Chicken meat: Good for your health

Is chicken healthier than beef? What part of the chicken should I eat? What about healthy chicken farming? Bird flu and food poisoning?

Roasted chicken and potatoes (Source: Wikipedia)

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HEALTH

No need to chicken out

5 Feb 2013
Dr Nithi Mahanonda

Free range chickens wandering around a field (Source: Wikipedia)

During the past few years, we have often heard about avian flu, and chicken is a part of the spreading of this epidemic. Avian flu can actually be fatal, but it seems like chicken meat is just too tasty to pass up. The popularity of chicken meat is still rising despite all the news about bird flu.

Chicken meat is a healthy kind of protein compared to other kinds of meat (especially red meat like beef and pork). Skinned chicken meat has lower fat content and fewer calories than beef. Chicken breast is the part with the least fat and the least calories. Drumsticks and chicken wings are three times higher in fat than chicken breast, and have 25% higher calories.

Still, I would like to stress that even though fat from chicken meat is better than fat from beef due to being lower in saturated fat, it still has saturated fat, which is bad for your health. Too much of anything is bad for your health.

Unlike consuming beef, there is yet no medical report linking chicken meat consumption to colon cancer. However, the best way to avoid cancer is to eat more fruits and vegetables and reduce meat. Many people are afraid chicken meat will come with unnatural hormones and stimulants used in chicken farming. In many countries, especially in the US, growth hormones or stimulants in chicken farming are prohibited by federal law. However, it is not prohibited to use medication to prevent diseases in chicken, but it has to be given long before they are turned into chicken meat, to make sure that there are no unhealthy chemicals in the meat that we eat. My final word on this is - farming does not equal natural.

I am not saying that you should give up meat altogether. Moderation is key to everything in life.

Another option is to avoid the skin and internal organs because they are the fattest parts as well as the parts that collect the most chemicals.

When eating chicken meat, other than avian flu, you might also want to be careful about bacteria such as salmonella and campylobacter which cause food poisoning and kill hundreds of people in the US each year. They are frequently detected during slaughter and processing of chicken meat.

As an end consumer, it is hard to tell whether the meat you are about to buy is contaminated. The best way to ensure safety is to cook the meat well and never let water from raw chicken touch other food or utensils. Always wash your hands before and after touching raw chicken meat.

Chicken, whether free range, organic, pastured or farmed, is all the same in terms of nutrients and safety from the aforementioned bacteria. In Thailand, we also have "home grown chicken" or kai baan. Again, for safety, always treat it the same way as mentioned above to avoid food poisoning.

This rule also extends to imported chicken and turkey. Undercooking your food can lead to many health problems. A patient of mine, about 50 years old, came to see me because he felt tight in his chest after dinner every day, and if he went out for a walk, it would just get worse.

I had his heart checked and found that he had myocardial infarction, and he was treated with balloon angioplasty. He got much better after that, but he still felt tight in his chest after dinner. However, this time if he got up to walk, the tightness would go away, which means that it was not a sign of myocardial infarction. I tested his heart again, and like I suspected, nothing was wrong.

So, I asked him about his lifestyle, and he said that to lower his cholesterol, he replaced beef with chicken meat. He always ate deep fried chicken skin, along with his usual dinner. He also added that it tasted so good that he could not stop. Mystery solved.

Dr Nithi Mahanonda is a consultant cardiologist and interventionist at Perfect Heart Institute, Piyavate Hospital. Visit his website at www.drnithi.com

(Source: Bangkok Post, Family, GUESTCOLUMN, No need to chicken out, 5 Feb 2013, Dr Nithi Mahanonda, link

Diet and Nutrition Vocabulary

chicken (as food) -  ไก่ (See Wikipedia)

drumstick - the lower part of the chicken leg or calf น่องไก่ (See Wikipedia)
chicken wing - ปีกไก่
chicken breast - อกไก่

red meat - (See Wikipedia)
white meat - (See Wikipedia)

nutrition - the science of food and how it affects health and growth โภชนาการ (See Wikipedia)
diet - the food that a person eats

nutrients - the good things in food that help your body grow and maintain itself

chicken out - be cowardly, not brave (be too scared and afraid to do something dangerous) 
No need to chicken out

avian - related to birds ที่เกี่ยวกับนก
flu - an infectious disease passing from person to person easily that gives you a fever and makes you tired and weak

avian flu - a disease that can pass from birds to human and kills some people ไข้หวัดนก (See Wikipedia)
bird flu
- Same as "avian flu"

epidemic - a large number of cases of a particular disease happening at the same time in a particular community โรคระบาด
spread of epidemic
During the past few years, we have often heard about avian flu, and chicken is a part of the spreading of this epidemic.

pass up - not do something you can do (not take an opportunity)
tasty
- delicious  อร่อย

too tasty to pass up
chicken meat is just too tasty to pass up

fatal - causing someone to die ถึงตาย
Avian flu can actually be fatal, but it seems like chicken meat is just too tasty to pass up.

popularity -
how many people like something; when a lot of people like something ความเป็นที่นิยม
its popularity is still rising


Its popularity is still rising despite all the news about bird flu.

protein - an important type of molecule needed for building structure in the body โปรตีน
Chicken meat is a healthy kind of protein compared to other kinds of meat (especially red meat like beef and pork).

content - what something is made of; the parts or ingredients of something
fat content - how much fat the food has
lower fat content - the food has less fat (than other foods)

calorie - แคลอรี่, หน่วยพลังงานความร้อน (See Wikipedia)
fewer calories

chicken has fewer calories than beef
Chicken breast is the part with the least fat and the least calories.

Drumsticks and chicken wings are three times higher in fat than chicken breast, and have 25% higher calories.

skin - ผิวหนัง
skinned -
animal without skin (skin removed)

skinned chicken
skinned chicken meat

Skinned
chicken meat has lower fat content and fewer calories than beef.

saturated fat - fat from animal food such as meat or milk, eating too much can lead to high levels of cholesterol in the blood (See Wikipedia)
lower in saturated fat
saturated fat is bad for your health

stress - to emphasise something; to say that something is important เน้น เน้นย้ำ
I would like to stress that ...

I would like to stress that even though fat from chicken meat is better than fat from beef due to being lower in saturated fat, it still has saturated fat, which is bad for your health. Too much of anything is bad for your health.

consume -
eat some food, use some good purchased
consuming beef - eating beef

consumption - using, eating or drinking something การบริโภค
chicken meat consumption - eating chicken

colon - ลำไส้ใหญ่
cancer
- มะเร็ง
colon cancer - (See Wikipedia)

Unlike consuming beef, there is yet no medical report linking chicken meat consumption to colon cancer.

the best way to avoid cancer

However, the best way to avoid cancer is to eat more fruits and vegetables and reduce meat.

hormone -  ฮอร์โมน, สารเคมีในร่างกายที่กระตุ้นการทำงานของอวัยวะต่างๆ
unnatural hormones used in chicken farming
stimulants used in chicken farming
Many people are afraid chicken meat will come with unnatural hormones and stimulants used in chicken farming.

growth hormones - hormones that make an animal grow bigger (See Wikipedia)

federal
- relating to the central government, and not to the government of a region, of some countries such as the United States เกี่ยวกับสหพันธรัฐ
federal law - a law for the whole country (not just a local, state or provincial law)

prohibit -
to say that people cannot do something (forbidden, banned, permission not given) ห้าม,ไม่อนุญาต
prohibited
by federal law

In many countries, especially in the US, growth hormones or stimulants in chicken farming are prohibited by federal law.

medication - a medicine, or a set of medicines or drugs used to improve a particular condition or illness

However, it is not prohibited to use medication to prevent diseases in chicken, but it has to be given long before they are turned into chicken meat, to make sure that there are no unhealthy chemicals in the meat that we eat.

natural - found in nature (not made in a factory by humans) ตามธรรมชาติ

My final word on this is - farming does not equal natural.

give up -
stop doing something หยุดทำ, ยกเลิก, ละทิ้ง, เลิก
give up altogether - stop doing completely (100%)

I am not saying that you should give up meat altogether.

moderation - being able to control yourself (the things you do, eat, buy, etc), self-control ความรู้จักพอดี, ความรู้จักประมาณ, ความพอประมาณ
key - important คนสำคัญ

Moderation is key to everything in life.

option - a choice; something that you can choose in a particular situation ทางเลือก ตัวเลือก
Another option is ...

internal
- existing or happening inside a person, object, organisation, place or country ภายใน
internal organs - the "organs" in a person or animal's body such as liver, heart, kidney, etc 

collect
- gather together in one place, accumulate
the parts of the chicken that collect the most chemicals

Another option is to avoid the skin and internal organs because they are the fattest parts as well as the parts that collect the most chemicals.

food poisoning - eating food with some poison or "toxin" in it from bacteria or other source, also called "foodborne illness" อาหารเป็นพิษ (See Wikipedia)
bacteria - แบ็กทีเรีย, เชื้อแบกทีเรีย, เชื้อโรค

salmonella - one kind of bacteria sometimes found in food that can cause food poisoning (See Wikipedia)
campylobacter - another kind of bacteria sometimes found in food that can cause food poisoning (See Wikipedia)

When eating chicken meat, other than avian flu, you might also want to be careful about bacteria such as salmonella and campylobacter which cause food poisoning and kill hundreds of people in the US each year.

detected - noticed, discovered or found out จับได้ พบได้
frequently detected - often detected 

slaughter - killing animals to use them as food
processing - food processing, things done to food products before they can be sold in a store
processing of chicken meat

They are frequently detected during slaughter and processing of chicken meat.

consumer - someone who buys and uses goods and services ผู้บริโภค
contaminated - made dirty, polluted or poisonous by the addition of a chemical, waste or infection
contaminated food - (See Wikipedia)

ensure
- to make certain that something happens or is done รับรอง ให้ความมั่นใจ ให้การยืนยัน
ensure safety
cook the meat to ensure safety

raw - not cooked ดิบ
raw chicken meat

The best way to ensure safety is to cook the meat well and never let water from raw chicken touch other food or utensils.

As an end consumer, it is hard to tell whether the meat you are about to buy is contaminated. Always wash your hands before and after touching raw chicken meat.

aforementioned - mentioned or talked about before
the aforementioned bacteria

poultry
- birds such as chickens, ducks and turkeys that are farmed and raised for meat and eggs
poutry farming
- (See Wikipedia)

free range - one way of chicken farming that alows chickens to walk around rather than live in a cage (See Wikipedia)
organic
- free range chickens with restriction on medication and chemicals given to them, slower growing (See Wikipedia)
pastured -
another way of farming that does not keep them in a cage in a large factory (See Wikipedia)

Chicken, whether free range, organic, pastured or farmed, is all the same in terms of nutrients and safety from the aforementioned bacteria.

home grown 
home grown chicken
In Thailand, we also have "home grown chicken" or kai baan.

patient - someone who is receiving medical treatment คนป่วย, คนไข้
chest - the upper front part of the body of humans and some animals, between the stomach and the neck, containing the heart and lungs หน้าอก
patient of mine felt tight in his chest after dinner every day

myocardial infarction -
a heart attack หัวใจวาย "results from the interruption of blood supply to a part of the heart, causing heart cells to die. This is most commonly due to...blockage... of a coronary artery following the rupture of a vulnerable atherosclerotic plaque, which is an unstable collection of lipids (cholesterol and fatty acids) and white blood cells... in the wall of an artery. The resulting ...restriction in blood supply and ensuing oxygen shortage, if left untreated for a sufficient period of time, can cause damage or death ...of heart muscle tissue..." (See Wikipedia)

balloon angioplasty
- "the technique of mechanically widening narrowed or obstructed arteries, the latter typically being a result of atherosclerosis. An empty and collapsed balloon on a guide wire, known as a balloon catheter, is passed into the narrowed locations and then inflated to a fixed size using water pressures some 75 to 500 times normal blood pressure (6 to 20 atmospheres). The balloon forces expansion of the inner white blood cell/clot plaque deposits and the surrounding muscular wall, opening up the blood vessel for improved flow, and the balloon is then deflated and withdrawn. A stent may or may not be inserted at the time of ballooning to ensure the vessel remains open" (See Wikipedia)
treated with balloon angioplasty

I had his heart checked and found that he had myocardial infarction, and he was treated with balloon angioplasty.

tight
- คับแน่น, แน่น
chest
- อก

tight in his chest
- แน่นในอก  
felt tight in his chest

He got much better after that, but he still felt tight in his chest after dinner.

suspected - thought to be something เป็นที่สงสัย
I tested his heart again, and like I suspected, nothing was wrong.

lifestyle - the living conditions and things people do everyday (fashion, home decoration, pets, cooking, music, tv, movies, garden, etc) รูปแบบการดำเนินชีวิต

cholesterol - a chemical found in food, consuming high quantities over time is associated with heart disease (See Wikipedia)

So, I asked him about his lifestyle, and he said that to lower his cholesterol, he replaced beef with chicken meat.

cardiologist - a heart specialist; a doctor who studies the heart and deals with the diseases that affect it แพทย์ผู้เชี่ยวชาญโรคหัวใจ

About the author

columnist
Writer: Jon Fernquest
Position: Online Writer