Turkey Nutrition Facts

Turkey is low in fat and high in protein. It is an inexpensive source of iron, zinc, phosphorus, potassium and B vitamins. A serving of turkey is a 2 to 3-ounce cooked portion. … One gram of fat contains 9 calories, and one gram of protein contains 4 calories.

  • A three-ounce serving of boneless, skinless turkey breast contains 26 grams of protein, one gram of fat and 0 grams of saturated fat.
  • A skinless turkey breast has eight percent more protein than the same size serving of boneless skinless chicken breast or trimmed top loin beefsteak.Turkey provides:
  • Fewer calories than many lean red meats.
  • Less than one-fourth of the maximum daily-recommended intake of cholesterol.
  • Minimal total fat and saturated fat.
  • A protein that is naturally low in sodium, containing less that 25 milligrams (mg) per ounce on average.

Possible health benefits of consuming turkey

Eating foods like turkey that are high in protein help to increase the feeling of satiety and make you feel fuller for a longer period. Getting enough protein ensures maintenance of lean muscle mass and can keep insulin levels stable after meals. That being said, protein is the one nutrient that most meat-eaters are already getting plenty of.

Keep in mind that the amount of protein at each meal matters; you can only absorb so much at one time. Make sure to have a lean protein source at each meal and spread your intake out throughout the day. Other good choices for protein include nuts, fish, eggs, dairy, soy and legumes.

The breast of the turkey has less fat and calories than most other cuts of meat, but do not assume that just because a product is made from turkey that it is healthier. For example, a burger made from ground turkey can contain just as much saturated fat as a beef burger, depending on how much dark meat is included in the ground turkey.

Make sure to check the package for fat content or % leanness and compare. Turkey contains the mineral selenium, which studies have suggested higher intakes of may decrease the risk of colorectal, prostate, lung, bladder, skin, esophageal, and gastric cancers.

How to incorporate more turkey into your diet

Avoid processed turkey in the form of deli meats, hot dogs and turkey bacon, which are high in sodium. Even frozen, pre-packed turkey burgers can be full of added salt and preservatives.

Go for fresh, lean, organic and pasture-raised turkey, which have been raised in humane conditions without antibiotics. Factory farmed and conventionally raised turkeys are often injected with salt, water and other preservatives during processing to extend shelf life and cut costs. Pasture-raised turkeys with access to vegetation also have a higher omega-3 content than factory-farmed turkeys.

Heritage turkeys are raised in smaller flocks, given access to the outdoors and allowed extra grow time. They provide more flavorful meat and are not injected with salt or preservatives.

Potential health risks of consuming turkey

Processed turkey products can be high in sodium and harmful to health. Many processed meats are smoked or made with nitrites, which are known carcinogens. As intake of processed meat goes up, risks for obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, cancer and infertility go up as well. Minimize your intake of all processed turkey products.

It is the total diet or overall eating pattern that is most important in disease prevention and achieving good health. It is better to eat a diet with a variety than to concentrate on individual foods as the key to good health.