Proteins, fats, water-soluble vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates: chicken and turkey have excellent nutritional properties, especially if eaten as part of a varied and balanced diet essential for our health and wellbeing.
Let’s take a look at their main nutritional properties!
The importance of protein
Like almost all food products of animal origin, chicken and turkey have a "high quality" protein component, which is measured using the Protein Digestibility-Corrected Amino Acid Score (PDCAAS).
What does this score mean? Products of animal origin typically have a value around 1, while plant products have values lower than 0.7. Plant products, even though they contain a significant proportion of proteins, have an incomplete amino acid profile (generally lacking in one or more essential amino acids), and/or have less digestible proteins.
Although proteins contain less calories than fats (providing 4 calories per gram, the same as carbohydrates, compared with 9 calories per gram found in fats), it’s particularly important to include them in a daily diet to maintain the body’s main functions. This is why a specific protein requirement has been defined.
In fact, according to Italian LARN nutrition guidelines, the average adult man and woman needs 0.71g of protein per Kg of weight every day. This figure progressively increases for adolescents and children, up to 1.11g of protein per Kg of weight for infants.
The right amount of fats
Meat is often identified as a source of fat, especially saturated fat, and is, therefore, associated with an excess of these nutrients and with the corresponding negative health effects. We must remember, however, that in the general healthy population the optimal level of fat intake is between 25% and 35% of total calories. A typical daily diet of 2,000 calories means a recommended intake of 70g of fat per day. Because of their composition, eating chicken and turkey is an excellent way to help meet protein needs without exceeding the lipid intake recommended by the guidelines.
In fact, fat percentages in chicken and turkey range from 1% in the leaner cuts, such as breast meat, to 17% in chicken wings cooked with skin on*: Furthermore, chicken and turkey contain high amounts of fatty acids that are nutritionally beneficial (*source: CREA - Food and Nutrition Research Centre food composition tables).
Here’s a fun fact: fats are mainly contained in the skin and can therefore be easily eliminated. In short, it’s another way to stay healthy!
Generally, we mustn’t forget that fats play an important role in maintaining a healthy and balanced diet:
Vitamins and minerals
Meat is an excellent source of minerals - especially phosphorus, potassium and, to a lesser extent, calcium - and of most water-soluble vitamins, such as vitamin B12 and other B vitamins, (pyridoxine, biotin, niacin, pantothenic acid, riboflavin, thiamine). Whilst red meat has higher quantities of vitamin B12, chicken and turkey play an important role in terms of thiamine intake.
Meat contains the highest amounts of the micronutrient "haem" iron, and chicken and turkey are good sources of this. In fact, 100g of chicken thigh meat provides 1.4mg of iron, compared to 1.3mg from the same amount of beef rump (adult bovine)*.
Chicken and turkey are also excellent sources of selenium.
As shown in this article - which was written with scientific support from nutritional experts from the Nutrition Foundation of Italy - chicken and turkey play an important nutritional role in a healthy and balanced diet.
Citterio offers a wide range of cooked chicken and turkey, ideal for any situation: a quick snack, a a delicious appetiser, or the right ingredient for creative dishes. Perfette, Sofficette, Merenda: each product has its own taste. Bon appetite!