Turkey is a rich source of protein, and many cuts of the meat are low in fat and calories. Thus, you may find turkey to be a beneficial addition to your diet, even if you're trying to lose weight. However, not all of turkey's nutritional characteristics are beneficial; some types can be high in sodium, which could make them inappropriate for your dietary needs. Note that variances may exist based on brand, so always check package labeling for sodium content before selecting a product.
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What is Sodium?
You've undoubtedly heard a lot about sodium, but you might not understand exactly what it does or why too much of it is bad thing. As with other minerals, your body does need sodium for optimal health; the nutrient helps ensure that your body has normal levels of fluid and aids in sending nerve impulses. Sodium helps your muscles contract and relax, but consuming more than the recommended 2,300 milligrams daily can lead to complications. Too much sodium spurs water retention and increased blood pressure.
Turkey Breast Meat
Consuming turkey breast from the bird, rather than a pre-packaged type, can help you avoid excess sodium. For example, a 3.5 ounce serving of grilled turkey breast contains just 52 milligrams of sodium, which is just 2 percent of the daily suggested intake of 2,300 milligrams. This type of turkey may be appropriate even if you have high blood pressure or kidney disease. Keep a daily limit of 1,500 milligrams of sodium if you have one of these conditions. As such, a 3.5 ounce of grilled turkey would provide just 3.5 percent of that amount.
Deli Sliced Turkey
Deli sliced turkey can be high in sodium, as the mineral is added for flavoring and to help preserve the meat over time. A 2 ounce serving of deli sliced turkey provides 620 milligrams of sodium, which comprises 27 percent of the daily suggested intake of 2,300 milligrams. If your health dictates a limit of 1,500 milligrams, 2 ounces of deli sliced turkey would provide 41 percent of that amount.
Ground turkey can be used as a substitute for ground beef and used in recipes such as hamburgers or tacos. While ground turkey is high in fat -- 17 grams per 4-ounce serving -- it's lower in sodium than other types of turkey, with 85 milligrams per 4 ounces. That amount comprises just 4 percent of the 2,300 milligrams recommendation and 6 percent of the 1,500 milligram recommendation.
Turkey jerky is a chewy snack similar to beef jerky, although it's typically lower in fat and calories. Unfortunately, one of turkey jerky's similarities to beef jerky is that it's high in sodium. A 1 ounce serving of turkey jerky contains 490 milligrams of sodium, or 21 percent of the daily suggested intake of 2,300 milligrams. This serving provides 33 percent of the 1,500 milligrams recommended for those with high blood pressure and other health conditions who may be adversely influenced by sodium.
Turkey bacon is a lower fat alternative to regular bacon, but it can be high in sodium as well. One 14 gram slice of turkey bacon contains 135 milligrams, or 6 percent of the daily suggested intake of 2,300 milligrams. However, you're unlikely to eat just one slice. Consuming three slices would increase the sodium content to 18 percent of the 2,300 milligrams recommendation or 27 percent of the 1,500 milligrams recommendation.