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The many health benefits of turkey

Elements4Health.com
2008 November 26

The domestic turkey is a descendent of the Wild Turkey (Meleagris gallopavo), and is native to the United States, and the Ocellated Turkey (Meleagris ocellata) is native to Mexico.

The turkey has become synonymous with Thanksgiving in the United States and is becoming more popular due its health benefits.

The health benefits of turkey include reduced LDL cholesterol, mood-enhancing properties, helps prevent cancer, boosts testosterone and immune system.

Health Benefits of Turkey

  • Nutrients
    Turkey is a very good source of protein, selenium, niacin, vitamin B6 and the amino acid tryptothan. It’s a good source of zinc and vitamin B12. The skinless white meat is an excellent high-protein, low-fat food.
  • Reduce LDL Cholesterol
    The Cholesterol Education Program recommends adopting diets that are low in cholesterol, saturated fat and trans fatty acids. Light, skinless, roasted turkey has less saturated fat, less total fat, and less cholesterol than chicken, pork or beef.
  • Cancer Prevention
    The amino acid tryptophan is needed for T cells, a type of immune system cell that kills cancer cells. T cells activated in the absence of free tryptophan become susceptible to death via apoptosis.
  • Mood Enhancer
    Neurotransmitters are made from amino acids, and the neurotransmitter serotonin is made from tryptophan. Serotonin helps to improve mood and eating food such as turkey can improve your mood.Fifteen women who had suffered recurrent episodes of major depression received two amino acid mixtures in a double-blind crossover design. One of the mixtures was nutritionally balanced and contained tryptophan and the other was identical except it contained no tryptophan. After drinking the tryptophan-free mixture, ten of the 15 women experienced temporary but clinically significant depressive symptoms. No changes in mood were seen after taking the nutritionally balanced mixture containing tryptophan.
  • Immune Booster
    There is a growing body of evidence indicating that the amino acid tryptophan plays a pivotal role in the immune system. In a study on mice it was found that tryptophan metabolites (molecules formed as the body breaks down the amino acid), work as well as any other existing medicines to alleviate symptoms of the autoimmune disease multiple sclerosis.
  • Testosterone Booster
    The protein from organic turkey will help in maintaining optimum testosterone levels in men. The hormones used in industrial turkey might increase estrogen production and lower testosterone levels. Diets low in protein in elderly men may lead to elevated sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG) levels and decreased testosterone bioactivity. The decrease in bioavailable testosterone can result in declines in sexual function and muscle and red cell mass, and contribute to the loss of bone density.
  • Insomnia
    The amino acid tryptophan plays a vital role in sleep and is effective in promoting sleep in cases of chronic insomnia.

Full article here

Pass the sweet potatoes, please

Sweet potato nutrition – six amazing facts you need to know

Tara Green
Natural News
2011 November 12

One of the most nutritious foods on the traditional Thanksgiving menu is the sweet potato. These orange-skinned root vegetables offer a host of health benefits (especially when cooked without the unnecessary sugar and marshmallows). If you want to raise health consciousness around the dinner table this holiday season, try throwing some of these six sweet potato facts into the conversation:

1. High nutritional value

A 7-ounce (1 cup) serving of sweet potatoes contains 65% of the minimum necessary daily amount of Vitamin C. Sweet potatoes are also high in calcium, folate, potassium and beta-carotene. Beta-carotene is an antioxidant which converts to Vitamin A in the body: one serving of sweet potatoes can provide you with as much as 700% of the US RDA for Vitamin A. The Center for Science in the Public Interest rates sweet potatoes as the number one most nutritious vegetable because they such are so nutritionally rich.

2. Low glycemic index

If you are unfamiliar with this term, the glycemic index indicates the impact a food substance has on blood sugar levels. A high glycemic index means blood sugar levels can spike. Diabetes and others who monitor their blood sugar levels seek to avoid foods with a high glycemic index or load. Sweet potatoes have a glycemic load of only 17. (By way of comparison, a white potato has an index of 29.)

3. Accessing sweet potatoes’ nutritional benefits is easy

To gain the maximum health benefits from eating sweet potatoes, avoid discarding their skins — much of their healing potential resides in this portion of the tubers. Also, following the common dieters’ fallacy of avoiding all fats reduces your ability to access sweet potatoes’ benefits: beta-carotene absorbs more thoroughly into the body when consumed with a small amount of fat. Recent research seems to indicate that steaming or boiling sweet potatoes rather than roasting them helps preserve their low glycemic index.

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