Just in time for Thanksgiving — or Turkey Day in many households — the Harvard Health Letter is touting the nutritional benefits of turkey. Iowa Turkey Federation executive director Gretta Irwin says the newsletter is read by dieticians and nutritionists around the country.Irwin has read the letter, and she says it praises the nutritive value of the turkey, cranberries and sweet potatoes included in many Thanksgiving feasts. “They started off the letter by talking about turkey meat and how easy it is on your heart, and it’s easy on your heart because of the low saturated fats and the low calories but yet the high protein.”The Harvard Health Letter says “in comparison to other meats, turkey — white meat in particular — is a better source of protein, is lower in total fat and saturated fat and has fewer calories. A three-ounce serving, for example, contains 133 calories, 25 grams of protein, 2.7 grams of total fat and slightly less than one gram of saturated fat. White turkey meat even has fewer calories and fat than chicken. “It does say that white turkey meat has even fewer calories and less fat than chicken does,” she says. “So if you balance out the protein and the calories, (turkey) is a wonderful choice for any diet today.” The Harvard Health Letter also cites turkey as a source of the amino acid that helps dilate blood vessels. As for other items on a Thanksgiving Day menu, sweet potatoes and pumpkins are rich in valuable nutrients like potassium and cranberries contain valuable antioxidants. The editor of the newsletter warns, though, that the health benefits of such foods can be overweighed by the brown sugar, marshallows and other ingredients added to Thanksgiving Day dishes.
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