Naturopathic Kitchen: Turkey

A traditional holiday turkey being carved

Roast turkey is a traditional part of many holiday dinners, but did you know that turkey is a very versatile ingredient that can be used year-round to add more nutrition to your diet? Its mild, savory flavor also makes it a favorite of kids and picky eaters of all ages. This lean meat can be used in many recipes and is a go-to ingredient for many households. Not only that, turkey also packs a nutritious punch, with high protein, B vitamins, and numerous minerals.

High Protein Content

One hundred grams of cooked turkey contains 27.1 grams of protein, making it an easy way to up your protein intake. 1 Protein is essential for muscle development and maintenance. 2 Turkey may be a healthier source of protein than red meat, which may be connected to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer. 3 4 If you are working on your fitness, try adding turkey to your post-workout meals.

Rich in B Vitamins

Turkey is a good source of multiple B vitamins, including B1, B2, B3 (niacin), B6, B9 (folate) and B12. 5 B vitamins function in a variety of ways, including producing energy in the body and supporting the nervous system. 6 For example, vitamin B3 (niacin) is essential for communication between cells and energy production, and vitamin B12 is required for red-blood-cell production and forming DNA. 7 8 Turkey is a great way to up your B vitamin intake easily.

Good Source of Minerals

Are you looking to add more minerals to your diet? Turkey has a high mineral content, including zinc, selenium, and phosphorus. 9 Zinc is necessary for a number of functions, including DNA synthesis, protein synthesis, and supporting the immune system. 10 Selenium aids in the production of thyroid hormones, which regulate metabolism. 11 12 Phosphorus is an essential mineral needed to maintain bone health. 13

How to Add More Turkey to Your Diet

There are countless creative ways to integrate more turkey into your meals. Here are a few of our favorites:

  • Use ground turkey in place of ground beef for burger patties, chili, pasta sauces, shepherd’s pie, meatballs, and any other recipes that call for ground meat.
  • Add fresh roasted turkey to sandwiches, salads, and wraps.
  • Add cooked turkey to your favorite soup recipe.
  • Make bone broth using turkey—this is a great way to use the leftover bones from a turkey dinner!
  • Combine diced cooked turkey with greek yogurt, chopped celery, and your favorite herbs and spices for a healthier version of chicken salad. Eat it served over a bed of greens, or add to a sandwich or wrap.
  • Cook ground turkey with taco seasoning, then add it to tacos or burritos with salsa, corn, beans, lime juice, and any other toppings you prefer.
  • Note that you should avoid processed turkey, which is often high in sodium and other preservatives. When possible, opt for organic turkey raised without the use of antibiotics.


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