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All about “Chicken”

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Health profile

Chicken consumption increased 113% from 1973 to 2003. Deprived of its skin, this very popular poultry in Canada is lower in fat than certain cuts of red meat. Its white flesh is also less fat than its brown flesh, but both provide more than a dozen essential vitamins and minerals.

Active ingredients and properties

The virtues of chicken soup
When you have a cold, a good hot soup is often a source of comfort. However, chicken soup may provide more than just a calming effect. The heat it gives off would speed up mucus liquefaction more efficiently than hot water 15 , according to the results of a study carried out in the 1970s. Chicken soup would also provide relief from cold symptoms . It promotes hydration and the elimination of secretions while reducing inflammation (effect observed in vitro) 15-17 . Note that these studies were carried out with soup prepared from a traditional recipe, therefore with “real” chicken.

Cardiovascular diseases . Studies in humans indicate that choosing meats lower in saturated fat , such as chicken, results in improved blood lipid levels, a positive element in the prevention of cardiovascular disease 1-4 . This effect has been observed in people with a variety of health conditions, including high blood cholesterol , 4 , being overweight 1, or type 2 diabetes with kidney complications 2 .

Type 2 diabetes . It is well known that having diabetes carries the risk of kidney complications, and the nature and amount of protein consumed can influence kidney function. In people with type 2 diabetes, researchers have observed that by substituting chicken for red meat for four weeks, various parameters of renal function were significantly improved 5 . However, the mechanism (s) explaining this effect is not yet clearly understood.

Protein . In general, chicken is an excellent source of complete protein since it contains the nine essential amino acids for the body. These are not produced by the body and must therefore come from the diet. Protein is primarily used to build, repair and maintain the integrity of tissues such as skin, muscle and bone. They are also used for the formation of digestive enzymes as well as hormones.

Other properties

Is Chicken Antioxidant? Data not available.
Is chicken acidifying? Moderately. The PRAL index for 100 g of chicken (meat only) is 8.7.
Does chicken have a high glycemic load? No. Chicken does not contain carbohydrates.

Most important nutrients

See the meaning of the nutrient source classification symbols

 Phosphorus . Chicken is an excellent source of phosphorus. This is the second most abundant mineral in the body after calcium. It plays a vital role in building and maintaining healthy bones and teeth. In addition, it participates among other things in the growth and regeneration of tissues and helps maintain normal blood pH . Finally, phosphorus is one of the constituents of cell membranes.

 Zinc . Chicken ( dark meat ) is an excellent source of zinc. The white meat , meanwhile, is a good source for the woman and a source for people, whose needs are greater. Zinc participates in particular in immune reactions, in the production of genetic material, in the perception of taste, in the healing of wounds and in the development of the fetus. It also interacts with sex and thyroid hormones. In the pancreas, it participates in the manufacture, storage and release of insulin.

 Selenium . Chicken is an excellent source of selenium. This mineral works with one of the main antioxidant enzymes , thus preventing the formation of free radicals in the body. It also helps convert thyroid hormones to their active form.

 Vitamin B3 . Chicken is an excellent source of vitamin B3. Also called niacin , vitamin B3 is involved in many metabolic reactions and particularly contributes to the production of energy from the carbohydrates, lipids, proteins and alcohol that we ingest. It also helps in the process of DNA formation , allowing normal growth and development.

 Vitamin B6 . Chicken is an excellent source of vitamin B6. Also called pyridoxine , vitamin B6 is part of coenzymes involved in the metabolism of proteins and fatty acids as well as in the manufacture of neurotransmitters (messengers in nerve impulses). It also helps make red blood cells and allows them to carry more oxygen. Pyridoxine is also necessary for the transformation of glycogen into glucose and it contributes to the proper functioning of the immune system. Finally, this vitamin plays a role in the formation of certain components of nerve cells.

 Iron . The dark meat chicken is a good source of iron for the man and a source for women, the needs of women being superior. The white meat is a source for man and woman. Each body cell contains iron. This mineral is essential for the transport of oxygen and the formation of red blood cells in the blood. It also plays a role in the manufacture of new cells, hormones and neurotransmitters (messengers in nerve impulses). It should be noted that the iron contained in foods of animal origin (including chicken) is better absorbed by the body than the iron contained in plants.

 Vitamin B2 . Dark chicken meat is a good source of vitamin B2, also known as riboflavin . White meat, on the other hand, is a source. Like vitamin B1, vitamin B2 plays a role in the energy metabolism of all cells. In addition, it contributes to the growth and repair of tissues, the production of hormones and the formation of red blood cells.

 Pantothenic acid . Chicken is a good source of pantothenic acid. Also known as vitamin B5, pantothenic acid is part of a key coenzyme that allows us to adequately utilize the energy from the foods we eat. It is also involved in several stages of the manufacture of steroid hormones, neurotransmitters (messengers in nerve impulses) and hemoglobin.

 Magnesium . Chicken is a source of magnesium. Magnesium is involved in bone development, protein building, enzymatic actions, muscle contraction, dental health and the functioning of the immune system. It also plays a role in the metabolism of energy and in the transmission of nerve impulses.

 Potassium . Chicken is a source of potassium. In the body, it is used to balance the pH of the blood and to stimulate the production of hydrochloric acid in the stomach, thus promoting digestion. In addition, it facilitates the contraction of muscles, including the heart, and participates in the transmission of nerve impulses.

 Copper . Chicken is a source of copper. As a component of several enzymes, copper is necessary for the formation in the body of hemoglobin and collagen, a protein used for the structure and repair of tissues. Several copper-containing enzymes also help the body’s defense against free radicals .

 Vitamin B1 . Chicken is a source of vitamin B1. Also called thiamine , vitamin B1 is part of a coenzyme necessary for the production of energy, mainly from the carbohydrates that we ingest. It also participates in the transmission of nerve impulses and promotes normal growth.

 Vitamin B12 . Chicken is a source of vitamin B12. This vitamin works in concert with folate (vitamin B9) to make red blood cells in the blood. It also takes care of the maintenance of nerve cells and cells that make bone tissue.

 Vitamin D . White chicken meat is a source of vitamin D. Vitamin D works closely with healthy bones and teeth by making calcium and phosphorus available in the blood, among other things for the growth of bone structure. Vitamin D also plays a role in the maturation of cells, including those of the immune system.

What is a “portion” of chicken worth?
Weight / volume Broiler chicken, roasted white meat, 100 g Broiler chicken, roasted dark meat, 100 g
Calories 173 205
Protein 30.9 g 27.4 g
Carbohydrates 0.0 g 0.0 g
Lipids 4.5 g 9.7 g
-saturated 1.3 g 2.7 g
-monounsaturated 1.5 g 3.6 g
-polyunsaturated 1.0 g 2.3 g
Cholesterol 85 mg 93 mg
Dietary fiber 0.0 g 0.0 g

Source  : Health Canada. Canadian Nutrient File , 2005.

Tell me what you peck …

Several researchers have analyzed the effects of feeding chickens on the nutritional value of the meat obtained. It has been observed that chickens consuming a large proportion of alfalfa produced meat containing less cholesterol 12 , and that a diet enriched with canola or flax produced meat richer in omega-3 fatty acids 13 , 14 . One more point for the health of our arteries!


Food poisoning
Chicken can come into contact with bacteria that cause food poisoning. Salmonella, for example, is found naturally in the intestines of several animals, especially poultry and pork. They cause an intestinal disease called salmonellosis in humans, the symptoms of which usually appear 12 to 72 hours after ingestion of contaminated food. Salmonellosis is one of the most common poisonous infections: 6,000 to 12,000 cases are reported in Canada per year. In addition, antibiotic-resistant salmonella have been detected in several meat samples on the American market, a phenomenon linked in particular to the use of antibiotics in farm animals 6. Campylobacter is another bacteria that can be found in chicken. It causes campylobacteriosis, a lesser known poisonous infection, but the symptoms of which can be severe. Children, the elderly and those with weakened immune systems are at greater risk of developing it. These poisonings occur after eating a contaminated food, but can also be passed from person to person. To reduce the risks, it is necessary to cook the meat well in order to destroy the bacteria. When buying and storing food, separate meat from foods eaten raw such as fruits and vegetables. Also, never defrost meat at room temperature: prefer the refrigerator, cold water or the microwave. Finally,

Heterocyclic Amines
Cooking meats, especially at elevated temperatures for an extended period of time (eg frying above 200 ° C), results in the formation of potentially carcinogenic compounds called heterocyclic amines 7-9 . Researchers have observed that the use of a marinade (made from red wine or a mixture of brown sugar, olive oil, apple cider vinegar, garlic, mustard, lemon juice and salt) significantly reduces formation of heterocyclic amines during cooking of chicken 10 , 11 .

Chicken over time

Appeared in the French language in the XIII th  century, the term “hen” comes from the Latin palla , feminine Pallus which means “small animals”. He replaced “géline” (from the Latin gallina ), a term which, in Old French, meant the hen. As for “rooster” , it is an onomatopoeia that we created from the cry of this bird. He replaced “jal” or “jau” from Old French.

It is known from written records that the Chinese and Egyptians raised poultry 3,500 years ago, but it may even have been the case in India 5,000 years ago. The many breeds and varieties known today – 60 and 175 respectively – all derive from the rooster bankiva, native to South East Asia where it is still found in the wild.

The hen in the pot
“I want there to be so poor a peasant in my kingdom that he does not have his hen in the pot every Sunday”, proclaimed Henry IV. In a saucepan full of water, we simmered an old laying hen at the end of its career, which had to be left to cook for ten hours to tenderize it. We added a few marrow bones and the vegetables we had that day. We obtained a broth of unsuspected richness that we served with meat and vegetables.

Chicken was first domesticated for cockfighting rather than as a food source. Then these fights have been legally banned in the XVII th  century in the West, we took passion for exhibitions, where people came to show specimens of exotic species that had come from the end of the world or we had crossed oneself. Hence the proliferation of varieties that followed. However, on the food market, only a few of these varieties, selected for the quality and abundance of their flesh or for their laying skills, predominate.

Not until the XIX th  century that set up mass production, and the 1920 that settled, first in Britain and then the United States, the poultry factory with their complex system control of temperature, humidity and light. At that time, chickens were not raised specifically for their meat, but for their eggs. When they were no longer productive enough, they were slaughtered to sell their meat. However, from the 1950s onwards, poultry and pullet farms intended for the meat market greatly exceeded those of laying hens. At the end of the XX th century, more chicken meat was consumed in the West than that of any other animal, including beef which, until then, had been good first.

Culinary uses

Chicken cooking

Cook the chicken until the juices run clear when pricking the meat with a fork. Ideally, the internal temperature will be taken using a meat thermometer inserted in the breast, if it is a whole chicken, or in the thickest part of the flesh, if it is. acts of a thigh. Whether you cook it in the oven, barbecue or pan, the internal temperature should always be the same. However, the cooking time will vary depending on the method used.

– Whole chicken and ground chicken  : 83 ° C to 85 ° C.

– Thigh or chest  : 77 ° C. At this temperature, all risk of bacterial contamination is eliminated, but the piece may be overcooked. If you are sure of the source of the meat, you can cook the thigh until the thermometer reads 74 ° C to 79 ° C, and the breast from 65 ° C to 67 ° C.

Culinary preparations

Ah the crest!
Ah paws!

In the past, we considered the crest , especially that of the rooster, as a delicacy. It was stripped of its skin and disgorged before cooking it in a mixture of water, flour and lemon juice, then pan-frying it with kidneys or other delicate meats.
In China, we have always eaten the legs , which are said to help relieve arthritis and rheumatism thanks to their richness in cartilage. In the countryside of Quebec, we made chicken leg soup.
Head, neck, fins , legs and offal give broths and bottoms a rich taste.
Traditionally, for cooking coq au vin, the blood of the bird was incorporated into the broth, which gave the dish a very special smoothness and flavor.

Roast whole , after having generously brushed the bird with a mixture of oil, lemon, salt and paprika. Brush two or three times during cooking.

In pieces , sautéed for a few minutes in oil, then simmered in various ways:

  • the Moroccan , with green olives and preserved lemons;
  • to the African , with onions, garlic, peanut butter, pumpkin, a hint of smoked fish, seasoned with cumin, coriander seeds, pepper and chili. Serve over rice with fresh cilantro leaves or parsley;
  • the way of the islands , by first making the marinade for two to six hours in a mixture of fresh mango, fresh pineapple or canned orange juice, lime juice, hot pepper, of coriander leaves, all seasoned with garlic and a little dark rum. Bake in the marinade;
  • the ancient Roman , in a sauce made of red wine and a leek, seasoned with rose petals, ground coriander seeds and fresh dill. Bake, then serve over a hot fig syrup;
  • in Thai , with asparagus, snow peas, green onions, grated carrots, while the wet coconut milk and seasoned with curry. Serve over jasmine rice;
  • the Japanese , brushing the pieces with a preparation of soy sauce, cider vinegar and sugar, thickened with a little cornstarch and ginger seasoned before the oven. Drizzle with marinade often during cooking;
  • in Italian , long simmered in a sauce of tomatoes, broth and white wine and rosemary seasoned, bay leaf, parsley and black pepper dish.

Chicken broth: with the bones or the carcass, an onion, a carrot, two stalks of celery, a leek, pepper and a bay leaf, we will prepare a broth that can be used as a base for soup, sauces or for cooking pasta, rice, sautéed and glazed vegetables.

In a salt crust  : cover the bottom of a casserole dish with a sheet of aluminum foil and place a good layer of coarse salt on it. Then put the poultry in it, placing it breast side against the bottom, and cover it with 3 to 4 cm of salt, which should be well packed around the chicken. Bake for an hour and a half, then invert the casserole dish on a large wooden board and crack the salt crust with a hammer.

Do not hesitate to consume the organs (or offal): liver , heart , gizzard and kidneys . The kidneys will simply be disgorged in cold water before being cooked in chicken broth, then browned.

Above all, do not neglect the sot-l’y-lets , these little pieces of fine flesh not very visible, lodged in the interior hollow of the iliac bones, just above the rump and which, out of ignorance, the fool leaves it there.


Refrigerator: Chicken should be kept in the coldest part (4 ºC), two or three days if it is raw, three or four days if it is cooked.
Freezer  (-18 ºC): you will keep raw and whole chicken for twelve months, raw pieces for six months, raw ground chicken for three months, and cooked chicken for six months.
Consume it within 48 hours of thawing.

Ecology and environment

Chickens and chickens can be extremely useful in the vegetable garden, where they consume a lot of pests and, therefore, greatly reduce the damage they inflict on crops. In warmer regions, they have even been seen preying on scorpions, which they swallow after pecking their sting out. In addition, they indirectly help to limit the populations of ants, termites, flies and fleas, as well as those of the inevitable farm rats and mice.

There are “chicken” and “chicken”!

Antibiotic chicken . While there is no longer reason to be concerned about the presence of growth hormones in the flesh of chickens sold in Canada, the use of antibiotics as growth promoters causes certain problems, including that of increasing the risk, for humans, to be infected with bacteria that have become resistant to these drugs. The World Health Organization (WHO) has already issued a recommendation that the preventive use of antibiotics in farm animals should be stopped. Several countries have already adopted, or are in the process of adopting, regulations prohibiting the preventive use of this family of drugs.

Grain-fed chicken . What is called “grain-fed chicken” is not governed by any standard in Canada, the standard model proposed by the government in 1993 never having been officially adopted. Therefore, the chicken marked “grain” may have been fed, just like regular chicken, a feed comprising 10% to 20% animal meal or fat. He, too, is reared in a battery, has no access to the outside and is given antibiotics as growth promoters.

Vegetable chicken . Since the designation “grain-fed chicken” has never been controlled, the poultry industry now proposes to call “vegetable chicken” chicken that will be fed exclusively on grains. She wants to create a certification that will be governed by an independent body and that will ensure that the bird has indeed been fed grain, without flour or animal fat. The same breeding conditions will prevail.

Organic chicken . Rigorous standards govern the organic farming of chickens and chickens, not only with a view to ensuring the consumer access to a healthy product free from chemical and drug residues, but to give the animals the best living conditions. possible, including space, fresh air and the ability to move at will. Result: activities such as preening their feathers, pecking, scratching the ground for insects, running, become possible for them again. These standards are in addition to the rules of hygiene, safety and cleanliness that already exist in chicken farms. Considered more flavorful, the flesh of chickens from organic farms is slightly less tender than that of chickens raised in battery.

Transgenic and cloned chicken.Various American biotechnology companies are working on developing techniques to produce cloned and transgenic chickens with the aim of bringing them to maturity more quickly and giving them the characteristics (homogeneous weight, absence of egg production in order to promote the ‘rapid fattening) sought after by the food industry, while preserving the organoleptic qualities (flavor, texture, fondant) to which the latter has accustomed consumers. There are even thoughts of producing blind chickens which would be less sensitive to modern farming conditions. With the chicken genome now known, agro-industrial applications will not be long in coming and, barring major obstacles,

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