Friday, November 17, 2006

Friday Food Pharmacy: Turkey

The United States will celebrate Thanksgiving next Thursday, and many people are looking forward to a traditional family dinner featuring turkey. I hope you will take the time to find, and spend the extra money to purchase, an organic turkey which is bred with as few added hormones and antibiotics as possible, and slaughtered humanely. Not only is that better for the turkey, it is much, much better for you, too, because studies show that the additional hormones and antibiotics from meats and poultry do upset your own chemical balance and cause health problems. If you're not sure, visit the company's website, email, or call the producer. So many things labeled "organic" and "natural" are that way in name only. Loopholes in the laws and watered-down definitions allow food product producers to get away with labeling a product as wholesome without providing either the wholesome environment or product.

That said, of all the meats, turkey (especially white meat) is the best for you in terms of low fat and high protein and nutrients. It is the best source of tryptophan, the amino acid that is carried to your brain to be turned into serotonin, the relaxing and "feel good" brain chemical believed to be low in people who suffer from depression. Turkey is also a good source of iron, zinc, niacin, potassium, and many important amino acids. (See the nutrient chart below, too.)

I would, however, like to dispel an urban legend: many people believe that the tryptophan you ingest by eating turkey on Thanksgiving makes you sleepy. Not true. You would have to eat three or four whole turkeys by yourself to ingest enough tryptophan to make you sleepy. It's far more likely that what makes you sleepy after dinner is the amount of food intake (there's always someone urging you to "have s'more" of everything!) and the fact that eating a meal with great friends and family keeps you at the table longer so you really do eat more, often without even realizing it!

For any last-minute turkey-cooking crisis you may experience, aid is just a phone call away, and is available in both Spanish and English. You can call The Turkey Talk Line often referred to as the Butterball Hotline at 1-800-BUTTERBALL (1-800-288.8372.255 Yes, I realize there are extra digits in the phone number. Just keep punching numbers until something rings!)

Operating hours for the Talk Line are:
Thanksgiving day 6:00 AM to 6:00 PM Central Standard Time
Christmas Eve and Christmas Day 6:00 AM to 3:00 PM Central Standard Time

Enjoy the fun and interesting turkey facts that follow the nutrients chart below!


Here are the statistics from the USDA Nutrient Database for one serving of turkey – about 3.5 ounces which, I've read, is a stack of sliced meat about the height of a deck of cards.

Turkey, young hen, dark meat, meat and skin, cooked, roasted

Refuse: 27% (Bone)
Scientific Name:
NDB No: 05240 (Nutrient values and weights are for edible portion)

Nutrient

Units

Value per
100 grams

Number
of Data
Points

Std.
Error

Proximates





Water

g

59.61

15

0.448

Energy

kcal

232

0


Energy

kj

971

0


Protein

g

27.37

15

0.399

Total lipid (fat)

g

12.78

15

0.645

Ash

g

0.98

15

0.009

Carbohydrate, by difference

g

0.00

0


Fiber, total dietary

g

0.0

0


Minerals





Calcium, Ca

mg

31

15

1.352

Iron, Fe

mg

2.28

15

0.085

Magnesium, Mg

mg

23

15

0.21

Phosphorus, P

mg

196

15

2.995

Potassium, K

mg

276

15

3.241

Sodium, Na

mg

72

15

1.032

Zinc, Zn

mg

4.10

3

0.118

Copper, Cu

mg

0.139

3

0.005

Manganese, Mn

mg

0.023

3

0.002

Selenium, Se

mcg

37.2

0


Vitamins





Vitamin C, total ascorbic acid

mg

0.0

0


Thiamin

mg

0.055

15

0.002

Riboflavin

mg

0.223

15

0.007

Niacin

mg

3.659

15

0.097

Pantothenic acid

mg

1.117

0


Vitamin B-6

mg

0.310

0


Folate, total

mcg

8

0


Folic acid

mcg

0

0


Folate, food

mcg

8

0


Folate, DFE

mcg_DFE

8

0


Vitamin B-12

mcg

0.34

0


Vitamin A, IU

IU

0

3

0

Vitamin A, RAE

mcg_RAE

0

3

0

Retinol

mcg

0

3

0

Lipids





Fatty acids, total saturated

g

3.860

0


10:0

g

0.000

0


12:0

g

0.020

0


14:0

g

0.090

0


16:0

g

2.330

0


18:0

g

0.990

0


Fatty acids, total monounsaturated

g

4.060

0


16:1 undifferentiated

g

0.660

0


18:1 undifferentiated

g

3.300

0


20:1

g

0.030

0


22:1 undifferentiated

g

0.020

0


Fatty acids, total polyunsaturated

g

3.420

0


18:2 undifferentiated

g

2.890

0


18:3 undifferentiated

g

0.150

0


20:4 undifferentiated

g

0.260

0


20:5 n-3

g

0.000

0


22:5 n-3

g

0.040

0


22:6 n-3

g

0.050

0


Cholesterol

mg

84

15

3.021

Amino acids





Tryptophan

g

0.303

0


Threonine

g

1.196

0


Isoleucine

g

1.375

0


Leucine

g

2.130

0


Lysine

g

2.495

0


Methionine

g

0.771

0


Cystine

g

0.300

0


Phenylalanine

g

1.072

0


Tyrosine

g

1.041

0


Valine

g

1.427

0


Arginine

g

1.927

0


Histidine

g

0.825

0


Alanine

g

1.741

0


Aspartic acid

g

2.639

0


Glutamic acid

g

4.372

0


Glycine

g

1.624

0


Proline

g

1.264

0


Serine

g

1.208

0


USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 19 (2006)



Finally, here are some fun and interesting turkey facts from the website of University of Illinois Extension. How many do you already know?


Turkey Facts

· Ben Franklin, in a letter to his daughter, proposed the turkey as the official United States bird.

· In 2003, the average American ate 17.4 pounds of turkey.

· The heaviest turkey ever raised was 86 pounds, about the size of a large dog.

· A 15 pound turkey usually has about 70 percent white meat and 30 percent dark meat.

· The wild turkey is native to Northern Mexico and the Eastern United States.

· The male turkey is called a tom.

· The female turkey is called a hen.

· The turkey was domesticated in Mexico and brought to Europe in the 16th century.

· Wild turkeys can fly for short distances up to 55 miles per hour.

· Wild turkeys can run 20 miles per hour.

· Tom turkeys have beards. This is black, hairlike feathers on their breast. Hens sometimes have beards, too.

· Turkeys’ heads change colors when they become excited.

· Turkeys can see movement almost a hundred yards away.

· Turkeys lived almost ten million years ago.

· Turkey feathers were used by Native Americans to stabilize arrows.

· Baby turkeys are called poults and are tan and brown.

· Most of the turkeys raised for commercial production are White Hollands.

· Turkey eggs are tan with brown specks and are larger than chicken eggs.

· It takes 75-80 pounds of feed to raise a 30 pound tom turkey.

· Male turkeys gobble. Hens do not. They make a clicking noise.

· Gobbling turkeys can be heard a mile away on a quiet day.

· A 16 week old turkey is called a fryer. A five to seven month old turkey is called a young roaster and a yearling is a year old. Any turkey 15 months or older is called mature.

· The ballroom dance the "turkey trot" was named for the short, jerky steps that turkeys take.

· Turkeys don’t really have ears like ours, but they have very good hearing.

· Turkeys can see in color.

· A large group of turkeys is called a flock.

· Turkeys do not see well at night.

· Turkeys are related to pheasants.

· Wild turkeys spend the night in trees. They especially like oak trees.

· Wild turkeys were almost wiped out in the early 1900's. Today there are wild turkeys in every state except Alaska.

· In England, 200 years ago, turkeys were walked to market in herds. They wore booties to protect their feet. Turkeys were also walked to market in the United States.

· June is National Turkey Lover’s Month.

· Since 1947, the National Turkey Federation has presented a live turkey and two dressed turkeys to the President. The President does not eat the live turkey. He "pardons" it and allows it to live out its days on a historical farm.

· The five most popular ways to serve leftover turkey is as a sandwich, in stew, chili or soup, casseroles and as a burger.

· Eating turkey does not cause you to feel sleepy after your Thanksgiving dinner. Carbohydrates in your Thanksgiving dinner are the likely cause of your sleepiness.

· Turkey is low in fat and high in protein.

· White meat has fewer calories and less fat than dark meat.

· For their first meal on the moon, astronauts Neil Armstrong and Edwin Aldrin ate roast turkey in foil packets.

· Turkeys will have 3,500 feathers at maturity.

· Turkeys have been bred to have white feathers. White feathers have no spots under the skin when plucked.

2 comments:

ewh said...

New Amazon store site looks very good, some great ideas for holiday gifts. Thank you, Emily

Michelle said...

Hi Emily,

Glad you like it. I just finished adding a few new selections, too, on some alternative topics such as chakras and acupressure. Enjoy!