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L.Srikumar Pai
B.Sc( Engg.), MIE, MIWWA, MICI
Civil Engineer & CAD Specialist
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Chicken packed with vitamins, nutrients

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HEALTHY FOODS — By Mini Padikkal — Chicken is one of the safest and widely consumed meat on the planet. As a most nutritious meat, chicken is packed with vitamins and nutrients that are essential for health. For the healthy growth of children, consumption of chicken meat is very important. Since it comes in varied forms and is tasty, children eat it with pleasure. For adults, too chicken meat is essential for maintaining good health. If there is one word to describe chicken is its versatility. Roasted, broiled, grilled or poached, and combined with a wide range of herbs and spices, chicken makes a delicious and nutritious meal. Not only chicken is an excellent source of protein, but has many other vitamins and nutrients. Some of them include tryptophan, vitaminB3, selenium, vitamin B6 and phosphorus. A serving of 3 oz. of cooked chicken contains 160 calories, 7 g of fat and 22 g of protein.

Chicken meat is a low carbohydrate food packed with protein. Even though chicken liver is packed with lots of essential vitamins, it is high in cholesterol and contains very high amount of LDL (bad cholesterol) and those who care for their cholesterol levels should throw chicken liver. Chicken meat is power packed with proteins and makes one of the favourite foods for body builders due to its muscle building potential. Chicken is a good source of niacin, B-6, B-12, vitamin D, iron and zinc which is essential to maintain a healthy body. Consuming chicken helps to slow down aging and selenium found in chicken is an effective anti-aging component.

Researches show that chicken soup helps break up congestion and eases the flow of nasal secretions. Many say it also inhibits white blood cells that trigger the inflammatory response, causing sore throats and the production of phlegm. Chicken also contains an amino acid called cysteine that is released when you make the soup. This amino acid thins mucus in the lungs, aiding in the healing process. When combined with nutrient rich veggies, homemade chicken soup can definitely help the healing process in those who fall prey to colds or the flu. The leanest part of the chicken to eat is the breast, which contains very little fat, especially saturated fat. People who are trying to lose weight, the less fat you eat the less your body has to process for energy and therefore it starts to burn of the fat that has been stored up in your body, helping you to lose weight.

Eat Halal Meat

We are fortunate that we get only halal (lawful) meat in Oman, which is very hygienic and healthy. Scientific tests have proven that when the animal's throat is slit along with the windpipe and the vein (without damage to the spinal cord), the animal dies a most painless death. The animal twitches its legs not because of pain but because the heart has pumped out all the blood from the legs. Blood carries toxins and impurities that are harmful for humans.

To maximise the health benefits of chicken, we should aim to cook it in the healthiest ways possible. The important nutritional differences result from preparation. If you add fat during preparation, you are also adding calories (fat has nine calories per gram as compared to four for protein or carbohydrate) into it. As far as possible leave the ways to cook chicken that is not classified as healthy, such as frying or cooking with bread mixture. Both processing methods are definitely using materials with high fat content, including cooking oil, butter, and eggs.

Splurging on fatty foods is thus more likely to result in weight gain than consuming excess carbohydrates or protein. Your body actually needs dietary fat to function properly and certain fats can reduce your risk of cardiovascular problems. Thus chicken is rich in healthy fats and is generally contains low amounts of unhealthy fats.

(The writer is a dietician at Atlas Medical Centre, Al khuwair, Muscat.)

( Courtesy: )




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