People eat chickens and turkeys by the millions on a yearly basis, but there’s still a bit of a weird feeling here in the United States when eating duck. Many other parts of the world eat duck just as commonly as other birds, especially in China. Duck is prepared in the same way as a lot of other meats, which can make it healthy or unhealthy. Being as health minded as we are, we don’t suggest frying duck or covering it in unhealthy toppings.
If you’ve ever had duck before, the chances are that it was Peking duck, which comes from China and nearly 30 million of them are consumed by Americans on a yearly basis. Peking duck has a great taste and it’s a fine alternative to many of the other meats around. To show you why duck is a fantastic part of a diet that has lean meats, let’s take a look at duck’s nutritional value and the proven health benefits that duck brings.
Nutrition of Duck
For the nutrition of duck, we’ll look specifically at wild duck breast meat. In a 100 gram (3.5 ounce) serving, duck has a whopping 40 percent of your daily protein for the cost of just 123 calories. Duck has a nice blend of vitamins and minerals, starting with more than 30 percent of your daily recommendation for vitamin B6 and more than a quarter of your day’s thiamin. Duck contains between 10 and 20 percent daily value in vitamin C, riboflavin, niacin and vitamin B12.
There are also smaller amounts of vitamin A, folate and pantothenic acid. As for the minerals, duck has between 15 to 20 percent of the daily recommendation for iron, phosphorus, copper and selenium. The other minerals in smaller amounts between five to 10 percent include magnesium, potassium and zinc. Duck is very low in fat with just 4.3 grams, and the cholesterol level is lower than most meats, and we’ll explain how the cholesterol levels actually work for you.
An important part of a good weight loss plan (if you’re not a vegetarian) is making sure the meat you eat is of the lean variety. Lean meat like duck doesn’t have as many calories, especially when you remove the skin. Roasting Peking duck makes it so that there’s only 123 calories per serving, with very little fat. The best part is the fact that duck contains a lot of protein with nearly 20 grams, allowing you to build and repair muscle.
When you’re getting more muscle in your body, you’re burning more calories even while at rest. A meat such as duck is also quite filling, satisfying those cravings that you might have. Since duck also has a wide range of nutrients, it makes this one of the better lean meats overall. Of course, frying duck or eating the skin makes duck not so friendly for a weight loss plan, but there are plenty of ways that you can prepare duck to make it both tasty and satisfying for your diet.
When we talk about our immune systems, the first thing that usually comes to mind is vitamin C. You’ll find a solid amount of that in duck with 10 percent of your daily recommendation, which allows your body to produce more white blood cells to fight off infections such as the common cold or influenza. There are plenty of other minerals in duck that can help your immune system, including vitamin B6, the most abundant nutrient in duck.
Vitamin B6 boosts efficiency in your enzymes, which boosts your immune system overall (and even has a positive benefit on your metabolism). Not only does your immune system get a boost so that illnesses don’t bog you down, but a boost in iron and zinc also make it so that you have energy to get through your day. With high counts of both red and white blood cells, getting through a long day will be a breeze.
Fish gets a lot of love for being a brain food, but this bird that spends most of its time on the water can be just as helpful. Vitamin B6 is great for your brain as it balances hormones, keeping your emotions in check to relieve stress and anxiety, and it’s even been found to lower the symptoms of depression. Thiamin is also great for the brain, boosting your cognitive ability and making your neurotransmitters more efficient.
With an enhanced memory and healthier brain, you’re less likely to suffer from neurological diseases such as Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s diseases. On top of that, you reduce your chances of a stroke by improving the blood flow in your brain thanks to the high amount of iron. Iron increases oxygen in the blood, which is shown to have a tremendous impact on your brain and further prevent neurological diseases.
We always concern ourselves with calcium counts when it comes to bone health, but you won’t find much in duck with just three milligrams. So what is it that makes duck good for your bones? It’s the high amount of phosphorus, which your body uses to absorb calcium into the bones. With 20 percent of your daily recommended amount of phosphorus, calcium you get from other sources will be absorbed into your bones.
This will increase bone strength and prevent problems down the road such as osteoporosis. Selenium also plays a part in bone health by improving bone mineral density, and there’s plenty of selenium found in duck. Drinking a glass of milk with your meal that includes duck is a great way to get a bone boosting meal.
Fruit is fantastic for your skin, but there are certain types of meats that are just as helpful. Duck is one of those meats because it contains a surprising amount of vitamin C. This vitamin boosts the amount of collagen produced in your body, making it more elastic. The high amount of vitamin B6 also plays a role in skin health as it prevents several different problems that include acne and dandruff, and has even been linked to reducing your chances of skin cancer. With a better blood flow thanks to the increased iron intake, your skin will also have better color and complexion overall.
Summing it Up
For those looking to switch up the types of meat that they eat in their diet, duck is a great way to go. However, duck won’t be for everyone, as there are some that have allergies to duck. This isn’t as common as being lactose intolerant or certain seafoods, but it’s something to be aware of, especially if you’ve never eaten duck before. Overall, wild duck has the most nutritional value, but it’s more at risk for contaminants than domesticated duck.
Getting your duck from a reputable source should erase concerns about contamination, though. Whether domesticated or wild, you’ll want to remove the skin before cooking and eating, as that will save you a lot of saturated fat. Overall, duck is a healthier lean meat that doesn’t have the drawbacks that a lot of red meats out there have. Though it’s not as easy to find as chicken, duck is well worth the search thanks to both the taste and the great health benefits that duck can bring!