Turkey is a rich source of protein, and many cuts of the poultry are low in fat and calories. That's what makes turkey such a nutritious diet staple, even if you're trying to lose weight.
But not all of turkey's nutritional characteristics are great — some turkey products are high in sodium. Note that variances may exist based on the brand, so always check your product's package labeling for sodium content before buying.
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What Is Sodium?
You've heard a lot about sodium, but you might not understand exactly what it does or why too much of it is a bad thing. As with other minerals, your body needs sodium for optimal health. The nutrient helps your body maintain normal fluid levels and helps send nerve impulses, per the National Library of Medicine.
Sodium helps your muscles contract and relax, but taking in more than the recommended 2,300 milligrams daily can lead to complications. Too much sodium can cause water retention and increased blood pressure.
Sodium in Turkey Breast Meat
Turkey meat is naturally low in sodium. Eating turkey breast from the bird, rather than a pre-packaged type, can help you avoid excess sodium.
For example, a 2-ounce serving of roasted turkey breast contains just 56 milligrams of sodium, which is just 2 percent of the daily recommended value of 2,300 milligrams, per the USDA. This type of turkey may be OK 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.
Sodium in 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 466 milligrams of sodium, which comprises 20 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.
Sodium in Ground Turkey
Ground turkey is a great substitute for ground beef and can be used in many recipes, such as hamburgers and tacos.
Ground turkey is lower in sodium than other types of turkey, with 44 milligrams per 2 ounces, cooked. That amount comprises just 4 percent of the 2,300 milligrams recommendation and 4 percent of the 1,500-milligram recommendation.
Note that adding salt to your recipe will increase the sodium content.
Sodium in Turkey Jerky
Turkey jerky is a chewy snack similar to beef jerky, although it's typically lower in fat and calories. Both turkey and beef jerky are high in sodium.
A 2-ounce serving of turkey jerky contains 1,140 milligrams of sodium, or 50 percent of the daily suggested intake of 2,300 milligrams. This serving provides almost the entire daily recommended amount for those with high blood pressure and kidney conditions.
Sodium in Turkey Bacon
Turkey bacon is a lower-fat alternative to regular bacon, but it can be high in sodium as well. One slice of turkey bacon contains 130 milligrams of sodium, or 6 percent of the daily suggested intake of 2,300 milligrams.
But many people eat more than one slice at a time: Having three slices would increase the sodium content to 17 percent of the 2,300 milligrams recommendation or 27 percent of the 1,500 milligrams recommendation.
- MedlinePlus: Sodium in Diet
- MyFitnessPal: Calories in Hillshire Farm Deli Select Oven Roasted Turkey Breast (Ultra Thin)
- MyFitnessPal: Calories in Ground Turkey Bottom Dollar Brand Turkey, Lean Ground
- MyFitnessPal: Calories in Jack Link's Premium Cuts Turkey Jerky, Original
- MyFitnessPal: Calories in Butterball Everyday Original Turkey Bacon