Chicken drumsticks are a favorite because of their flavorful, dark meat and their resiliency to a variety of cooking techniques. Chicken drumstick nutrition parallels that of the white-meat breast, but with a bit more fat. This cut is a good addition to an overall healthy eating plan.
A chicken drumstick roasted with the skin contains about 167 calories. It’s a good source of high-quality protein, and contains 8 grams of fat. Poultry is a positive addition to any diet.
Chicken Drumstick Nutrition
A chicken drumstick is made up of dark meat, and thus has more fat and a richer flavor than the white-meat breast. Some people prefer dark meat to white, because it's more tender and tasty. Chicken legs are usually juicier than white meat too.
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According to USDA FoodData Central, one drumstick, roasted with skin, contains 167 calories, 22 grams of protein and 8 grams of fat. Food and Nutrition Research published a paper in June 2015, noting that if you leave the skin on your chicken, you increase the calorie count by 25 to 30 percent.
This drumstick is also a decent source of iron, providing 1 milligram of the 8 (men) to 18 (women) milligrams needed per day, for most adults. Chicken legs also contain a fair amount of potassium, with 240 milligrams of the 2,600 to 3,400 milligrams needed daily (men need more than women). You also get 1.88 milligrams of the mineral zinc. The chicken drumstick nutrition breakdown also offers B vitamins, and small amounts of vitamins A, D and K.
Changing the way you prepare the chicken drumstick changes its calorie count. For example, if you fry the leg, it's going to add calories and fat to the nutritional profile of the meal. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics explains that baking, grilling and roasting are the healthiest preparation options.
Protein in Chicken Legs
Your body needs protein to support function, repair and growth in just about every cell in your body. Adequate protein levels help build muscle, and also help boost your immune system, transport nutrients to organs and tissues, and keep your body fluids in balance, explains the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
Fried, battered chicken legs aren't the best choice when it comes to getting your protein requirements, as they also contain a large amount of saturated fat, which may be harmful to your heart health. However, the protein in a chicken drumstick that's been roasted or grilled is a lean choice, which supports good nutrition and health.
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The Food and Nutrition Research paper notes that the overall composition of fat in chicken is generally favorable. Even though a drumstick contains 8 grams of fat, it's composed of large amounts of monounsaturated fatty acids and, in comparison with beef, lamp or pork, a substantial amount of polyunsaturated fat.
Chicken Supports Good Health
Including more poultry, specifically chicken, in your diet can also have a positive effect on your risk of developing diabetes, or, if you already have diabetes, its progression.
The Food and Nutrition Research paper explains that a diet that includes a large amount of chicken and other poultry, whole grains, fish, fruit and vegetables controls diabetes symptoms, or prevents the condition from developing. While following this diet plan, also limit your intake of red meat, processed foods, refined sugar and starches.
The inclusion of poultry in your diet boosts your overall nutritional profile. Chicken legs contain high-quality protein, valuable minerals and relatively little fat. People of all ages benefit from finding ways to include more poultry in their eating plans.
You can substitute chicken legs for chicken thighs in just about any recipe. Chicken drumsticks are also an affordable cut of meat, making them as good to your wallet as they are to your waist.
- Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: "How Much Protein Should I Eat?"
- Food and Nutrition Research: "Role of Poultry Meat in a Balanced Diet Aimed at Maintaining Health and Wellbeing: An Italian Consensus Document"
- USDA Food Data Central: "Chicken, Broilers or Fryers, Leg, Meat and Skin, Cooked, Roasted"
- Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: "Breasts vs Thighs Which Is More Nutritious"
- National Institutes of Health: "Iron"
- National Institutes of Health: "Potassium"