Turkey often brings to mind holiday celebrations, and many people have good memories of enjoying a turkey leg, also called a drumstick, at a holiday dinner. This lean meat needn't be only for special occasions, however. Healthy, protein-rich turkey leg can be served any time of year on its own, as a sandwich filling or included in other dishes.
One serving of turkey leg, approximately 3 1/2 oz. and containing both meat and skin, weighs 100 g. In a 100 g serving, there are 208 calories. A serving of turkey leg has 28 g of protein and 10 g of fat, including 3 g of saturated fat. The omega-6 content of a serving of turkey leg is 2270 mg and there is also 190 mg of omega-3 fatty acids. Turkey has no carbohydrates, but it contains 77 mg of sodum and 85 mg of cholesterol per 100 g serving.
Turkey contains 37.8 mcg of selenium per serving, about 54 percent of the daily recommended intake. A serving of turkey leg is also high in zinc, with 4.3 mg, or 28 percent of the daily recommendation. Other minerals in turkey leg include iron, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium and copper. A turkey drumstick also contains vitamins B-6, B-12, K and E, pantothenic acid, folate, niacin, thiamin, choline and betaine.
Turkey contains the amino acid tryptophan, which may induce sleepiness if too much is eaten at once. In reality, the amount of tryptophan in even a few large servings of turkey is not enough to cause this effect. Tryptophan is also a building block for the neurotransmitter serotonin and the B vitamin niacin.
The selenium in turkey may act as a cancer-preventative, according to World's Healthiest Foods. Selenium is responsible for setting off DNA repair mechanisms in damaged cells and causes cancer cells to undergo apoptosis, a form of cellular self-destruction. It also helps in the formation of the antioxidant enzyme glutathione peroxidase, which protect cells from free radical damage.
Vitamin B-6, a vital nutrient in turkey leg meat, prevents the accumulation of a molecule called homocysteine in the body. When homocysteine levels get too high, they can cause damage to blood vessel walls, upping the risk for cardiovascular disease. B-6, along with B-12, contributes methyl groups that deactivate homocysteine, rendering it harmless.
Turkey leg meat contains substances called purines that can cause problems in people with gout or those who have had uric acid kidney stones. Individuals with these health problems may want to avoid eating any type of turkey meat.