Staple meal of one part of society and a mystery to the other! Chicken is a must have in a non-vegetarian meal plan. The numerous methods of cooking chicken makes it a versatile dish. Be it grilled, boiled, poached or roasted, the variety of this meat makes it a favorite worldwide. Weddings or parties or just an ordinary day, those who love it need no reason to devour the dishes. Chicken is a favorite for the health nuts and body builders. Why is this so? Apart from the yummy factor, what is it about chicken that makes people so happy? With many strongly worded arguments from the vegetarian section and the vegan section about the unnecessary use of chicken in diet, the world still refuses to let go. Is a way of celebration, a treat to taste buds or a smart way to stay healthy and happy? Let’s explore this in the article and try to figure out the whys.
10. Protein Party!
Every diet plan and every body building guide will emphasize on this component. Protein. And chicken is listed as the best source of proteins. For a healthy diet it is recommended to have just right amount of proteins and chicken has the eight essential amino acids to make the right kind of protein. The added benefit here is the protein-fat ratio. When one consumes 100 gms of chicken pieces (for comparison imagines a bowl of chicken roughly the size of a single deck of cards) they only get 4 gms of total fat (including one gm of saturated fat) and 31 grams of proteins. In this trade off, more than half the requirement of daily protein intake is fulfilled and corresponding fat intake is less.
9. Vitamins and minerals
Chicken is rich in niacin that is vitamin B3, Pantothenic acid (vitamin B5) and vitamin B6. 100 grams of proteins contains 12 grams of niacin which is around 60% of our daily requirements. Niacin helps with energy metabolism and helps in the process of making cholesterol etc. Vitamin B6 is present in comparatively lower quantity with 114 grams of proteins providing 10% of our daily requirements. However B6 is important energy metabolism, and helps to care for the cells of nails, hair and healthy skin. Here again the vitamin-fat ratio is alluring for the general population as it fulfills the daily requirements without overdoing the fat content. Phosphorous content helps with smooth functioning of the liver, central nervous system and kidneys.
8. Healthy appetite and metabolism
Sometimes in the fast paced life food becomes unappealing, people start losing weight they don’t want to or are unable to maintain their figure due to over/under eating. Here chicken is helpful. Chicken contains Zinc which is the key ingredient to increase appetite as it helps in regulating the digestive system. This is beneficial for everyone as chicken provides lean proteins which require more calories to process thus promoting healthier metabolism and a healthy appetite. This is a recommended food for growing kids as it helps develop stable and healthy appetite. The low fat content along with energy boosters help maintain a healthy weight and be active at the same time.
7. Investment for future
Bone loss i.e. osteoporosis is a major problem in old age. Similarly age related cognitive decline, Alzheimer etc. are difficult to handle. Various studies have shown that the vitamin, protein content of chicken helps fight the onset of these ailments thus protecting the body and brain alike. Thus to be safer in later stage of life, it is highly recommended to have sufficient intake of chicken as it is a well-rounded option. Arthritis is another reason to take up chicken. It contains selenium which reduces the risk of arthritis.
The warm feeling in the body, relaxed feel is caused by an amino acid tryptophan. The serotonin level in brain is what determines the mood. When it’s low, depression appears at the horizon. In normal terms we see that when this serotonin is less I feel low. It makes sense to boost this one to get in the high energy zone. Chicken has the factors, serotonin and amino acid. Thus a portion of poultry will go a long way to prevent stress, depression and related menace. The delicious chicken soup (everyone has their mom’s special version) is stale when one has cold or is down for it gives the ‘warm ’feeling and eventually lulls us to sleep.
5. Helps fight PMS
The time of the month and the associated problems are nightmare for the fairer sex. Chicken is helpful companion in this fight for the nutrient content helps fight off the major issues like craving for food, weakness crams, depression etc. With B6 and riboflavin in measurable quantity, chicken provides the necessary minerals which the body loses in the process. The stress buster factor is helpful with the gloomy mood. The mineral content like magnesium and calcium supplements the body and keeps it healthy.
4. Healthy Heart
The blood pump of the human body needs to be deeply cared for. And in this process chicken is a great option. Unless you take chicken to mean fried chicken (in that case, you are doomed) chicken proves to be more than helpful. In simple terms chicken provides B6 to the body which helps produce a wide range of active molecules. In absence of B6, the molecules do not complete the transition to active molecule at desired pace. This leads to production of destructive molecules which accumulate at high rate to destroy the blood vessels and leads to a heart attack. So chicken helps in controlling this destructive molecule (homocysteine)
3. Cancer Protection
Glutathione peroxidase is one of the most important antioxidant in human body which is present in liver. Its job is to detoxify our body and prevent the harmful molecules from infecting other molecules. When the level of this enzyme drops, the molecules get a free pass to cripple them healthy cells. A trace mineral called Selenium is used to produce this enzyme and this mineral is present in chicken. Vitamin B (niacin) helps repair genetically damaged cells and restrict their spreading. As stated before, chicken is a rich source of this vitamin.
2. Eyes and teeth
Among the lesser known advantages of chicken is it helps maintain healthy eyesight. Some of the necessary factors to maintain good eyesight are retinol, alpha and beta-carotene, lycopene etc. All these are derived from vitamin A. Chicken provides a healthy dose of all these thus the bird is very helpful and maintaining a sharp vision. Phosphorous content of chicken helps maintain healthy teeth.
1. Tissues regrowth
With winter come problems like dry skin, chapped lips, broken skin etc. Chicken helps in combating these outbreaks as it provides Riboflavin or Vitamin B2. Riboflavin helps the tissue in their growth as the protein and mineral content are essential catalysts in energy metabolism and molecule formations. The broken tissue is mending faster with help of riboflavin. Healthy skin is one reason to eat chicken.
If the method of consumption is fried chicken or with a heavy helping of cheese or mayo the advantages of chicken fade out in comparison to the disadvantages. Everything in excess can be a disaster. The saturated fat is low in content however its presence is indicative of the harm if consumed in excess.