Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Article # 149. Health Benefits of Eating Chicken



Health Benefits of Eating Chicken 

The health benefits of eating chicken are enormous. It is a rich source of a variety of essential nutrients and vitamins, which assist in strengthening the immune system of the body. Chicken is also reputed to be one of the safest meats available, as it is least associated with any side-effects of consumption. Many scientific studies have been conducted on chicken to assess its healthy properties and most of the researchers have found very positive effects of the meat on human health. Go through this article to explore the benefits of chicken consumption in detail.



·         Chicken is a very good source of lean, high quality protein. Protein is an essential nutrient for growth and development and also plays an important role in assisting overweight and obese people in losing weight fast.
·         In older people, the proteins present in chicken also help against bone loss. Even 100 gm of chicken breast accounts for more than half of the recommended dietary intake of protein.
·         Chicken is a rich source of niacin, a B-vitamin that protects the body against cancer. A deficiency of niacin can be directly associated with genetic (DNA) damage. Around 72% of the daily niacin requirement of the body can be fulfilled by a four-ounce serving of chicken.
·         The trace mineral selenium is found in good quantities in chicken. It is an essential component required by many major metabolic pathways, which includes thyroid hormone metabolism, anti-oxidant defense systems, and immune function of the body.   
·         Vitamin B6, present in chicken, plays a crucial role as a methyl donor in the basic cellular process of transferring methyl groups from one molecule to another, leading to the formation of a wide range of important active molecules. This process is known as Methylation. The availability of methyl groups is lessened due to the inadequacy of B6, which can result in damage to the blood vessels.
·         Vitamin B6, along with niacin, makes chicken a favourable food in supporting the energy metabolism of the body. Both these B-complex vitamins help the enzymes throughout the body to guide the metabolic reactions.      
·         Chicken meat is a good source of phosphorus, which is a very essential mineral for the body. Phosphorus maintains the health of teeth and bones, and also ensures healthy functioning of the kidneys, liver and the central nervous system. 
Caution 
·         Studies have shown that meat consumption can increase the risk of acute coronary syndrome, which is associated with plaque rupture, blood clot formation and heart attacks.
·         Some naturally occurring substances known as purines are found in chicken. Excessive intake of purines, which can be broken to form uric acid, can cause health problems in some individuals. Excess accumulation of uric acid in the body can result in the formation of kidney stones and a condition called ‘gout’. 




Cooking Tips 
·         Ensure that raw chicken doesn’t come in contact with other foods, especially the ones that are to be served uncooked. Also, wash your hands with soapy water after handling chicken.
·         Chicken, being very sensitive to heat, should always be marinated in the refrigerator, if your recipe so requires. It should also be defrosted in the refrigerator, not at room temperature.

Benefits in short:

·         Cancer Protection
Chicken is rich in niacin (vitamin B3), a vitamin that is essential for cancer protection. One small serving of chicken can meet your niacin requirements for the entire day. The selenium in chicken is also believed to be protective against cancer.
·         Brain Health
The niacin in chicken is also essential for brain health and may have protective effects against Alzheimer's disease and dementia.
·         Heart Health
The vitamin B6 in chicken keeps the heart healthy by keeping homocysteine levels low. High homocysteine levels cause damage to the walls of the blood vessels.
·         Thyroid Health
The selenium in chicken helps to keep thyroid function normal. One study found that selenium deficiency may lead to thyroid problems such as low T3 levels.
·         Weight Loss
Chicken is a great food to eat if you're trying to lose weight because it lower in fat and calories that other meats such as beef and pork, while also being higher in protein.
·         Energy Booster
Chicken boosts your energy thanks to vitamins B6 and B3, both of which are important in the body's If you are starting to feel a little tired or worn out, try eating some chicken to give your body a boost of nutrients, lean protein, and calories that will boost your energy levels.

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