What Is Better For You Ham Or Turkey? The Ultimate Guide

Are you trying to make healthier choices when it comes to your meat consumption? With so many options available, it can be tough to know which one is the best for you.

Two popular choices are ham and turkey, but which one is better? In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the nutritional differences between these two meats and help you make an informed decision.

From calories to macronutrient ratios, we’ll break down the facts and help you choose the best option for your health goals. So, let’s dive in and find out which meat reigns supreme!

What Is Better For You Ham Or Turkey?

When it comes to choosing between ham and turkey, there are a few key factors to consider. First and foremost, it’s important to note that both meats can be part of a healthy diet when consumed in moderation. However, there are some nutritional differences between the two that may make one a better choice for you.

One of the biggest differences between ham and turkey is their calorie content. While both meats are relatively low in calories, turkey is slightly lower than ham. A 3-ounce serving of light meat turkey contains about 125 calories, while the same-sized serving of ham provides 139 calories. However, if you prefer dark meat turkey, you’ll be consuming 147 calories per serving.

When it comes to macronutrient ratios, turkey is much heavier in protein and much lighter in fat than ham. A 100-gram serving of turkey has a macronutrient ratio of 63:0:37 for protein, carbohydrates, and fat from calories. In comparison, ham has a ratio of 25:3:72 for the same macronutrients. This means that turkey is a better choice if you’re looking to increase your protein intake while keeping your fat intake low.

However, it’s important to note that turkey is also higher in fat and cholesterol than ham. A 100-gram serving of turkey contains 7.5 grams of fat, while ham contains only 5.5 grams. Additionally, turkey has about double the amount of cholesterol as ham.

When it comes to minerals, ham is richer in zinc, potassium, and iron than turkey. However, it also contains significantly higher amounts of sodium. A high sodium intake can lead to health problems such as high blood pressure and an increased risk of heart disease.

Overall, while both ham and turkey have their nutritional benefits, it’s clear that turkey is the better option for those looking to maintain a healthy diet. Turkey is lower in calories and higher in protein than ham, making it a great choice for those looking to build muscle or lose weight. Additionally, while it may be higher in fat and cholesterol than ham, fresh turkey meat is richer in vitamins, phosphorus, copper, and magnesium.

Calorie Comparison: Ham Vs Turkey

If you’re trying to decide between ham and turkey based on calorie content alone, the answer may not be so clear-cut. While a 3-ounce serving of light meat turkey contains fewer calories than the same-sized serving of ham, this changes if you prefer dark meat turkey. A serving of dark meat turkey contains 147 calories, which is actually more than ham.

However, when looking at macronutrient ratios, turkey is still the better choice for those watching their calorie intake. Turkey has a higher protein-to-calorie ratio than ham, meaning you get more protein for fewer calories. Additionally, turkey is much lower in fat than ham, making it a great choice for those looking to reduce their overall calorie intake.

It’s important to note that both ham and turkey can be part of a healthy diet when consumed in moderation. However, if you’re looking to make healthier choices overall, it may be worth choosing turkey over ham due to its lower calorie and fat content.

Protein Content: Which Meat Is Higher?

Protein is an essential macronutrient that is needed for building and repairing tissues in the body. When it comes to protein content, turkey is the clear winner. A serving of light meat turkey provides 25.6 grams of protein, while a serving of dark meat turkey provides 23.6 grams. On the other hand, a serving of ham only contains 14.1 grams of protein.

In fact, turkey has 75% more protein than ham. A 100-gram serving of turkey contains 28.6 grams of protein, while ham only has 16.3 grams. This makes turkey a great choice for those looking to increase their protein intake.

Furthermore, turkey is a lean meat, which means it contains less fat than ham. As mentioned earlier, a 100-gram serving of turkey contains 7.5 grams of fat, while ham contains only 5.5 grams. This makes turkey a better choice for those looking to keep their fat intake low.

Fat Content: The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly

When it comes to the fat content in ham and turkey, it’s important to consider the type of fat present. Fat has received a bad reputation in the diet world, but it’s important to note that not all fats are created equal. Both ham and turkey contain both good and bad types of fat.

The good types of fat are monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, which can help lower cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease. Turkey is a better source of these healthy fats than ham. A 3-ounce serving of turkey contains about 1 gram of monounsaturated fat and 0.5 grams of polyunsaturated fat, while the same-sized serving of ham contains only 0.4 grams of monounsaturated fat and 0.2 grams of polyunsaturated fat.

On the other hand, both ham and turkey contain saturated and trans fats, which can increase cholesterol levels and contribute to heart disease. Ham contains more saturated fat than turkey, with a 3-ounce serving containing about 2.5 grams compared to turkey’s 1.5 grams. Additionally, processed meats like ham often contain harmful trans fats from hydrogenated oils used during processing.

It’s important to note that not all types of ham are created equal, either. Leaner cuts like prosciutto or Canadian bacon may be a better choice than traditional deli ham, which can be high in sodium and unhealthy fats.

Sodium Levels: Which Meat Is Higher In Salt?

One of the key differences between ham and turkey is their sodium content. Ham tends to be higher in sodium than other varieties of lunch meat, with some brands containing up to 480 milligrams of sodium per serving. In comparison, a 2-ounce serving of oven-roasted turkey breast provides only 55 milligrams of sodium.

Consuming too much sodium can have negative health effects, such as increasing the risk of high blood pressure and heart disease. Therefore, it’s important to pay attention to the sodium content in your meat choices. When purchasing lunch meat from the deli counter, be sure to ask for nutrition data and look for options labeled “no salt added.”

It’s also worth noting that fresh poultry, including turkey, is naturally low in sodium. A 3-ounce serving of light meat chicken contains only 64 milligrams of sodium, while a similar-sized serving of turkey breast has slightly less at 54 milligrams. In comparison, processed meats like ham tend to have higher levels of both sodium and nitrate, which can negatively impact overall health.

Vitamins And Minerals: Which Meat Is More Nutritious?

When it comes to comparing the vitamin and mineral content of ham and turkey, there are some notable differences. Turkey meat is generally richer in vitamins such as niacin, pantothenic acid, Vitamin B6, and folate. These vitamins play important roles in energy production, brain function, and cell growth and development. On the other hand, ham is richer in thiamin, zinc, potassium, and iron. Thiamin is important for maintaining a healthy nervous system, while zinc is essential for immune function and wound healing. Potassium helps to regulate blood pressure and heart health, while iron is important for transporting oxygen throughout the body.

In terms of specific nutrients, ham is particularly rich in selenium, which plays a crucial role in reproduction, DNA construction, and defense against infections. Ham also contains all nine essential amino acids, making it a complete protein that can help to build and repair tissues in the body. Additionally, ham is a good source of phosphorus, zinc, and potassium – minerals that are important for energy production, fighting infections, and maintaining heart health.

Turkey ham is another option to consider when comparing the nutritional content of ham and turkey. Turkey ham is higher in selenium, Vitamin B12, phosphorus, Vitamin B1, and Vitamin B2 than regular ham. However, chicken meat is richer in Vitamin B3 and Vitamin B6 than both ham and turkey.

Health Risks: What You Need To Know Before Choosing Ham Or Turkey

It’s important to be aware of the health risks associated with consuming processed meats like ham. Processed meats are meats that have been preserved by smoking, salting, curing, or adding chemical preservatives. They include deli meats, bacon, and hot dogs. Eating processed meats increases your risk of cancer, particularly colorectal cancer. The chemicals found in processed meats, such as nitrates and nitrites, can damage the cells in the colon and rectum over time.

While ham has several potential benefits, it may be best to eat it in moderation due to its downsides. Multiple cancer organizations advise people to eat very little, if any, processed meat. Since research links processed meat to various types of cancer, people with a family history of these cancers may especially wish to limit or avoid ham.

Choosing less processed types of ham may be one way to lower its health risks. The U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends eating limited amounts of processed meats and choosing from a variety of plant and animal proteins.

In contrast, fresh turkey meat is a better alternative than ham. Turkey is a fresh white meat that is richer in vitamins, protein, phosphorus, copper, and magnesium. Although turkey is also higher in fat and cholesterol than its counterpart, it contains fewer harmful chemicals that can negatively impact your overall health. Therefore, if you’re looking for a healthier option between the two, turkey is the better choice.