7 Reasons Why Turkey Meat is Healthier Than Ham

Turkey meat surpasses ham in health benefits due to higher protein content, lower saturated fat, reduced sodium levels, leaner meat option, healthier nutritional profile, reduced cholesterol levels, and lower health risks associated with processed meats.

is turkey meat healthier than ham

When considering healthier options, the turkey vs. ham debate is common, especially during holidays. This blog post outlines seven key reasons why turkey may be the healthier pick over ham.

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1. Higher Protein Content

turkey meat high protein

Protein is essential for muscle maintenance, hormone creation, immunity, and health. Turkey outshines ham in protein, with 28.55g per 100g serving versus ham’s 20.93g. This means turkey has roughly 36% more protein, offering a better option for high-quality protein seekers.

Protein, the building block of life, is vital for cell growth and repair in our bodies. It supports muscle maintenance, healthy skin, hair, nails, enzyme and hormone production, and the immune system. Including high-protein foods like turkey in your diet promotes balance and nutrition.

2. Lower Saturated Fat

Preparing the thanksgiving turkey

Not all fats are equal. Saturated fats, common in animal products, can raise LDL cholesterol and heart disease risk. Comparing turkey and ham, turkey has 7.39g of fats per 100g, and ham has 5.53g. Despite the higher fat content in turkey, it’s less saturated than ham, possibly resulting in lower cholesterol levels.

Eating a lot of saturated fats can increase cholesterol and the risk of heart disease and stroke, and cause weight gain as fats have more calories than proteins and carbs. Ham, despite lower total fats than turkey, is less healthy due to more saturated fats.

3. Lower Sodium Levels

sliced cold smoked turkey breast over rustic wooden table. top view

Sodium is crucial for fluid balance but excess can cause cardiovascular issues. Ham, cured with high sodium, has 1203mg per 100g, in stark contrast to turkey’s 103mg. Therefore, turkey is a much healthier option for managing sodium consumption.

While our bodies need some sodium to function properly, too much can lead to serious health problems. High sodium intake has been linked to high blood pressure, which increases the risk of heart disease and stroke. Additionally, excessive sodium can cause your body to hold onto more water, leading to bloating and weight gain. By opting for lower-sodium options like turkey, you can help maintain a healthier balance.

4. Leaner Meat Option

Slices of raw turkey meat fillet isolated on white

Lean meats are those that are low in fat and calories but high in protein, and turkey fits this description perfectly. As we’ve already discussed, turkey provides more protein for fewer calories compared to ham. This makes it a leaner meat option, ideal for those who are trying to lose weight or simply maintain a healthy diet.

Opting for lean turkey instead of fatty ham can enhance health by offering vital nutrients minus excess calories and fats. This choice aids in weight control, and muscle maintenance, and minimizes heart disease risks linked to high-fat consumption. Including turkey in your diet allows you to reap meat’s advantages while avoiding its negative effects.

5. Healthier Nutritional Profile

Comparing turkey and ham’s nutrient profiles, turkey outshines with higher levels of B vitamins, vitamin A, magnesium, phosphorus, and selenium, crucial for metabolism. Ham, though higher in iron, potassium, zinc, and manganese, lags notably in other nutrients and is higher in sodium.

Turkey’s nutrients, including B vitamins for energy and brain health, selenium for immunity, and magnesium for bone strength, make it a healthy option. Additionally, its high-quality protein can aid muscle growth and maintenance, highlighting its nutritional value.

As AdvocateHealthCare explains in the video –

  1. Turkey Provides Low-Fat Protein
  2. Turkey Contains Iron for Oxygen Transport
  3. Turkey is a Source of Niacin for Energy Metabolism
  4. Turkey Provides Selenium for Thyroid Regulation
  5. Turkey Contains Vitamin B6 for Brain Development
  6. Turkey Provides Zinc for Wound Healing
  7. Turkey Contains Vitamin B12 to Protect Nervous System
  8. Wild Turkeys Look Very Different from Farm-Raised
  9. Saw a Pack of Wild Turkeys, Wanted to Avoid Them
  10. Turkey Contains Key Vitamins and Nutrients for Overall Health

6. Reduced Cholesterol Levels

Closeup of a man serving turkey at a holiday meal

Elevated cholesterol is a major contributor to heart disease, a top global killer. Turkey, with less saturated fat, positively affects cholesterol. Swapping high-fat meats for turkey can sustain healthy cholesterol and lower heart disease risk. Cholesterol, essential for our body, can cause artery plaque if too high, threatening heart health. Choosing turkey aids in preserving cardiovascular health.

7. Dietary Preferences and Health Risks

Christmas dinner meat main dishes, honey glazed spiral sliced ham and roasted turkey breast for the holidays

Food preferences and diets vary, but health risks from processed meats like ham, linked to cancer and chronic illness, should be considered. Opting for turkey may be a healthier alternative given its lower association with heart disease and other conditions.

Processed meats like ham, with additives and high sodium, are linked to heart disease and cancer. Excessive red meat intake also raises colorectal cancer risk. Opting for turkey instead can lower these health risks and improve well-being.

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