Like me, are you still stuffed after over-indulging in too much turkey yesterday?  Regret finishing that ultra-gargantuan colossal drumstick?  Most of us, as tradition dictates, enjoy a big, juicy turkey for our Thanksgiving feast.  After all, turkey has been the protein-of-choice on Thanksgiving for centuries.  To be totally honest, it seems like its overhyped for such an event – but who am I to criticize?

So, what is all the hype around turkey for Thanksgiving anyway?  Even the President of the United States gets an “official” Thanksgiving turkey each year for the customary White House celebration.  From a taste standpoint, of course we know turkey is almost an ideal choice of meat.  It is mild, yet salty and it pairs well with fruits, veggies, and bread products alike.

But from a health standpoint, turkey also shows a lot of promise, and here are FIVE really good reasons for you to continue to enjoy eating turkey ALL year ’round!

  1. For relaxation purposes  •  Why do you think that so many take a rest after their Turkey Day meal?  It’s the amino acid Tryptophan!  Tryptophan is a precursor to certain neurotransmitters and can work to produce serotonin as well as melatonin in the body which produces a relaxing effect.
  2. Get 2/3rds of your RDA of protein  •  Turkey packs quite the punch of protein, offering a whopping 32g of protein per 4oz. serving! Children who have behavioral disorders may lack muscle tone, it is particularly important to ensure children with developmental issues have adequate amounts of protein in their diet. Lack of protein can cause poor pallor, lack of energy, feelings of weakness, jitteriness, or spaciness. If you are experiencing this, you can calculate your daily protein needs by taking your weight and dividing it by 2.2. This will give you your weight in kilos. Take your weight in kilos and multiply by .8 and you will have your daily protein requirement in grams.
  3. Lower your cholesterol and boosting your brain power  •  The wonderful Niacin in turkey may help increase your HDL cholesterol, the good kind, while also helping to reduce your LDL cholesterol, the bad kind. You can’t go wrong with that! Turkey is an excellent source of B12, which helps decrease levels of homocysteine that can contribute to cognitive decline.
  4. Losing those unwanted pounds  •  Gotta love B Vitamins, particularly vitamins B3 and B6.  A serving of turkey meat has 36% of the daily allowance of B3 and 27 percent of your recommended intake of B6. This does wonders for your metabolism and can prove to be extremely effective for those who are chronically constipated as B vitamins help peristaltic contractions, which pass waste through the intestines.
  5. Cancer prevention  •  A little-known health benefit of turkey is that it contains trace minerals thought to aid in cancer prevention. Turkey contains selenium, which is essential for the healthy function of the thyroid and immune system. Selenium also has an essential role to play in your antioxidant defense system, helping to eliminate cancer-friendly free radicals in the body.