From lunchtime staples to midweek suppers and Sunday roasts, duck is the kind of versatile meat that can be used for a myriad of delicious dishes. It is surprising to many to learn that duck is one of the leanest sources of protein you can buy. So, it’s time to bring duck to the forefront as a healthy option. Registered nutritional therapist, Eva Humphries, shares the surprising health beneﬁts of eating duck.
It’s waistline friendly
The biggest misconception about duck is in relation to the fat content, so let’s debunk this myth as a start. Sure, duck has a generous layer of fat, how else could it be used to make such great roast potatoes, however this fat is on the surface. By simply removing the skin, the majority of the fat is taken away, leaving behind a lean source of protein. In fact, once the skin is removed, duck breast is on par with skinless chicken breast, both of which come in at approximately 3g of fat per 100g of meat. Consequently, skinless duck breast makes a tasty and lean addition to waistline friendly midweek suppers.
Duck Burger with Clean Eating Plum and Chia Ketchup. View the recipe.
Source of b vitamins
As vitamins go, B vitamins fall in a pretty important category, helping with everything from creating energy to detoxing and cellular function (1). Whilst B vitamins are available from various sources, duck contains all 8 essential B vitamins. B12 in speciﬁc is only available from meat based sources such as duck. This vital B vitamin is useful for cognition with research associating a lack of dietary B12 with poor memory and attention deﬁcit (2).
Duck and Orange Wraps. View the recipe.
When it comes to immune function, most of us will naturally reach for Vitamin C to give us a boost against colds, ﬂus and the like. There is however more to immunity than this one vitamin. Research shows that the minerals zinc and selenium are also essential for the correct functioning of the immune system (3). White blood cells, the body’s main infection ﬁghting components, all contain and need a good dose of selenium to be battle ready (3). Zinc has a similar effect, regulating each part of the immune system, helping to kick those infections to the curb (4). Duck is a good source of both minerals, in fact a single duck breast contains over a third of the daily recommended intake of selenium.
Paleo Duck and Berry Sauce. View the recipe.
Iron deﬁciency may not completely answer why teenagers sleep so much, but data from the National Diet and Nutrition Survey does suggest that there are still a large proportion of children, teens and women with less than optimal iron levels (5). A lack of this mineral can leave you tired and generally lacking in energy, since iron is an important component of the oxygen carrying part of each red blood cell (6). Fortunately, duck is amongst the top sources of iron, in fact gram per gram duck contains as much iron as beef. Before you present your teenage daughter with an entire roast duck, it’s worth noting that you don’t need vast quantities. A single duck breast meets half of the recommended daily intake of iron for most women.
Duck Macro Bowl. View the recipe.
For more nutrition advice and delicious recipes to upgrade your health take a look at The Wholefood Warrior website and follow her on Instagram: @wholefoodwarrior.
If you’re looking for more healthy recipes you can cook using duck then take a look at our recipes below:
Lime and coriander duck steaks with pak choi.
Skinny duck steak, baked sweet potato and pea hummus.
Duck stir fry with peppers and black bean sauce.
Duck carpaccio, Romanesco cauliflower, fennel and hazelnuts.
(1) Depeint F, Bruce RW, Shangari N, Mehta R, O’Brien PJ (2006) Mitochondrial function and toxicity: Role of the B vitamin family on mitochondrial energy metabolism. Chemico-Biological Interactions, 163: 94-112.
(2) Brian C, Torre CD, Citton V, Manara R, Pompanin S, Binotto G, Adami F (2013) Cobalamin deﬁciency: clinical picture and radiological ﬁndings. Nutrients, 5: 4521–4539.
(3) Ferencík M, Ebringer L (2003) Modulatory effects of selenium and zinc on the immune system. Folia Microbiologica, 48: 417-426.
(4) Hojyo S, Fukada T (2016) Roles of Zinc Signaling in the immune system. Journal of Immunology Research, doi:10.1155/2016/6762343.
(5) Public Health England (2016) National Diet and Nutrition Survey. Accessed: https:// www.gov.uk/government/statistics/ndns-results-from-years-5-and-6-combined.
(6) DeLoughery TG (2017) Iron deﬁciency anemia. Medical Clinics of North America, 101: 319-332.