Tales From The Dark Side: Why Dark Meat Chicken Is Healthier

The average American eats chicken almost 10 times a month according to 2014, data but on less than two of those occasions do we choose chicken legs, thighs, or drumsticks. The majority prefer white meat, breasts and wings, to their counterparts, legs and thighs. It seems like people reach for the boneless, skinless chicken breasts when they want to eat “healthy” chicken, but they could be doing it all wrong.

It is true that white meat has slightly less calories and saturated fat than dark meat. But when you look at them side by side, dark meat contains more iron, zinc, riboflavin, and vitamins B6 and B12. Not only that, the darker chicken parts also have some life saving ingredients against heart disease for women.

A nutrient called taurine, found abundantly in poultry dark meat, significantly lowered the risk of coronary heart disease in women with high cholesterol, a study by Dr. Yu Chen of the NYU Langone Medical Center.

For most women, high taurine levels seemed to offer no major heart benefit. But in the subset of those subjects with high cholesterol, women with high levels of taurine reduced their risk of heart disease by 60 percent!

Dark meat gets its color from myoglobin, a compound that muscles use to transport oxygen to fuel activity. Domesticated chickens and turkeys are flightless and only walk, so their leg meat is darker than their breast and wing meat. Ducks and geese fly and walk, so most of their meat is dark.

In addition to taurine, dark meat is far richer in minerals such as thiamine and selenium, as well as vitamins A, K and the B complex — B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin) and B9 (folate).

White meat tends to be slim on taste, too. Compensating for its comparative dryness with sauces and condiments like mayonnaise or gravy adds more saturated fat than dark meat contains. Nevertheless, Americans on average prefer white meat, and most dark meat from large U.S. farms is exported to…