Healthsomeness Written Logo

Chicken

This article is part of a larger article titled "100+ Healthiest Foods On Planet Earth."  Read it here.

Chicken Nutritional Information (per 100g)

Water: 73.9 g
Calories: 120 kcal
Protein: 22.5 g
Fat: 2.6 g
Saturated fat: 0.6 g
Monounsaturated fat: 0.7 g
Polyunsaturated fat: 0.4 g
Cholesterol: 73 mg
Vitamin B1: 0.1 mg
Vitamin B2: 0.2 mg
Vitamin B3: 9.6 mg
Vitamin B6: 0.8 mg
Vitamin B9: 9 μg
Vitamin B12: 0.2 μg
Vitamin A: 7 μg
Vitamin E: 0.6 mg
Vitamin K: 0.2 μg
Calcium: 5 mg
Iron: 0.4 mg
Magnesium: 28 mg
Phosphorus: 213 mg
Potassium: 334 mg
Sodium: 45 mg
Zinc: 0.7 mg

A meat so ubiquitous that it spawned the phrase ‘it tastes like chicken’ – we eat so much chicken that we compare all other food to it! Chicken is the most common type of poultry worldwide. Often the subject of intensive farming, it is an example of where it is important to distinguish between different types of produce. A battery farmed animal is not the same as an organic and pasture raised animal; not only ethically and financially, but also nutritionally, so pick carefully.

Used in a huge range of culinary traditions, and found in everything from chicken nuggets to butter chicken masala to a traditional Sunday roast, chicken is an excellent source of lean protein and vitamin B6, and an interesting alternative for those worried about the possible risks of red meat.

In terms of nutrition, chicken breast is very low in fat and calories, and high in protein. It’s easy to see why it’s a favourite with bodybuilders: 100g contains 165 calories, and 31 grams of protein. To put that into perspective, that’s 62% of your Daily Value (DV) of protein, in a piece of chicken that provides 8% DV of calories.

Beyond being a source of lean protein, chicken is also high in vitamin B6 (30% DV), potassium (7% DV) and magnesium (7% DV).  All of these essential nutrients are required to function day to day, cognitively and athletically, so make sure to get them however you can.

Perhaps the main reason people eat chicken in large quantities, however, is because of the association of large quantities of red meat with serious health problems. A number of observational studies point toward a link between red meat intake and cancer: colorectal and breast cancer, for example. Many people tend toward chicken because of fears over excessive red meat intake, but it must be said that studies on white vs red meat have been far from conclusive.

What the consumer should likely be more worried about is not white or red meat, but simply the quality of the meat. Feed makes a big difference. Somewhat unsurprisingly, one study demonstrated that feeding chickens omega-3 fatty acids resulted in an increased amount of healthy omega-3s in the meat. However, this study alleged that it found no significant difference in the fatty acid profile between chickens bought from different supermarkets, for different prices, or even between organic and non-organic, so you’ll have to do your research!