Q: I heard chicken is good for all health conditions. Is it beneficial for pregnant women?
A: Chicken is a highly nutritious food loaded with vitamins and minerals. It is a mine of the leanest proteins and 9 essential amino acids-being the building blocks of muscles; it contains unsaturated and saturated fatty acids. Being low fat in nature it does not cause obesity. All dieticians and doctors recommend the inclusion of chicken in the diet of pregnant women.
Lean chicken breast is the form of chicken that expecting mothers should consume because it has the lowest levels of fat and saturated fatty acids amongst all stir fried meats. It gives you omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids. It is also low in cholesterol content, but rich in fatty acids, Vitamin E and A, Selenium, thiamine and niacin equivalents that promote metabolism and augment energy levels. It is carbohydrates free and delicious as well. One cup of cooked chicken breast gives you 87% of your daily protein requirements. Chicken should be consumed without its skin to reduce fat content.
You can also eat lots of chicken liver when pregnant as the liver contains loads of foliate and easily absorbable iron. Foliate allows closing of the neural tube and prevents Spina Bifida - a serious baby illness.
All these chicken nutrients can help the development of bones, organs and cells of the baby and protects it from chronic illnesses like diabetes, heart ailments and high cholesterol. During pregnancy your body needs more iron and zinc than usual. Lean chicken meats can satisfy these needs. The iron in chicken is also more easily absorbed by the body.
Take care to ensure that the chicken is fresh and cooked well before eating to avoid diseases caused by the listeria bacteria. Heating it above 160 degress Fahrenheit usually ensures that bacteria have been killed. Do not eat cold pre-cooked chicken as it may contain bacteria. A serving size of 100 grams or 2 slices of cooked chicken meat is recommended a day for pregnant women.