Protein is an important macronutrient that is essential for body. Most animal meats provide this macronutrient including turkey and chicken. But which is healthier of the two: turkey vs chicken meat?
Proteins and animal foods
Proteins are extremely essential for the body and health. They form the structure of the body parts and cells. The soft tissue, hair, skin, organs are made of protein. It is part of the matrix of bones and teeth. It is present in a variety of food sources.
Animal meats are the richest sources of good-quality proteins. Other foods that contain it are eggs, milk, cheese, nuts, seeds, whole grains, legumes, soybeans etc. But generally, plant foods have lower levels of proteins compared to animal foods. And fruits and vegetables have minimal or no proteins in them.
The most popular of these protein rich foods from the animal kingdom are chicken and turkey. How much of protein do each of these have? Which is a healthier choice?
Turkey vs chicken meat: nutritive value
Both birds have white and dark meat in them. The white meat is found in breasts and wings of these birds. It has less myoglobin. This is a muscle protein that actively transports oxygen into the muscles. Hence it is more found in areas of activity such as thighs and legs. These areas are said to contain dark meat. This is so because it has a dark red color due to the high myoglobin content. The leg cuts are also called drumstick.
Breast meat has high protein content and low calories. Hence fitness freaks and dieters prefer it. 1 ounce of roasted turkey breast has 8 grams protein while chicken breast has 9 grams protein. But nutritionally, this does not make a big difference. And wing meat of both birds have 9 grams protein.
In dark meat, both birds have 8 grams protein per ounce in leg cuts. And in thigh meat, protein of turkey is 8 grams and that of chicken has 7 grams per ounce. Again nutrition wise, this difference does not matter.
Dark and white cuts of chicken has slightly more fats compared to that of turkey. And skin of both poultry has high fats and calories.
Also vitamins and minerals are similar in both poultry birds. But white meat has more niacinamide and vitamin B6 and dark meat has more zinc.
Which is healthier? Turkey or chicken meat
Both have good amounts of protein and can form an integral part of a balanced diet. But excess of any food including chicken and turkey is bad for health. Hence one can have either or both of these meat in moderate amounts in the diet.
If you want zinc, have leg cuts while if you need a vitamin B boost, breast would be better. Eat a variety of foods and cuts of meat to have a balanced diet and to get all the nutrients.