Turkey, the normal festive chicken options as quantity three on the “meals consumed at Christmas” listing, after roast potatoes and carrots. But not all elements of a turkey are created equal when it comes to style and dietary goodness. The explanation for these distinction are present in how turkeys sometimes transfer round their surroundings.
Wild turkeys (Meleagris gallopavo) can fly fairly brief distances, are competent swimmers and have good acceleration and floor velocity – a real triathlete! That is in distinction to the turkeys which are farmed for consumption. They’re typically unable to fly, so their muscle composition and look is considerably completely different from their wild relative.
What makes a muscle darkish?
The muscle protein of any consumed meat is damaged down by the digestive system into its principal constructing blocks: amino acids. The proteins sometimes include three completely different protein varieties. The primary are myofibrillar proteins, which allow the muscle to contract. Sarcoplasmic proteins embrace issues akin to enzymes (that are important for oxygen metabolism) and myoglobin, which accommodates the haeme pigment that offers meat its color. Lastly are collagen proteins, which maintain every little thing collectively.
Because the protein parts counsel, myoglobin performs a key function in whether or not meat is taken into account darkish or white. The myoglobin content material can be an indicator of what sort of work the muscle did.
Darkish meat has excessive ranges of myoglobin. It helps bind oxygen within the muscle to be used by the mitochondria of the cells, which is crucial for ensuring the physique’s cells perform correctly. The extra the muscle is used, the extra myoglobin it wants and the larger blood provide it depends on, thus giving it a darker color.
So, for instance, turkeys (and chickens) continuously roam round on the bottom, which means their leg muscular tissues are performing train for lengthy intervals of time. This is the reason leg muscular tissues are also referred to as “sluggish twitch fibres”, as a result of they’re capable of carry out for extended intervals of time with out fatigue.
Whereas these muscular tissues have completely different names within the turkey, they’ve comparable features as these in human legs (though their knees bend the opposite means).
The breast and wings, however, are thought-about “white” meat. These muscular tissues are hardly ever utilized in turkeys (significantly farm-reared turkeys). Which means the breast and wings don’t want to have the ability to retailer or use massive quantities of oxygen over a protracted interval. These muscular tissues are also referred to as “quick twitch” fibres, as they’re designed for fast bursts of vitality however tire rapidly. The breast is identical muscle because the pectoralis main muscle in people.
Which bit is finest?
Turkey is leaner, so it has much less fats than rooster. Turkey breast has about 160 energy per 84g serving, of which 60 energy come from fats and accommodates 24g of protein. The remaining energy come from protein and different sources akin to blood and collagen within the meat. The wing has 190 energy per 84g serving, of which 90 energy come from fats with 23g of protein. The leg however has 170 energy per 84g serving, with 70 energy coming from fats and accommodates 23g of protein.
In order a share of energy from protein, the breast is the most effective. Energy from protein are preferable as they require extra vitality to breakdown in comparison with fat or carbohydrates. This course of additionally takes longer and subsequently retains the physique feeling fuller for longer.
Darkish meat sometimes has extra fats in it, which can be utilized as an vitality retailer for these lengthy period actions, akin to going for a run. Fats can be the rationale the darkish meat often has extra flavour. So, if it’s style you’re after, the leg is finest – although the darkish meat accommodates extra energy (and fats) than chicken. With this in thoughts, the underside of the turkey, which acts as the bottom throughout cooking, equally has among the most flavourful meat. It is because all of the fats and juices soak into this darkish meat.
Darkish meat accommodates a larger share of an individual’s advisable every day quantity of iron in it. Iron is an important ingredient within the physique. About 70% of it’s in your blood and muscular tissues, and it’s necessary for carrying oxygen spherical your physique. Too little iron may end up in anaemia, which might scale back the quantity of oxygen that may be carried by haemoglobin inflicting shortness of breath, tiredness and an absence of vitality. So whereas darkish meat may be fattier and better in energy, it could even have another advantages over chicken.