Three Essential Healthy And Tasty Chicken Recipes
09/06/2012 | 12:36 PM
If there is a single adjective that will describe chicken it is versatile. Chickens date back more than 4000 years ago in southern Asia. The birds were raised and eaten by many ancient cultures, including ancient Egyptians, ancient Greece and Rome, and documentation of chicken meals can be found in the Babylonian carvings from 600 BCE.
Combined with herbs and spices, chicken can surely make a flavorful, delicious and nutritious meal. It is no surprise that this white meat is considered to be the largest source of important animal protein around the world. Dieticians consider it a healthier alternative to red meat.
What Goes in to This Recipe?
Chicken is one of the most popular meat options for healthy eating. Healthy chicken recipes are carefully formulated to increase flavor, while cutting out extra fat and sodium. Here are few popular ones.
- Healthy Chicken Curry Recipe – Cut your chicken into 2 inch pieces and sprinkle it curry powder, and cook in a pan with vegetable oil. Once the meat is nearly cooked, take it out, and fry up some onions, carrots, green beans and bells pepper until nearly cooked. Add the chicken back in, some turmeric and yogurt to taste. The core ingredients – chicken, veggies and yoghurt are nutritious, but the spices in this dish make it more healthy: several studies have found that turmeric eases the swelling of joints caused by arthritis and other causes. Chili powder is rich in vitamins like vitamin C, with one tablespoon containing 4.8 mg of it; which is about 8 percent of your daily recommended intake, and is invaluable in immune system health. It also contains 2,224 IU of vitamin A per tablespoon, vital in skin health.
- Healthy Lemon Chicken - Most lemon chicken recipes can be improved by adding lemon juice or simply adding a whole lemon into the chicken’s body cavity. You can also stuff fresh rosemary, parsley, thyme and basil into the cavity too – they also complement chicken. Every bite will be filled with tangy and tart lemon, just enough to tingle your taste buds. This healthy lemon chicken recipe reduces the calories when the chicken is breaded and fried common to chicken recipes. And lemon juice is rich in vitamin C and disease fighting compounds called limonoids.
- Chicken Salad – Cook up a chicken breast, ideally by poaching or grilling. Then shred into ½ inch strips. Add to lettuce, tomatoes, avocado, cucumber and corn. Dress with olive oil, vinegar, mustard and salt and pepper. If possible try to use skinless chicken -- the skin of a chicken acts as a latex glove, holding all the fat in. Approximately 45-75% of the fat in chicken is from its skin.
What Makes It So Healthy?
Chicken is high in important vitamins and a lean source of protein. It also contains fewer calories and fat than beef. According to researchers, a serving of 4 ounces of chicken can provide up to 68% of the human body’s daily protein requirement. Meat eaters who aim to lower fat content in their meals should opt for healthy chicken recipes. Chicken breasts are the leanest part of the bird. They also contain half the fat found in an average sized T-bone steak. Chicken skin is where all the fat is stored so remember to remove it prior to cooking. (but it so good when its crunchy!)
How will it Benefit Me?
Healthy chicken recipes are excellent sources of lean protein due to its low fat content. High protein intake can help preserve the bones. Other nutrients that typically accompany healthy chicken dishes can help in the following ways:
- B Vitamins - Chicken contains a valuable source of Vitamin B6. Vitamin B6 support the body’s metabolism and cardiovascular system. Several enzymes that aid metabolic reactions in the body require Vitamin B6. The vitamin is also vital for overall energy production. In addition, Vitamin B6 is involved in several intercellular processes that give cardiovascular protection. Several studies have linked low levels of B6 to cardiovascular disease.
- Vitamin B3 - or niacin is also found in chicken. This vitamin helps convert carbohydrates, protein and fats in the body into more useable energy. At the same time, Vitamin B3 optimizes blood sugar regulation. It also helps to stabilize insulin levels.
- Antioxidant Defense - Chicken is a very good source of the trace mineral selenium, which boosts the immune system, aids cell growth, supports your thyroid and metabolism, and acts as an antioxidant to prevent cell damage. It can help induce DNA synthesis and repair damaged cells, leading to the inhibition of the proliferation of possible cancer cells.
- Other Benefits - In 2008, a study published in the Journal of Neuroscience found that a vitamin found in chicken, poultry, peanuts, sunflower seeds and fish, including salmon was linked to neurodegenerative repair and better memories in mice. Scientists found that mice fed nicotinomide, a vitamin found in chicken, daily showed no sign of brain damage and were cured of pre-existing Alzheimer’s.
Why Shouldn’t I Eat Too Much of This?
Nutritionalists recommend that half your daily’s protein, or about 6 oz should come from dairy, veggies, and grains. The rest can come from animal sources, including chicken. If you eat organic chicken, then the whole 6 oz can come from chicken, since it is a good source of lean protein. However, if the chicken isn’t organic, then eating it every day can lead to a build up of arsenic. Dieticians recommend that you stick to 6 3 oz servings per week to limit arsenic.
Healthy chicken recipes make easy and quick meals that the entire family can enjoy. Many conventional chicken recipes can be modified by using vegetable oil instead of butter, low-fat dairy or by adding more veggies to the dish. Chicken is one of the leanest sources of protein and full of key nutrients such as vitamin B6, B3, selenium, and nicotinomide. Organic chickens do not contain the antibiotics or arsenic, and for this reason, many dieticians say they are healthier.