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Turkey as main Christmas food: Is it healthy?

Turkey as main Christmas food: Is it healthy? Turkey as main Christmas food (Getty Images)

America's favored Christmas meat is turkey, ranking as the third most beloved holiday dish overall, according to a 2020 survey by YouGov, reports USA Today.

Undoubtedly, turkey holds a special place in holiday feasts. The question, however, is whether it's a healthy choice. Fortunately for turkey enthusiasts, this holiday staple is deemed healthy. Rich in various nutrients, particularly protein, turkey offers a host of benefits. Protein-rich foods help in muscle repair, support growth and development, and play a crucial role in maintaining various bodily structures and processes.

Turkey is a lean meat

What sets turkey apart is its status as a lean meat. Different protein sources come with distinct nutrient profiles. According to the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, this nutrient package influences our health. Turkey, as a lean meat, offers a substantial amount of protein with comparatively lower levels of fat, making it an appealing option for those at risk of heart disease or other chronic conditions.

Turkey is full of vitamins

Turkey is also rich in several B vitamins, essential for red blood cell formation, energy production, and amino acid creation. Additionally, it contains selenium, an antioxidant with properties beneficial for brain, heart, and immune system health. The poultry boasts a spectrum of other vitamins and minerals, including potassium, phosphorus, zinc, and iron.

Other meat types

Various red meats, such as prime rib, roast beef, and steak, along with other poultry choices like chicken, are also popular American Christmas dishes. In general, poultry options like turkey and chicken tend to have lower saturated fat content compared to red meat. But it contains more iron than poultry or fish and more zinc than turkey. Dieticians recommend prioritizing variety in one's diet, with different cuts of meats and protein types to ensure a well-rounded nutrient intake.

We also wrote about the recipes for a traditional German Christmas pastry Stollen, a rich and aromatic bread that can be made without yeast and with cottage cheese, as well as for crispy and juicy beer chicken and simple English fruitcake for Christmas.