While it may be associated with opulent feasts, roast turkey is actually a healthy food when it’s prepared well. Here are some ways that turkey is a healthy superfood, and how to prepare it to get the most health benefits out of it.

1. Choose skinless turkey. Turkey skin has a lot of fat. Whole turkeys are not sold with the skin off, but you can remove th
e skin before or after roasting. Skinless breasts and cutlets are best.

2. Protein is important to a healthy diet, especially lean protein. Turkey is an excellent source of protein without the saturated fat of red meats or other protein sources, such as cheese.

3. Vitamins abound in turkey. B vitamins, zinc and potassium are the most prevalent vitamins. These are essential for cardiovascular health, nerve function, disease prevention, and immune system function.

4. Choose organic, free-range turkey whenever possible. This ensures that the nutrients are high, and organic turkeys will not contain antibiotics or hormones.

5. Roast or broil your turkey. Those deep fat fryers are on sale every holiday season, but pass them up. Frying it adds a great deal of fat and calories, making this superfood into a naughty treat.

6. Low-calorie protein is essential for a healthy lifestyle. Turkey is a little over 1/3 protein (a 100-gram serving has 34 grams of protein), and that same 100-gram serving has only about 160 calories.

7. Heart health is an important topic these days, and turkey is an important component in heart health. Because it is low in saturated fat, it’s a protein that aids the body without the “bad fat” side effects. Also, the B vitamins in turkey enhance heart health.

8. Turkey is versatile, too. It can be served hot or cold, in soup or plain, on sandwiches or in salads. It makes a good snack or formal meal.

9. Tryptophan is a naturally-occurring chemical that is found in turkey. It can also be found in supplements (often called L-tryptophan), and for good reason. Tryptophan has a calming effect and can even help people who have trouble sleeping. Tryptophan can help ease anxiety, panic, and other nervous problems.

10. Weight can be kept in check by the ingestion of lean protein. Because it digests slowly, high protein meals and snacks help you feel full longer, enhancing weight loss. Proteins take a lot of calories and energy to digest, which also adds to turkey’s low-calorie status.

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