When it comes to choosing between ham and turkey, many people are not sure which meat is healthier. Both meats are popular choices for sandwiches, breakfast, and holiday dinners. In this article, we will compare the nutritional value and health benefits of ham and turkey to determine which is the healthier option.
The nutritional value of ham and turkey varies depending on the type of meat and how it is prepared. Below are the nutrition facts for 3 ounces of each meat:
- Turkey has a higher protein content compared to ham. Protein is important for building and repairing muscles, maintaining healthy skin, and supporting the immune system.
- Both meats are low in carbohydrates, making them suitable for low-carb diets or people with diabetes.
- Ham contains more fat than turkey, making it a less healthy option for people who are trying to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight.
- The fat in ham is also higher in saturated fat, which can raise cholesterol levels and increase the risk of heart disease.
- Turkey, on the other hand, is low in both total fat and saturated fat, making it a healthier choice.
- Both ham and turkey are high in sodium, which can raise blood pressure and increase the risk of heart disease and stroke.
- However, ham contains more sodium per serving than turkey, making it a less healthy option for people with high blood pressure or heart disease.
While both meats are sources of protein and important nutrients, there are some health benefits that are unique to each meat.
Health Benefits of Ham
- Ham is a good source of vitamin B6, which is important for brain function and the nervous system.
- Ham also contains selenium, a mineral that acts as an antioxidant and may reduce the risk of certain cancers.
Health Benefits of Turkey
- Turkey is high in tryptophan, an amino acid that helps the body produce serotonin, a neurotransmitter that regulates mood and sleep.
- Turkey is also a good source of niacin, which is important for energy production and healthy skin.
- Lean cuts of turkey are high in zinc, which supports the immune system and helps the body fight off infections.
The way that ham and turkey are prepared can also affect their nutritional content and health benefits. Below are some tips for cooking ham and turkey:
- Choose lean cuts of ham, such as ham that is labeled “95% fat-free”.
- Avoid adding extra salt or sugar to ham when cooking or serving.
- Bake or grill ham instead of frying to reduce the fat content.
- Choose skinless cuts of turkey to reduce the fat and calorie content.
- Season turkey with herbs and spices instead of salt to reduce the sodium content.
- Bake or grill turkey instead of frying to reduce the fat content.
When it comes to choosing between ham and turkey, turkey is the healthier option. Turkey is lower in fat, higher in protein, and has more health benefits compared to ham. However, it is important to choose lean cuts of either meat and cook them using healthier methods to maximize their nutritional value.
- Q: Is ham or turkey better for weight loss?
- A: Turkey is a better option for weight loss as it is lower in fat and calories compared to ham.
- Q: Is ham or turkey better for people with high cholesterol?
- A: Turkey is a better option for people with high cholesterol as it is lower in saturated fat compared to ham.
- Q: Is ham or turkey better for people with high blood pressure?
- A: Turkey is a better option for people with high blood pressure as it is lower in sodium compared to ham.
- Q: Which is healthier, processed or deli meat?
- A: Neither processed nor deli meat is considered healthy. These meats are high in sodium, preservatives, and other additives that can increase the risk of heart disease and cancer.
“Ham.” United States Department of Agriculture. https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/809846/nutrients
“Turkey.” United States Department of Agriculture. https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/45230036/nutrients