[Infographic] – Turkey Hunting: Health Benefits of Turkey

Turkey hunting is one of the most exhilarating outdoor activity that a hunter can pursuit especially one who has heard of the turkey’s thundering gobble and as everyone knows, meat is a great source of nutrients and especially protein. One of the best things when you hunt for a turkey yourself is the experience and of course, wild turkeys taste amazing! Hopefully, you’ll have a gobbler to bring back home to your family either for Thanksgiving, Christmas or you just want some turkey meat to feast on with your beloved ones.

We have created an infographic that explains the Health Benefits of Eating Turkey that hopefully, will be able to help you in choosing your meat wisely!

Turkey meat is sold in many forms, such as thighs, breast, cutlets, mince, tenderloins, pre-packaged slices or even whole. The domesticated Turkey we have around now is a descendant of the wild Turkey found in the Eastern US and the north of Mexico. Rearing Turkey is majorly different from other poultry farming, but the consumption is increasing significantly.

Note: Again, wild turkey is far more healthier compared to harvested ones. If you are serious about it, then here are some resources about turkey hunting that can get you started.

  1. Turkey Hunting 101
  2. Turkey Calling

Also, if you ever need some great hunting gears to get going, we have reviewed most of them for you. For example, a great hunting rangefinder is pretty helpful in determining the right distance of your prey.

While turkey is widely consumed in the United all year round because of its wonderful flavour and nutritional value, makes it a healthy choice. The consumption is noticeably high throughout the month of November.

The benefits of turkey are numerous. Turkey meat has reduced cholesterol levels and it improves the strength of our immune system, it is known for its high protein content, it is a good source of niacin, vitamin B6 and selenium which is important for thyroid hormone metabolism, it contains tryptophan an amino acid that produces serotonin and which helps strengthening the immune system, it also acts as an antioxidant.

Advantages of Eating Turkey

Rich in Protein

Turkey meat packs quite a large amount of protein. The meat is very rich in protein, with about thirty-two grams (32g) of protein per four ounces (4 oz.) serving, thereby making it a really good source of essential amino acids. Protein is essential for the development of a child and to prevent behavioral disorder due to lack of muscle tone. Therefore it is required that a child eat the adequate amount of protein in their diet.

Compared to other sources of meat like Beef, Pork and Chicken, per portion, turkey meat contains more protein per gram than beef, pork and chicken. Therefore, you consume lesser chunk of turkey meat to get the same or more protein value. And the deficiency protein can lead to bad health. Lack of protein can result to lack of energy, poor pallor, general feeling of weakness, jitteriness, or spaciness. If you are experiencing this, your daily protein needs can be calculated by dividing your weight by 2.2. which will give you your weight in kilogram (Kg). multiplying this your weight in kilogram (kg) by .8 and what you will have is your daily protein requirement in grams.

Just one serving of turkey provides sixty-five percent (65%) of your recommended daily intake of protein. Thereby reducing the quantity of food you need to eat to get your daily recommended protein intake.

Eating turkey meat which are high in protein help to increase the feeling of satiety which makes one feel fuller for a longer time. Getting the required quantity of protein ensures the maintenance of lean muscles and can help to keep insulin levels stable after meal which helps in controlling blood sugar levels in diabetic patients.

Low in (Saturated) Fat Content

Turkey breast which is white have a lower level of cholesterol when compared to the darker meat. The amount of cholesterol is a function of the darkness of the meat. Turkey breast is a very healthy diet as it is low in fat and rich in proteins. Therefore, it is most ideal to avoid dark turkey meat because of high cholesterol level.

Turkey breast contains lesser calories and fat when compared by weight to other cut meat. This is because of the fact that turkey contains lesser overall fat which makes it a very healthy diet.

Turkey also contains lesser saturated fat making it a healthier choice. You can further reduce the level of fat in turkey meat by removing the skin. The minerals contained in turkey meat help to increase High Density Lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol which is the good type of cholesterol thereby reducing the level of Low Density Lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol the bad type of cholesterol. Therefore, more consumption of saturated fat in the diet results in an increase in body levels of bad cholesterol or low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol. Saturated fat is essential for biological functions, production of hormone, padding for organs and energy. While saturated fat is essential for a healthy body, most averagely-active people should be mindful of overindulging.

Turkey has less than twelve percent (12%) of the daily recommended allowance of saturated fat per four ounces (4 oz.) serving.

The breast of the turkey has less fat and calories than most other cuts of meat, but do not hurriedly assume that just because a product is made from turkey that it is healthier than a product made from other meat source like beef, pork or chicken. For instance, a burger prepared from ground turkey can contain just as much saturated fat with Low Density Lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol as a beef burger, depending on the quantity of dark meat that is included in the ground turkey. Endeavor to check the package for fat content or percentage % leanness and compare.

Prevents Cancer

A little knowledge about the health benefit of turkey is that it contains trace minerals which is thought to help in cancer prevention.

Turkey contains selenium, It has about twenty-four micrograms (24 mcg) of selenium which is almost half of the daily recommendation of an adult. It is important for the healthy function of the thyroid and immune system. Which also has an important part to play in your antioxidant defense system, thereby acting as antioxidant and aiding in the elimination of cancer-friendly free radicals in the body. Studies have suggested higher intakes of turkey meat may decrease the risk of colorectal, prostate, lung, bladder, skin, esophageal, and gastric cancers.

Vitamins and Minerals

Turkey gives a handful of B vitamins, which include niacin, B6, and a little riboflavin. Niacin helps with digestion and converting the food we eat into energy. B6 is essential for brain development during pregnancy, immunity and metabolism. And riboflavin also helps turn food to energy and plays an essential role in red blood cell production.

Zinc is a powerful antioxidant, immunity booster and maintains normal endocrine function.

Selenium is essential for the metabolism of the thyroid hormone system and reproduction.

A serving of turkey contains around one hundred and ninety-six milligrams (196mg) of Phosphorus. The average recommended daily body need is about seven hundred (700mg). Phosphorus is essentially used in building healthy and strong bones and teeth, which is also important in how the body uses protein, carbohydrates and fats

Tryptophan is Not What Makes You Sleepy

Tryptophan is an important amino acid, which implies that the body needs it and doesn’t produce it on its own, it’s only gotten from the food and supplements we use which helps the body to make niacin. Tryptophan plays a crucial role in strengthening the immune system.

Tryptophan is a precursor to some certain neurotransmitters which can work to produce serotonin as well as melatonin in the body which gives a relaxing effect.

And if you think back to high school chemistry, you’ll remember that amino acids are building blocks of proteins.

In reality, tryptophan helps create serotonin, a brain chemical that can create a feeling of well-being and that the body can subsequently convert into melatonin, a brain chemical that regulates sleep cycles.

Disadvantages of Eating Processed Turkey Meat

Turkey is safe for consumption and it is a healthy food. It is mostly recommended for people who want to lose weight. However, one must know whether the meat is processed or organic. The health risk of consuming processed turkey may be in people who are allergic or intolerant to the meat. Which may result in abdominal pain and cramps. Few of the less severe side effects of consuming turkey include:

High in Sodium

Processed turkey products can be high in sodium and could be harmful to the health

Causes Cancer

Many processed turkey meats are smoked or made with nitrites, which are known to be carcinogenic and harmful to health

Risk of Cardiovascular Diseases

Risk of obesity, high blood pressure, heart disease, high cholesterol, infertility and cancer increases as intake of processed meat goes up, risks for obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, cancer and infertility go up as well.

Food poisoning

During pregnancy, eating of deli meats should be avoided and this contains turkey which can lead to a form of food poisoning and this could be damaging for the pregnancy. Food poisoning from turkey can cause flu like symptoms and in very severe cases meningitis. So, it is very mandatory to consult a doctor if such symptoms occur.

Vomiting 

If eaten excessively, turkey may lead to vomiting with a feeling of sickness. This may even occur when you consume turkey that is not well prepared which may lead to stomach infection.

Conclusion

There are no limitations on how and when to consume turkey and it can be eaten as a snack or in meals. The only limitation could be how much you can eat since overeating it could cause nausea, stomach pain and vomiting. Applying the three ounces (3 Oz.) rule would be helpful. Three ounces of turkey will be a lean breast, a couple of slices and half a leg or one-third (1/3) of a thigh.

Choose Organic, Pasture-Based Turkey

Grass-fed turkey raised under organic conditions convey the most health benefits, as they offer higher nutritional value and are superior to birds given antibiotics or raised without access to natural pasture. Consider looking for a local, grass-based poultry farm when shopping for organic turkeys.

The Difference between Wild Turkey and Domesticated Turkey

As most hunters know, wild turkeys were domesticated in Mexico and as to how and why, there is no records of it so far. According to the late Lovett Williams,

The path to domestication likely occurred through the process of parental imprinting of newly hatched wild poults. If wild turkey eggs are hatched in captivity or the young are captured soon after hatching, and the young are allowed to associate only with humans for the first few days of life, the poults bond socially with humans.

Source: Turkey and Turkey Hunting

As for how the difference is between the taste of meat, according to Exotic Meats USA, “Wild turkey are smaller and have darker meat, richer, more intense flavor, and firmer texture than domestic turkey.

“It is known for its slight gaminess, slightly firm texture and its dark meat. Wild turkeys have a lot less breast meat than regular turkeys because their breasts are designed to help them fly and they have no hormones or special feed. They are also much more muscular and leaner than their domestic cousins.”

Here are the Nutritional Facts broken down. (per 3.5 oz

TYPEWILD TURKEYBROAD-BREASTED WHITE
Protein25.7 23.5
Fat (%)1.1 1.5
Cholesterol55 60
Calories163 146

Source: HunterGreen.org

Hence, we can see why eating turkey has so many benefits to it.

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