There is still some debate about which came first between the chicken and the egg, and where exactly the chicken originated. What we can tell you for sure now is that chicken is the most common food that you can find. This type of poultry is consumed by the boatload in the United States alone, with an estimated 8 billion chickens being consumed each year. Around Super Bowl weekend, a lot of that comes in the wing department with 100 million pounds of wings.
There are a lot of different ways to eat chicken, and not many of them are too healthy. Fried chicken is popular, but doesn’t have the nutritional benefits that grilling or roasting a chicken will bring. If you can stick to those forms of eating chicken, you’re going to be in for a lot of great health benefits. Let’s breakdown the nutritional value for healthier forms of chicken and what it does for your body.
Nutrition of Chicken
Since fried chicken isn’t going to be all that good for you, we want to focus on the nutrition of chicken when it’s prepared in a healthier way, such as being oven roasted. One cup of chopped roasted chicken breast meat brings around 230 calories, with none of those coming from carbohydrates while bringing a ton of protein with nearly 90 percent of your daily recommended value. There’s not much fat to be found in roasted chicken with just five grams, and you’ll be getting a day’s worth of niacin and half of your vitamin B6 recommendation.
Other vitamins found in chicken in smaller amounts include pantothenic acid, riboflavin, thiamin, vitamin E and vitamin B12. There are also many minerals to be found in chicken, with more than half a day’s worth of selenium and a third of your daily phosphorus. Minerals that come in around 10 percent of your daily value include iron, magnesium, potassium and zinc. Also, you may have guessed, but there’s no sugar or starch in chicken.
If you have ever seen anybody that was trying to lose weight and/or build muscle in their bodies, you’ve probably noticed that they eat a lot of grilled or roasted chicken. A lot of it has to do with the lower content of calories, fat and carbohydrates, which are the numbers you need to watch the most when trying to lose weight and build muscle. Another big part is the high protein content, which is absolutely essential to building muscle.
It has been found through research for many years that eating more protein in your diet leads to a healthier overall weight and body fat percentage. That protein also helps you get through a workout easier, which is a big concern for people that are looking to get started at the gym. It’s also very filling, which will help you to reduce a lot of cravings for things such as sweets during the day.
Chicken does have cholesterol in its nutritional content, but it doesn’t have the effect that you might think. Instead, chicken is one of the lean proteins that you should be eating on a daily basis to help manage your heart health. It has been shown that eating chicken on a regular basis can help to lower your blood pressure because of the low-fat content that’s part of a well balanced diet.
As for the cholesterol, you don’t have to worry too much because chicken is much better for your heart than a lot of other meats. Along with certain types of fish, chicken is recommended as the meat of choice for heart health as you can balance the LDL and HDL cholesterol levels in your body. It is advised, though, that you keep it to six ounces per day.
One nutrient that people don’t seem to talk about all that much is niacin, which is found in significant amounts within chicken. Niacin has been shown to be one of the B-vitamins that can help to prevent a lot of serious such as cancer, and even DNA damage. Other studies have shown that eating more chicken can lower your risks of certain types of cancers because they are a lean protein.
The research suggested that those who ate lean protein like chicken more often than red meat greatly lowered their chances of colorectal cancer. Even thyroid diseases can be prevented by eating more chicken in your diet compared to other types of meats. Kidney and liver functions will also be more normal, preventing potentially serious diseases in those areas.
Protein not only helps your body to build stronger muscles, but you can also build stronger bones from eating more of this nutrient. There is also a solid amount of vitamin D found within chicken, which helps your body to absorb more calcium that your bones sorely need. Doctors suggest that you eat chicken and other lean meats with fruits and vegetables as often as once per day to build your bones.
Add some milk in there to drink and you have a bone strengthening powerful meal. Chicken also has quite a bit of phosphorus to help build bones. Phosphorus builds stronger bones (including teeth) while allowing your organs to function more efficiently.
One of the other nutrients that chicken has a high amount of is selenium, which can be hard to find for some people otherwise. Selenium is essential for your body because it helps to improve your metabolism by keeping your thyroid operating at a higher level (which also leads to more weight loss). Selenium deficiencies have been linked with diseases such as Crohn’s disease, which you can avoid by eating more chicken.
Summing it Up
While chicken does bring all of those benefits we discussed, there are some people out there that say chicken is not healthy no matter how it’s prepared. So what is the argument behind that theory? The way that a chicken is raised might not be a good thing, because some get packed with chemicals in certain farms. If you can find the free range organic chicken meat, you can avoid a lot of these problems such as high cholesterol levels or potentially harmful and cancer-causing chemicals.
Some of the other complaints that people have is that chicken can have a high amount of bacteria if not prepared properly, but they’ll tell you that cooking it thoroughly also brings problems. Those shouldn’t be big concerns as long as you’re preparing chicken the right way. Eating six ounces of lean meat such as chicken per day is going to be fine, even according to the American Heart Association. So feel free to add more chicken to your diet, especially if it’s the roasted type.