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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
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.)