The Beef on Turkey Burgers: Why They’re Heart-Healthy

By , Category : General Health

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Turkey burgers are a low saturated-fat alternative to beef burgers.Turkey burgers are a low saturated-fat alternative to beef burgers that deserves a regular place on your summer BBQ menu. Unfortunately, as with many other naturally “good-for-you” foods, the American tendency is to eat the least healthy food choices. But it’s time turkey burgers took their rightful place as a staple of the summer BBQ. They can be just as hearty and satisfying as any burger made from red meat.

Turkey burgers are high in protein. Turkey protein contains essential amino acids that your body can use to perform a myriad of functions every day. The reason why you need some protein every day—such as that found in turkey meat—is because every single cell in your body contains protein. You muscles need protein, your organs need protein, and even the enzymes and hormones that regulate all the processes inside your body need protein. Turkey meat is an excellent way to meet your protein needs.

Turkey burgers are also high in some key vitamins and minerals. Most notable are selenium and vitamins B3 and B6. Selenium is needed by your body to regulate the healthy functioning of your thyroid. Selenium also promotes a strong immune system. One more important role for selenium: it boosts your antioxidant defense system, helping protect your cells from free radical damage.

As for vitamin B3, it’s needed for proper circulation and healthy skin. B3 is also used by your nervous system to function normally and by your brain to think clearly and retain memories. B6 is involved in just about everything from cancer prevention, to shutting down homocysteine (a chemical that’s bad for your heart) and staving off the symptoms of arthritis. One typical serving of turkey meat can net you 35% of your daily B3 needs and 28% of your recommended daily intake (RDI) for B6.

Turkey meat also contains saturated fat but not as much as other meat proteins. This is provided you buy good quality turkey meat and use more white meat than dark. Dark meat has a higher fat content than white meat as does turkey skin. Getting some saturated fat from turkey burgers is actually a good thing. Your body uses moderate amounts of saturated fat for energy. A little saturated fat is also needed for hormone production.

Before throwing some turkey burgers onto the BBQ, here are some considerations. As was mentioned, turkey burgers made from white meat will contain less saturated fat. Turkeys that have been pasture-raised shouldn’t have any of the antibiotics, hormones, and other non-nutritive substances that are associated with birds grown inside enclosed cages. If you can buy organic, you will be ensured that the meat you are about to eat doesn’t contain harmful substances.

When it comes time to eat your turkey burger, remember that what you put on top is just as important as the turkey burger itself. Load up on fresh veggies. Grill these on the BBQ first with a little olive oil brushed on if you like. Resist the temptation to use mayonnaise and other high-fat cheeses as garnishes.

Source(s) for Today’s Article:
“Healthy Alternatives: Choosing a Turkey Burger over Beef,” Fit Day web site;, last accessed July 24, 2013.
“Turkey, pasture-raised,” The World’s Healthiest Foods web site;, accessed online July 24, 2013.

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Dr. Victor Marchione, MD

About the Author, Browse Victor's Articles

Victor Marchione, MD received his Bachelor of Science Degree in 1973 and his Medical Degree from the University of Messina in 1981. He has been licensed and practicing medicine in New York and New Jersey for over 20 years. Dr. Marchione is a respected leader in the field of smoking cessation and pulmonary medicine. He has been featured on ABC News and World Report, CBS Evening News and the NBC Today Show and is the editor of the popular The... Read Full Bio »