Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Fish, fowl or egg

The fat content of poultry varies according to which type and part of the bird is eaten, whether the skin has been removed or not, and how the bird is prepared (roast, grilled, fried, smoked).
Ostrich has low levels of cholesterol and fat, duck has high levels. Chicken and turkey have more or less the same fat levels, but the dark meat (legs) has higher fat levels than the white meat (breast). Always remove the skin before cooking, unless you are roasting, in which case you need to leave the skin on to protect the meat. Roast poultry on a trivet so that the fat can run off, and remove the skin before eating.

Fish contains oil rather than fat (this means that the fat is liquid at room temperature). Fish oil contains Omega-3 fatty acids, which are considered beneficial. Omega-3 aids in regulating cholesterol, is anti-inflammatory, and it may help protect the brain from the cognitive problems associated with Alzheimer's. It is also probable that Omega-3 helps alleviate depression and A.D.D., and it can help people to cope better with stress.

Shellfish comes under the title of fish, but be aware that prawns have high levels of cholesterol at 130mg per 85gm serving. Keep in mind that you are unlikely to eat only 85gms of prawns, and that the healthy daily maximum ingestion of cholesterol is 300mg. And, if you are eating out, those prawns were cooked in butter. A lot of butter.

There has been ongoing debate over the years, regarding the pros and cons of eating eggs. One large egg contains a whopping 274mg cholesterol, all of it in the yolk. The debate seems to have been settled - for the moment, at least - in favour of the egg. But that being said, I would still advocate eating no more than three eggs a week - and not on the day you eat prawns!

Remembering that we should have 2 to 3 servings of protein per day, whatever our choice of source:

1 portion of protein = 45gms poultry; OR 60gm fish; OR 1 medium egg

Sally Avridge has decided to have egg mayonaise with cress on her lunchtime sandwich.
Sally, you need another two portions of protein for the day. Are you looking for a vegetarian option?
Come back tomorrow for the portion sizes for pulses, nuts and seeds.

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