Chicken is one of the most favourite poultry foods in the world. Chickens and are found in the cuisines of almost every country and their recipes are endless. Its bland taste combines well with other various spices and sauces and hence, it easily fits into cuisines across cultures. It can be boiled, baked, grilled, fried and barbecued based on taste and choice of the consumer. Butter chicken and chicken tikka of Indian origin is today, a part of many popular restaurants across the globe. Health wise, chicken is categorised as white meat and is considered healthier as compared to red meat aka - mutton, beef, pork et all.
(Also Read: 11 Best Indian Chicken Recipes)
Nutritionally, chicken contains:
In addition, chicken is also a good source of phosphorus, selenium, folate and potassium.
Healthy diet contains foods that provide nutrients that are essential for our body to perform at an optimal level. Chicken, when consumed in moderation - about 3- 6 ounces a day as a part of a balanced meal, adds to our overall health when compared with red meat.
Health benefits of chicken -
Energy and Carbs:
An average 100gm portion of chicken provides about 150 Kcal. It has negligible carbs.
Good: For active individuals and athletes, it is a good choice to consume a good amount of carbs. Chicken breast and all cuts of country chicken are low in fat, especially saturated fat, which make them a better choice.
Not so good: Calories of chicken come mainly from its fat and some from its protein.
Verdict: Moderate intake of chicken is ok.
Chicken is a source of complete proteins containing all the essential amino acids.
Good: It is great as a source of quality proteins. Controlling diabetes demands a fair amount of protein in every meal to slow down the release of sugars in the blood. Adding a low fat cut of chicken to a meal containing complex carbs can be healthy. People with kidney diseases also need quality proteins in limited amounts, choosing skinless chicken also means getting lesser amounts of phosphorus, potassium and sodium. Both diabetes and kidney diseases increase the risk of heart problems, so choosing to cook chicken in low fat gravies or roasting it would be a better way of consumption. Skinless chicken and country chicken, especially the breast cut, is a better choice.
Bad: As far as proteins are concerned, nothing is bad here.
Verdict: As a source of quality protein, chicken in desired amounts is a good choice.
Chicken is a source of fat, primarily saturated and poly unsaturated fats and cholesterol. Broilers have a higher quantity of fats as compared with country chicken, which are bred in their natural habitat.
Good: Well, the good thing is that the quantity of saturated fats and cholesterol is lower in chicken as compared to red meats. The American Heart Association advises a combination of low-fat vegetarian proteins from beans and lentils, along with moderate intake of fish and chicken.
Bad: Lots here! Saturated fats have been identified as the main villain for raising bad cholesterol - LDL - in the blood. This is a major risk factor for heart diseases and stroke. Chicken, while low in fats as compared to red meats, still has a good quantity of saturated fat and cholesterol, so portion sizes, methods of cooking and other ingredients of the meal all are to be taken into consideration for eating healthy. Athletes are known to eat bigger quantities to reach their protein goals, but its effect in the long run is not very healthy. You should be out with the butter chicken, fried chicken and in with roasted chicken or chicken made in light gravies. Skinless chicken, breast cut and country chicken are again a better choice to start with.
Verdict: Go easy, more is not better here.
(Also Read: Low-Fat Dahi Chicken Recipe)
Chicken is rich in proteins, carbs and fats
Enjoy your chicken dishes; team them up with whole grains and lots of seasonal veggies. Keep the added fat to the minimum and maintain a good exercise regimen. Moderation is always better and traditional Indian grains and spices add taste and health.