Growing up, chicken was the meat of choice in my mom’s kitchen. From baked chicken cutlets, to honey lemon chicken or roast chicken breast, it was frequently a chicken protein kind of night. Granted, we did have our share of London broil, meat balls and salisbury steak nights, but I tended to gravitate towards her white meat cooking, and still do to this day in my own kitchen repertoire.
Now, in my mid-30’s, I continue to eat chicken on a somewhat frequent basis, both for liking the taste and the nutritional benefits. Many health conscious people will only eat white meat chicken for it’s protein value, but what they do not know is that they are missing vital nutrients from the darker meat chicken. The below should help you to understand the multitude of benefits found in your chicken consumption. So, the next time you go to order plain old grilled chicken, give the other parts of this bird a chance as not only are they more nutritious, but juicier and more flavorful overall.
What are the benefits you ask?
Dark meat has more iron, B6, B12, zinc, riboflavin and thiamine.
**Remember, when purchasing meat, to source organic, hormone free, antibiotic free, grass fed and free range**
All B vitamins are present in chicken meat, including B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B12, folate, biotin, and choline.
B1 (thiamine) helps to break down carbs and sugars
B 1 deficiencies affect the heart and nervous system
B2 (riboflavin) is the energizing B vitamin. B2 helps the body break down carbs, fats and proteins. This vitamin also keeps skin healthy, boosts immunity and prevents migraine headaches
B3 (niacin) helps us break down our food and turn it into energy
B5 (pantothenic acid) – This vitamin is found in protein rich vegetables including kale & broccoli. It’s a water-soluble vitamin that breaks down carbs and lipids for energy. It is essential to produce hormones and for growth (especially in children)
B6 (pyridoxine) Helps the body metabolize amino acids from our food and build new blood cells
B12 (methylcobalamin) This B vitamin builds blood cells and maintains healthy nerve cells.
And for those non-meat eaters, please keep this in mind...
When people are avoiding meat in their diets, it is crucial for them to supplement in B vitamins or eat more sea greens like chlorella and spirulina to avoid health issues such as anxiety and nerve damage.