Why women with high cholesterol should eat poultry

March 13, 2012
Volume 09    |   Issue 11

If a doctor ever tells you to eat chicken or turkey, it’s usually because of the protein. But a new study says there’s another reason to eat poultry, especially the dark meat.

This new study says the dark meat in chicken and turkey has a nutrient that’s great for women. It’s so good, in fact, it can help protect women with high cholesterol from developing coronary heart disease (CHD).

The researchers published their study online in the European Journal of Nutrition. They wanted to see if taurine, which is in abundance in the dark meat of turkey and chicken, and in some fish and shellfish, had any positive effects on CHD.

To do so, they looked at data and samples from the NYU Women’s Health Study. This study followed more than 14,000 women between the ages of 34 and 65 years of age. The researchers in the original study measured taurine levels in the women before they had any heart disease.

They found that women with high cholesterol who ate these meats had significantly lower CHD. Those with the highest levels of taurine were 60% less likely to develop or die from CHD. Interestingly, they didn’t find the same protection in women with low cholesterol levels.

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The researchers said this protection was from natural taurine. They didn’t know if the synthetic taurine added to food and drink products (such as energy drinks) has the same benefits.

Natural nutrients are almost always better for you than the synthetic version, so it’s best to avoid the synthetics. The best source of this nutrient is the dark meat in poultry.

Unfortunately, if you have high cholesterol, your doctor may tell you to avoid the darker meats, as they tend to have more fat. But according to this study, that’s a mistake. The benefits from the taurine far outweigh the negligible impact of the fat.

So if you have high cholesterol and don’t want it to lead to CHD, eat some poultry — but make sure it’s the dark meat.

Your voice of reason in Women's Health,


Oktawia P. Wo´jcik, PhD, Karen L. Koenig, PhD, Anne Zeleniuch-Jacquotte, MD, Camille Pearte, MD, and Max Costa, PhD, all of NYU School of Medicine. NYU Langone Medical Center / New York University School of Medicine (2012, March 1). “Nutrient found in dark meat of poultry, some seafood, may have cardiovascular benefits.” ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 2, 2012, from http://www.sciencedaily.com- /releases/2012/03/120301113353.htm.

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