With summer here, barbecue enthusiasts are planning their grill menus. Nearly every food that can be grilled tastes better when cooked by barbecue. One of the foods at the top of my “better on the barbecue” list is chicken.
In my view, chicken is an underrated food, despite its obvious popularity. It has long been a vital international food, essential to different culinary traditions around the world. An obvious reason for its importance is the ease with which those different food traditions are able to use chicken in their cuisines.
Other important reasons are the great health benefits of eating chicken. What are they?
- Great muscle-builder. Chicken is a tremendous source protein, a key building block for muscles and many other aspects of our bodies. A regular serving offers significant protein benefits, more than half of the daily serving recommended for most people. Also, chicken tends to be a lean meat, so it contains less fat.
- Contributes to healthy bones. In addition to protein, chicken is full of minerals like phosphorus and calcium, which are critical for healthy bones. Another mineral that chicken contains is selenium, which may cut down on the risk of arthritis.
- Contributes to a healthy body. Chicken is rich in Vitamin B6, which helps make chemicals like serotonin that transmit signals in the brain. Vitamin B6 also helps with the development of myelin, a protein layer which forms around nerve cells. While there is no evidence that B6 can reduce the chances of heart attack or stroke, it is true that a Vitamin B6 deficiency may lead to health issues affecting the nerves, skin, mucous membranes, and circulatory system.
- May reduce stress and boost immunity. Chicken contains Vitamin B5 and tryptophan, two nutrients that have been identified as anti-stress elements for the body. Also, for anyone who experienced the healing power of chicken soup, there is no more powerful food for curing common ills and relaxing the body.
- Great energy booster. Chicken also has Vitamin B3, an important contributor to the conversation of carbohydrates into energy.
- Other potential health benefits. It is possible that consuming chicken, which contains magnesium, can help fight the symptoms of pre-menstrual syndrome. Rich in zinc, chicken may also help manage testosterone levels and boost sperm production.
For all these reasons, as well as tasting even better when barbecued, it is worth including chicken in your summer diet. Obviously, chicken is widely available—but you may want to consider visiting your local Chestnut Hill food market to purchase chicken in Chestnut Hill. At Neidermyer’s Poultry in the Market at the Fareway, there is a great selection of chicken and turkey items. Bought fresh in Lancaster County, all their poultry is free-range, and free of hormones and antibiotics.