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Nutrition

Recipe: Delicious, Shareable Chicken Souvlaki

9 minute read


You want protein, you eat meat. It has pretty much always been that simple. What has changed is the choice of meat we eat.  

Once a country that craved red meat, the United States now sees a dip in red meat consumption. These days, Americans are eating more chicken, twice as much as beef and pork.

The cause for more chicken consumption could be the increased supply, which was the result of higher prices a decade back. It could also be because people are learning the health benefits of eating chicken instead of red meat.  

While it is true that all meat supplies protein, there is so much more that chicken has to offer, making it the healthier choice.

Is Red Really Your Color?

Generally speaking, red meat (beef, pork, and lamb) contains more cholesterol and saturated fat than chicken. Saturated fat is not the good kind, and, along with cholesterol, can raise your cholesterol levels and blood pressure. Both of these contribute significantly to heart disease.  

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Given that cardiovascular disease is the number one killer in America, it seems wise for people to start switching over to chicken. Red meat contains large carnitine (protein building blocks), which your intestines convert into compounds that thicken and harden artery walls.

The redder the meats, the higher the carnitine content, so it makes sense to start eating white meat, like chicken or fish.

This is not to say that you have to avoid red meat completely because beef, pork, and lamb are great sources of several important nutrients. What you should consider is decreasing your red meat intake and throwing more chicken into the mix.  

Numerous studies have shown the link between the amount of red meat consumed and risk of heart disease. Thankfully, there is a healthier alternative available.

The Other Meat

Like red meat, chicken is a great source of protein, among numerous other health benefits. The protein from chicken is lean, low in fat, and can benefit muscle growth and development as well as support a healthy body weight.  

Chicken meat lacks the additional fat that can be found in many red meats. Most people are aware of the fact that chicken provides protein, but there are several additional health benefits that are less known.  

1. Chicken (and turkey) contains high tryptophan content. This is the amino acid that provides that comforting feeling you get after eating a bowl of mom’s chicken soup.

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This amino acid is also responsible for increasing serotonin production which enhances your mood.  Chicken can, therefore, help to reduce stressful feelings, calm you, and help you to sleep.

2. People often turn to calcium when it comes to enhancing bone support, but the protein in chicken also contributes to the fight against bone loss. Especially when paired with weight training, including chicken in your daily plan can help prevent the development of osteoporosis and arthritis.

3. Avoiding red meat lowers your risk of developing heart disease, but chicken has a secret ingredient that keeps this risk even lower. Homocysteine is an amino acid that causes cardiovascular diseases when levels are high.

Thankfully chicken (especially white meat) suppresses and controls these levels.

4. Chicken is rich in phosphorous, the mineral responsible for supporting healthy teeth and bones as well as kidney, liver and central nervous system function.

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5. Selenium is abundantly found in chicken, and this essential mineral helps metabolic performance, specifically thyroid, hormone, metabolism, and immune system function.

6. Chicken meat is rich in niacin, the essential B vitamin that protects against cancer and other genetic damage.

7. Chicken liver contains a great deal of riboflavin (vitamin B12), which can significantly reduce skin problems while repairing dry and damaged skin.

8. Your eyes will benefit from the high retinol, lycopene, and alpha- & beta-carotene content of chicken.

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9. The vitamin B6 content in chicken encourages enzymes and metabolic cellular reactions. This means regular consumption will keep your blood vessels healthy, energy levels high, and keep you burning calories to help you manage a healthy weight and activity level.

There is no need to worry about adding more chicken to your nutritional menu. Chicken is very versatile, and there are countless ways to incorporate delicious and nutritious meals into your plan without getting bored.  

Below is a healthy chicken treat perfect to share with your friends.


Chicken Souvlaki

Preparation Time: A few minutes or overnight (for extra marinating)

Cooking Time: 5 to 7 minutes each

Ingredients

1.5 lbs chicken breast

3 tablespoons oregano (fresh leaves)

1 tablespoon garlic

3 tablespoons olive oil

¼ cup lemon juice

½ teaspoon cumin powder

½ teaspoon chili flakes

2 tablespoons fresh parsley leaves, chopped

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon black pepper

Pita bread

Instructions

1. Mix all ingredients, except for the chicken, in a large bowl or in a sealable bag.

2. Slice chicken breast into small 1 or 2-inch pieces and add to the marinade. Cover the bowl or seal the bag and refrigerate until you’re ready to cook.

You can marinate overnight if you want, and the longer the meat marinates the more tender the meat will be.

3. Preheat your grill and slide the pieces onto skewers. Grill until the chicken is cooked fully from all sides. If you are using wooden skewers, pre-soak them in water so they do not burn too quickly.

If cooking in an oven, preheat oven and place skewers on tray lined with foil. Set to broil and cook for 5 to 7 minutes or until each side is fully cooked.

4. Spray oil on the pita bread and grill, usually 30 seconds per side will work and gives the pita bread nice grill marks. Serve alongside the chicken souvlaki.

The Bottom Line

Chicken is not only full of nutritional value and health benefits, but it is so versatile it can be included in every meal. You don’t have to ignore red meat completely, but incorporating more chicken and taking a few breaks from red meat will keep your heart happy.  

A healthy heart means a healthier you.

READ NEXT >>> Recipe: Mushroom and Fig Stuffed Pork Tenderloin



  1. https://www.littlethings.com/health-benefits-of-cinnamon/
  2. http://www.foxnews.com/health/2012/04/04/improve-digestion-with-cinnamon.html

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