID-19!
Nowadays, 30% of turkey is consumed on holidays, while 70% is consumed on ordinary days. Turkey is made into sandwiches, salad, and meatballs !
After learning the wonderful nutritional value that turkey has, you may want to rush into stores to buy it. Before you act, the following information may change your mind about what kind of turkey you purchase.
Caged versus free-range turkeys
The average lifespan of a turkey is usually about ten years. Turkeys that grow up in a natural environment on the wide-open ranch spend their days running around in the open air and eat grass and grains. The physical activities and exposure to the sun keep them fit, strong, and healthy.
Today, most turkeys sold on the market are raised in large quantities in farm cages. They are fed with food full of hormones, injected with antibiotics, and artificially matured. They often grow up in a filthy and dirty environment and usually slaughtered within five months.
Accordingly, free-range sourced turkey is your best bet.
Turkey Meatball Soup
Turkeys are huge in size, and it takes a long time to prepare and cook them. We can only afford the time to do that once or twice a year on Thanksgiving or Christmas Days. Without a large group of people, you may have to eat the leftovers for the entire week!
Turkey is also rough in texture and tasteless, in comparison with chickens. The turkey meat used in salad and sandwich is often processed with additives.
Here is a great alternative, free of all these problems. Yes, turkey meatball soup!
Start with a pound of ground organic turkey. Mix it well with tropped green onion (5), fresh ginger (1), ¼ cup of gorgon powder, egg white (4 eggs), plus ¼ cup of organic soy sauce, 2 table spoon of sea salt, and ½ cup of cooking wine.
You can use the soup spoon to make your ground turkey mix into ball shapes, and then drop them into the boiling water one by one. When the meatballs float up, cook them for an additional 10 minutes. You can add some vegetables such as spinach, mushrooms, seaweed, or whatever to your like. The meatball is tender, tasty, and rich in nutrients, and the soup is simply delicious!