It is important to get your chicken consumption right as it can cause certain health risks like food poisoning and diarrhoea or even increased cancer risk from cooking chicken a certain way.
Chicken has long been lauded as a healthy protein and a better option than red meat.Much as we’d like to believe that chicken is a really healthy food, we can’t treat it as the healthiest option on the shelves.
Chicken doesn’t have a lot of goodness in it. With nutrients like vitamin C, folate, B vitamins, as well as selenium, calcium, iron, zinc, magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium, it is a good lean-protein option for those who need their fix of meat. But it may not be healthier than certain fish or a great option if it is eaten at the expense of your daily dose of fresh vegetables and fruits.
The American Heart Association suggests limiting the total intake of lean meat, including skinless chicken and fish, to a combined amount of 6 ounces or less each day. It is important to get your chicken consumption right as it can cause certain health risks like food poisoning and diarrhoea, or even increased cancer risk from cooking chicken a certain way.
Food poisoning from salmonella, campylobacter spp., and other bacteria and germs in chicken remains a very real possibility.1 in 6 has at least one bout of food poisoning or contracts food-borne illnesses every year.
E. coli contamination
The notorious Escherichia coli, more commonly referred to as E. coli, is a bacteria that’s infamous for causing bouts of diarrhoea due to consumption of contaminated or improperly prepared food. Apart from tummy bugs, it could also cause a urinary tract infection and pneumonia or respiratory illness.
Chicken eaten without the skin on may have less cholesterol than a similar portion of lamb or veal. But it isn’t lower on the charts than all other meat.
Beef sirloin and chicken are nearly the same as far as cholesterol levels are concerned. While beef sirloin packs in about 89 mg of cholesterol in a 3.5-oz portion, a similar serving of chicken without skin has about 85 mg.
The other thing that can work against chicken is the way you eat it. I’m sure you love your fried chicken. And if you’re having deep fried food, especially when it’s cooked in an animal fat or reused oil, you end up consuming trans fats and high levels of saturated fats. But you’re better off with a gently roasted piece of lean beef.
Consuming a diet that’s very high on animal protein and low on fruit and vegetables could up your risk of cancer. Research indicates a reduced risk of cancer, as much as 40 percent lower, in vegetarians when compared to meat eaters.
So no matter how lean the chicken is or how well you prepare it, if you skip your vegetables to make room for more chicken, you could be setting yourself up for a fall.
Because poultry has to be cooked at high temperatures, it can form heterocyclic amines (HCA), carcinogenic compounds that increase your risk of cancer. Grilling or frying chicken ups the levels of these carcinogens, making it worse than most other meats when it comes to HCAs. So frying your chicken is the worst you could be doing to yourself. You could increase the risk of breast cancer, among other conditions.
Arsenic is increasingly being made a part of chicken feed, mainly to ward off diarrhoea, improve pigmentation, and help ensure good growth. However, with increased risk of heart disease, diabetes, neurological problems, and even cancer due to arsenic exposure in humans, it may be good to know what you’re eating.
Researchers caution that while arsenic was present, this was within the limits prescribed. That said, you may still want to limit intake if you’re bothered by this. While this was not a large enough test to cause you to worry too much, it may pay to do some checks on whether or not your brand contains any.