Featured Food: Turkey

It’s almost Thanksgiving so of course my featured food had to be turkey. Once a year this bird gets its day to shine, but why not eat turkey year round. Last cooking class turkey was my featured ingredient, and I had my pasture raised bird delivered the other day (it is huge!). Since so many of you are going to be eating some soon, let’s see what this overlooked bird (damn chickens get all the attention) has to offer. Let’s begin with the obvious, turkey is a very good source of protein (no brainer, duh!). It in also a very good source of:

  • selenium (yesterday’s blog, so it’s good for oxidative stress, arthritis, heart disease, cancer, and thyroid, just to name a view)
  • niacin (we’ll look at this closer in a view weeks, but it helps to convert protein, fats, and carbs into usable energy)
  • vitamin B6 (another old post, look it up)
  • and the amino acid tryptophan

Tryptohan helps with cancer, serotonin, and insomnia

 Turkey is a good source of zinc (check 2 weeks ago) and B12 (yet another old post). What is tryptophan, you may ask? For one, it is needed by T cells (cells that kills cancer cells). Secondly, it helps make serotonin (a neurotransmitter released by your brain that improves mood and gives you that ‘feel good’ sense). Lastly, it plays a vital role in sleep (ever felt sleepy after your Thanksgiving meal) and has been effective in promoting sleep in cases of chronic insomnia. Something that I found interesting, protein in organic turkey may help maintain testosterone (men’s health week, 2 weeks ago) levels in men, whereas hormone-induced, industrial turkeys may increase estrogen, while lowering testosterone levels. Turkey may be something that you gobble down (pun intended) once a year, but clearly there are benefits to eating it more regularly!

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