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LGLWSM Newsletter 030 - The Health Benefits of Turkey!
November 24, 2009

In lieu of the upcoming holidays, I thought it might be interesting to know the health benefits of turkey, since we will all be gobbling it up! The delectable smell of turkey roasting in the oven all day is so mouth watering! When it's finally time to eat, you are really ready right?

Turkey is such a big tradition in the US and all over the world. Turkey can be enjoyed by anyone who loves low-fat white or dark meat. Recent studies have shown that cooking poultry with the skin on seals in the natural juices, won’t dry out meat, and the fat from the skin does not seep into the meat. Anyone watching their weight can avoid purchasing skinless cuts and save calories, simply by removing the skin before consumption.

Health Benefits of Turkey


Turkey is naturally low in fat without the skin, and only contains 1 gram of fat per ounce. A 5-ounce serving provides almost half of the recommended daily allowance of folic acid, and is a good source of vitamins B, B1,B6, zinc and potassium.

Turkey is also a very good source of protein, selenium, B12, and the amino acid tryptophan. The skinless white meat is an excellent high-protein, low-fat food. Get more information and the links for all of these vitamins here:

Vitamin Supplements.


A diet that is naturally low in cholesterol, saturated fats, and trans fatty acids, is better for your overall health. Light, skinless, roasted turkey has less saturated fat, less total fat, and less cholesterol than chicken, pork, or beef.


The amino acid tryptophan is needed for killer T cells to do their work. T cells help kill free radicals which can cause cancer cells to form. T cells activated in the absence of free tryptophan become susceptible to death via apoptosis.


Neurotransmitters are made from amino acids, and the neurotransmitter Serotonin is made from tryptophan. Serotonin helps to improve your mood. That's why eating foods that contain tryptophan such as turkey, can make you feel really great!

In a recent study, fifteen women who had suffered recurrent episodes of depression received two amino acid mixtures in a double-blind placebo test. One of the mixtures was nutritionally balanced and contained tryptophan and the other was identical except it didn't contain tryptophan.

After drinking the tryptophan-free mixture, ten of the 15 women experienced temporary but clinically significant depression. The women taking the nutritionally balanced mixture containing tryptophan said they did not feel depressed.


There is growing evidence indicating that the amino acid tryptophan plays a pivotal role in the immune system. In one study on mice, researchers discovered that tryptophan metabolites (molecules formed as the body breaks down amino acids), work as well as any other existing medicines to alleviate symptoms of the autoimmune disease multiple sclerosis.


Protein from organic or free range turkey helps maintain optimum testosterone levels in men whereas the hormones used in industrial turkey increases estrogen production and lowers testosterone levels.

Diets low in protein in elderly men especially, may lead to elevated sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG) levels and decreased testosterone bioactivity. The decrease in bioavailable testosterone can result in sexual dysfunction and contribute to the loss of bone density and muscle mass.


The amino acid tryptophan plays a role in good sleeping habits and is effective in promoting sleep in cases of chronic insomnia.

Does Turkey Make You Sleepy?

It was once believed that typtophan found in turkey, was the culprit that made you feel sleepy after your Thanksgiving meal. Turns out that’s not necessarily true. It’s actually the high amount of carbohydrates you consume added to the amount of food you consume.

What really makes you sleepy is this.

When you eat a lot, a lot of your blood flow is diverted temporarily to your tummy! After all, you need lots of help digesting your food! That takes the blood flow away from your brain and that can set off yawning!

Turkey Tips!

For those watching their fat intake, stick to white turkey meat. Bake, broil, or sauté in as little oil as possible, using broth, lemon, or orange juice as a basting sauce instead.

With just a small amount of olive oil, lemon and plenty of fresh herbs, your Thanksgiving turkey will be fragrant and succulent. The cooking time is for an unstuffed bird. To reduce your fat intake, be sure to remove the skin before eating the meat.

Cook Time: 3 hours, 45 minutes


  • 1 12-14-pound turkey, completely thawed
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and quartered
  • Couple cloves of garlic
  • 1 lemon, halved
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 6 large sprigs rosemary
  • 6 large sprigs sage
  • 6 large sprigs thyme
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper


    Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

    Remove giblets and neck from inside the turkey and reserve to make stock if you wish.

    Rinse turkey inside and out with cold water. Pat dry with paper towels.

    Place onion, garlic, half a lemon and 4 sprigs of each herb inside the bird's cavity. Secure legs with kitchen string. Place turkey breast side up on roasting rack in pan. Squeeze the remainder lemon half into a small bowl. Brush the bird with lemon juice and olive oil, and add salt and pepper. Cover.

    Place in oven and roast for 15 minutes at 425 degrees for an initial blast of heat.

    Reduce heat to 325 degrees. Baste turkey frequently with pan juices plus lemon and oil, and roast until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the thigh reaches 180 degrees - about 3 to 3 3/4 hours.

    When your turkey only has about an hour to cook, take the cover off so it can brown nicely.

    Remove turkey from oven and let stand for 15 minutes. Transfer to a warm platter and garnish with remaining herbs. Serves 12.

    Until Next Time!

    Stay Sweet and Be Beautiful!


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