When it comes to eating healthy food, you know the basics. Find a way to curb your sweet tooth, avoid unnecessary fats, and absolutely limit your bacon habit. But the nuances of healthy eating can be a bit trickier.
When is it OK to splurge on non-veg? And which is really better for you — chicken or fish?
It goes without saying that a healthy diet consists of variety. If you’re doing your best to have a healthy diet, then it’s likely that you’ll naturally have a rotation of poultry and seafood in your meals.
The American Heart Association attests both chicken and fish are healthy alternatives to red meat when it comes to heart health. Generally speaking, both forms of meat contain significantly less cholesterol and saturated fat, elements that can lead to heart problems if they’re eaten in excess. Both are considered “lean,” which is defined by the USDA as foods with less than 10 grams of fat, 4.5 grams of saturated fat and 95 milligrams of cholesterol in a serving.
Too much cholesterol and saturated fat can also increase your blood pressure, contributing to preliminary symptoms of heart disease. Leaner meats, like chicken and fish, don’t contain as much of these offending compounds.
However, one slightly edges out the other — at least in terms of paying attention to how much you eat it and keep in mind is the presentation of two types of meat.
Here’s the breakdown of which is healthier for you !
Macronutrients in Chicken
Skinless chicken is always preferable when you’re talking about heart health. Roasted or boiled chicken meat is also better than fried.
The nutrients in chicken depend on the cut. A 3-ounce serving of roasted skinless, chicken breast weighs in at 165 calories, while skinless wings and thighs contain more – 203 and 209, respectively.
Breast meat offers the most protein, with 31 grams in a serving and 4 grams of fat, 1 of which is saturated. The other two cuts of chicken will give you 26 and 30 grams of protein, respectively, with 8 and 11 grams of fat, 2 and 3 grams of which are saturated.
This poultry meat contains high protein and low fat. The price is affordable so it becomes the choice of those who are dieting, muscle building, or want to break the history of heart disease in the family. Unfortunately, many chickens are commercially raised with antibiotics and growth hormones.
Macronutrient Profile of Fish
The greatest excess of fish is the omega-3 fatty acids that the human body can not produce, but it is needed. Omega-3 is very good for brain function and prevent inflammation and heart disease.
The macronutrient content of fish varies according to the kind you purchase. The calories in a 3-ounce serving of fish fluctuate between 90 calories for a serving of whitefish like cod up to 200 for an oily fish like sockeye salmon. A serving of cod provides 20 grams of protein, with 1 gram of fat and no saturated fat, while salmon gives you 24 grams of protein, with 10 grams of fat, 2 of which are saturated.
Most of the fat in salmon comes in the form of omega-3 fatty acids. Three ounces of a fatty fish like salmon gives you 1,500 milligrams, or three times the recommended daily amount. Cod provides less than 200 milligrams in a serving.
Although there are so many benefits for human health, there are also things to watch out for from fish, namely mercury content, especially marine fish. Therefore it is advisable not to consume marine fish in a raw state.
Comparing Vitamins & Minerals in Fish and Chicken
Both fish and chicken offer generous amounts of B vitamins, which help your body turn food into energy.
- Salmon outshines chicken and other fish in terms of vitamin B-12, associated with nerve health and the formation of red blood cells; a serving offers 179 per cent of the daily value (DV).
- Roasted chicken breast is a winner for niacin content, supplying 74 per cent of the DV – two times more than fish. Niacin supports the health of your skin, nerves and digestive system.
- Salmon supersedes other fish and chicken in its content of vitamin D, with almost half of the daily value in a serving. Not many foods supply this nutrient, which is necessary for bone health. In comparison, chicken wings or breasts offer essentially no vitamin D.
- Salmon stands out for supplying 59 per cent of the daily value for selenium, an antioxidant; chicken breast offers an impressive amount, too, with 43 per cent.
- Fish prevails again with phosphorus – cod provides 24 per cent of the DV and salmon 22 per cent, while a chicken wing offers less than half that amount. Phosphorus supports strong bones and teeth.
Is Fish or Chicken a Better Protein?
If you to want to get a jump on weight loss, filling up on high-protein foods can be a good strategy at least in the short-term. Chicken and fish are two convenient and easy-to-prepare protein sources that won’t bust your calorie budget.
When deciding between fish and chicken for weight loss, you’ll find a similar range between different types of fish.
The USDA’s data for a 100-gram serving include:
• Skinless Chicken breast: 165 calories and 31 grams of protein
• Chicken thigh with Skin: 225 calories and 23 grams of protein
• Salmon:188 calories and 25 grams of protein
• Canned Tuna (in water): 86 calories and 19 grams of protein
• Sardines: 208 calories and 25 grams of protein
• Shrimp: 60 calories and 14 grams of protein
The Bottom Line
Though both chicken and fish can (and should) be part of a healthy diet, fish edges out chicken by just a hair. The main reason is the omega-3 content — something poultry just can’t provide.
Some fish are contaminated with mercury, a neurotoxin. The FDA recommends avoiding larger varieties like shark and swordfish but advises it’s safe to eat salmon, cod and other whitefish two or three times a week.
Purchase chicken skinless or take the skin off before cooking. The skin adds to the saturated fat content, and depending on the cut, it may even double it.
This is the advantages and disadvantages of fish and chicken. You can eat whatever you want but you have to look for the health content based on my article above
Make your choice!
By Priyanshi Bhatnagar