When you say that you will cook a bird for dinner, which one do you mean exactly? .. Yes, of course, chicken! She is the most famous, most popular and most common poultry in all corners of the world, besides, mankind tamed her a long time ago, at least two thousand years before the birth of Christ. Not surprisingly, during this time, chicken has become an ordinary, everyday product in the human diet!
Where is the chicken from?
Chickens in the wild have a whole horde of relatives — here are pheasants, and guinea fowls, and quails … But the closest relative of the domestic chicken, the very first domesticated bird, was from the jungles of Southeast Asia. According to the researchers, for the first time they learned to breed chickens in the farmstead in India.
Today this popular bird is bred in all corners of the world. And we are talking about chickens of a wide variety of breeds, excellent both in plumage, and in size, and in purpose: there are decorative birds — purely for beauty, there are “producers” of eggs, and there are specially bred meat ones. One of the most famous meat breeds today is broiler chicken. When you buy chicken in a store, you are probably buying broiler meat.
And this is neither good nor bad. It’s just a statement of fact.
How useful is chicken?
Chicken meat is an excellent source of lean protein, which is much easier to digest than veal, pork or lamb. But, of course, everything is good in moderation. Therefore, nutritionists insist that a serving of chicken in the daily diet of an adult should not exceed 300 g.
Nutritional value of chicken
100 g of chicken is 19 g of protein, 8–13 g of fat, B vitamins, vitamins A, C, E, F, minerals (in particular iron, zinc, calcium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, magnesium, sulfur, chlorine, copper ) and important amino acids. What exactly — we’ll figure it out.
Amino acids found in chicken
Chicken contains the amino acid arginine, which has immune-modulating and anti-inflammatory properties. Amino acids valine, leucine and lysine promote the growth of muscle tissue, increase the body’s resistance to temperature changes (remember, my grandmother assured me that in the winter cold the most healthy food is soup with strong chicken broth? ..), valine also controls the level of the hormone serotonin in the body , one might say, is responsible for the level of happiness. Another amino acid, purine, promotes the absorption of nutrients and supports the work of metabolic processes in the body. Do you know why traditionally the most popular spring salads and chicken pies? Also because of the amino acid contained in poultry meat, because of tryptophan: this amino acid is a good means of preventing hypovitaminosis.
Need to wake up your brain? Eat a serving of chicken: A “dose” of taurir, another important amino acid, will help your memory cells recover.
How many calories are in a serving of chicken?
Chicken is a recognized favorite in the diet. The calorie content of chicken meat without skin is rather low, only 190 kcal per 100 g of product. As for the boiled chicken breast (of course, also without skin), it is even less — 123 kcal per 100 g of chicken.
The benefits of chicken
So, what is the benefit of chicken?
1. For healthy teeth and bones
Chicken as a high protein food is recommended for older people, and especially for women who may experience bone problems. It is enough to add 100 g of chicken breast to your menu to cover the body’s daily protein requirement. The phosphorus content of chicken will support the health of teeth and bones, and will also contribute to the normal functioning of the kidneys, liver and central nervous system.
2. For the digestive system
Chicken meat in general and chicken breast in particular is a unique product without exaggeration. Simply put, chicken can be eaten even by those who can eat very little. The meat of this bird is included in the diet menu, which is prescribed for many, even very severe digestive disorders. So, for example, chicken is acceptable on the menu of those who suffer from gastritis, pancreatitis, ulcers, in addition, chicken is recommended to be introduced into the diet for diarrhea of various origins. Of course, we are talking about fresh, high-quality meat that has undergone proper heat treatment.
3. For heart health
Chicken meat is useful as a prevention of atherosclerosis, coronary heart disease, it will not harm those who have problems with blood pressure surges. Regular consumption of chicken, according to researchers, prevents the development of early heart attacks and strokes, since poultry meat reduces the level of bad cholesterol, strengthens blood vessels and regulates blood pressure.
4. For immunity
During a cold, during the recovery period after a long illness, doctors recommend adding chicken broth to the menu. The end of the debate about whether it is harmful or useful was put a decade ago in the course of carefully conducted modern research. Chicken broth is a truly valuable vitamin food, rich in numerous vitamins and stimulating the immune system. And — take note! — just an indispensable super tool that helps you quickly get back on your feet after a very noisy party with an abundance of alcohol. And the reason for everything is vitamins, fats, proteins.
5. For the nervous system
According to the observations of doctors, regular consumption of poultry meat reduces the risk of developing neuroses, increases stress resistance and normalizes sleep. The positive effect of chicken meat on the functioning of blood vessels and pulp has been proven. Recent studies also show that eating chicken in old age can be seen as an adjunct preventative against Alzheimer’s disease.
6. For skin health
The composition of chicken includes riboflavin — an element that improves the condition of the skin and mucous membranes. Regular consumption of chicken will improve the complexion, will help cleanse the integument and mucous membranes, and also … will reduce cracking of the lips and relieve inflammation of the gums.
Can pregnant and lactating women eat chicken?
Protein, phosphorus, vitamin E, folic acid — the composition of chicken meat is ideal for the menu of a pregnant and lactating woman. Chicken meat is an easily digestible, nutritious product, not characterized by high calorie content and at the same time very tasty. This meat will maintain the teeth and bones of the expectant mother in a normal state, help to resolve metabolic problems, and will also prevent the formation of puffiness and help normalize blood pressure.
During the period of feeding the baby, chicken in the diet of a woman is also appropriate. She will not only give mommy and baby a lot of useful and nutritious things, but also help the young mother to keep calm and cheerful mood. And this is very important for the health of both mother and child.
How useful is chicken for a child?
Chicken meat is a product that is introduced into the diet of a child among the first. Chicken meat is an excellent source of protein, and it is the main building material for a growing organism. Low-fat, easily digestible meat with a rich composition of useful minerals and amino acids, of course, is good for the baby. It is only important to adhere to all medical recommendations for the introduction of complementary foods. And, of course, so that on the child’s table there is always only a high-quality, fresh product that has undergone proper heat treatment.
Is it possible to eat chicken for those who are losing weight?
According to nutritionists, a high protein content in food contributes to weight loss. Chicken (especially chicken breast) is low in calories and at the same time covers a significant part of the body’s need for protein. In addition, chicken, in comparison with other types of meat, contains a small proportion of cholesterol, which is very useful for the prevention and treatment of many diseases.
Chicken meat is a rich source of selenium, which is necessary for the normal functioning of metabolic processes in the body, which is also very important for normal weight regulation.
Which chicken is the healthiest
And the whole bird as a whole, and each part of it separately deserves the close attention of both gourmets and fans of a healthy diet, and those who are shown special diets (diets). But here, to each his own. The nutritional value, calorie content and vitamin composition of each part of the bird has its own differences.
For example, dark meat (thigh, leg) has more calories than white meat (chicken breast); and the skin contains a significant amount of fat, including saturated fat. For those who follow a diet for weight loss, it is better to remove the chicken skin from the diet, otherwise the piece of bird you like will significantly add to the calorie content. For example, the calorie content of boiled chicken without skin is 170 kcal per 100 g, and with skin — 214 kcal.
The most tender, most dietary meat in a chicken carcass is a breast, or fillet. This meat contains the smallest proportion of cholesterol, so it is considered the noblest and most dietary. Chicken breast is suitable for baby food, for the preventive menu of those suffering from diseases of the cardiovascular system and blood vessels.
Chicken legs and thighs are higher in calories, but their protein content is much lower than in the breast.
The least healthy part of a chicken is the wings. They have very little meat, but an excess of fat.
What is the healthiest way to cook chicken?
The most suitable methods of heat treatment of poultry are roasting or boiling, including steaming. Those who carefully monitor their diet should be careful about deep-fried chicken meat, a variety of complex batters.
What can be dangerous chicken meat?
For all its usefulness, chicken can be extremely dangerous for humans. Raw poultry meat may contain Salmonella, Campylobacter, and Clostridium bacteria. That is why it is extremely important to subject poultry meat to thorough heat treatment. You should also cut the chicken very carefully, wash well all kitchen utensils that came into contact with the raw product, and the cutting board on which the bird was butchered.
To avoid chicken poisoning, it is extremely important to choose a fresh, health-tested product. Alas, a chicken bought on a spontaneous market, no matter how attractive and well-fed it may look, can be a real poison. Therefore, when choosing a bird for the family table, pay attention to the goods presented in trusted retail chains. It will surely be safer.
Chicken meat can also be dangerous due to improper management of poultry and due to improper handling of slaughtered poultry carcasses and improper storage.
Are there hormones and antibiotics in chicken?
As we understand it, chicken comes to retail chains from poultry farms, where poultry is kept on an industrial scale. No matter how high-tech the poultry keeping conditions are, it should be taken into account that there are no and cannot be conditions at the poultry farm for keeping each bird in a separate isolated cage. Birds are constantly in contact with each other and if one gets sick, there is a high risk of losing the entire livestock. To avoid this, birds are occasionally given vitamins and drugs that are similar in composition to antibiotics. But they do not do this all the time, because the accumulation of these substances in the bird’s body is practically reduced to zero. In addition, the quality of chicken goes through multi-level control before it hits the shelves.
As for the “feeding” of the bird with hormones, this is from the category of fantasy. Even without such dangerous feeding, meat breeds of poultry grow well and gain weight well, and they simply do not need “hormone therapy”. In addition, the use of hormones would greatly increase the cost of chicken.
How to choose a chicken?
It is most reasonable to buy poultry in retail chains, where you have the opportunity to purchase a product that has passed a high-quality sanitary check and is safe for life. If you have the slightest doubt, you can also look at the documents confirming that the product is safe to consume.
When choosing a vacuum-packed bird, make sure that the packaging is not damaged.
What is the best chicken size?
Chicken — a bird … Different. Among the representatives of meat breeds, there are also quite large “specimens”. And of course, you can choose a bird of any size and degree of fatness. But if you plan to cook chicken in a special way, according to a recipe freshly found in a fashion magazine, consider one caveat: as a rule, the amount of all ingredients for cooking poultry is given based on a carcass weighing 1.5 kg.
How to store chicken?
Purchased poultry should be stored in the refrigerator or freezer, depending on how quickly you plan to cook it. If you intend to delay cooking the bird for a day or two, it is safer to place it in the freezer.
If you do not plan to cook the whole bird and want to put it aside for long-term (in the freezer) storage, cut it into portions — separate legs, thighs and wings, separate the breast, divide the remaining chicken frame into two to four parts. Pack all parts of the bird in separate bags or containers and place in the freezer. In this form, poultry chicken can be stored in the freezer for about a year. To remember how long the product should be used, write the date of “packing” on the containers (sachets).
If you plan to use the chicken as soon as possible and put it in the refrigerator for, say, a few hours or a day, there is a risk that it may absorb odors. To prevent this from happening, wrap the carcass in cling film.
It should also be remembered that raw chicken meat can be unsafe, so all the more so before placing the bird in the refrigerator, it should be wrapped in film or polyethylene.