By Victor Ogunyinka
is unarguably the official protein provider of the Christmas-New Year
festivity and it has been that way since chickens walk on two legs.
White meats, with chicken and turkey inclusive are mostly recommended
as a healthy source of protein without the fear of cholesterol, which
could have a long time effect on the heart. But the question is, is
chicken really better than other meat source all because it is white?
According to Mrs Yemisi Solanke-Lawal, nutritionist and CEO,
Evergreen Health and Social Care International Limited, Lagos State,
chicken in itself has numerous health benefits but to enjoy the best of
chicken, it must be de-skinned.
Chicken has some very interesting health benefits; lean organic
chicken is a very good source of high density, low fat protein, and a
good source of selenium, zinc, niacin, Vitamin E, beta-carotene, and
Vitamins B6 and B12.
Experts have explained that the protein in chicken lends itself to
muscle growth and development and help support a healthy body weight and
aid weight loss.
Chicken, like its brother fowl, turkey, is high in an amino acid
called tryptophan, which gives you that comforting feeling after
consuming a big bowl of mom’s chicken soup. In fact, if you’re feeling
depressed, eating some poultry will increase the serotonin levels in
your brain, enhance your mood, blasting stress, and lulling you to
Chicken is also found worthy of preventing bone related ailments like
osteoporosis and arthritis. Every good source of protein is capable of
enriching the work rate of the heart and chicken is not left out.
Enough said about the benefits of chicken, the worrisome aspect is
the fact that the part where we find more delicious is the part experts
have warned us against and that is the skin.
Mrs Solanke-Lawal hinted that eating the skin of chicken should be
discouraged because chicken skin is high in Low-density lipoproteins
(LDL) commonly known as ‘bad’ cholesterol, which has been proven to
cause a number of health problems.
The extent of ‘bad’ in the cholesterol is more than meet the eye. As
LDL starts building up, it actually clings to the insides of arteries.
This plaque formation makes arteries incredibly narrow and hard, which
is a condition called atherosclerosis. Because of the constriction,
blood doesn’t flow as freely. Blood cells could get stuck or, as the
blood passes through, part of the plaque could break off. A clot could
occur, stopping or dramatically slowing blood flow. If a blood clot does
occur, it could cut off blood circulation to your heart or brain, which
causes a heart attack or stroke, respectively.
Furthermore, experts revealed that cholesterol doesn’t dissolve in
the blood. Instead, it bonds to carriers called lipoproteins, which
transport it between cells. Lipoproteins are made up of fat on the
inside and protein on the outside.
There are two main types of cholesterol that are carried by different
types of lipoproteins. Low-density lipoproteins (LDL) are sometimes
called “bad” cholesterol. High levels of LDL cholesterol can build up in
your arteries, causing heart disease. High-density lipoproteins (HDL)
are referred to as “good” cholesterol. HDL cholesterol carries
cholesterol from other parts of your body back to the liver. Your liver
then processes the cholesterol out of your body. It is important to have
healthy levels of both types of cholesterol.
People with high cholesterol have twice the risk of heart disease as
people with healthy levels of cholesterol. Statins, the most common
medication that treats high cholesterol, are the most widely-used drugs
in all of human history.
Some questions have been raised as to whether chicken should be de-skinned before cooking or after cooking.
Nutritionists have not been able to agree on whether the skin should be cooked along or not.
Some argued that cooking the skin with the body injects good flavour in the chicken and lowers the fat calories.
Mrs Solanke-Lawal however answered that de-skinning the chicken
before cooking is more ideal. She added that “although some argue that
the skin provides its own flavour, which adds to the taste of the cooked
chicken, the fact is that even if that were so, when it comes to
healthy eating, we should be more focused on good health than the