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Chicken Skin May Actually Carry Some Health Benefits

There’s something wonderful about roasted chicken for dinner on a chilly night. From the smell of it roasting in the oven to the last bite, it’s a culinary experience of comfort.

Recently, chicken skin has gotten a bad rap. Those of us who are calorie conscious started picking apart our chicken – first eschewing the dark meat and then discarding the skin. While boneless, skinless chicken breasts reign supreme in supermarkets, new nutritional information may change that. The skin is not as bad for our diets as most of us think, and it actually carries some health benefits.

Most of us season our chicken skin generously and leave it on while cooking, a process that helps to lock in moisture. After all of that work, some kitchen cooks remove the tasty skin and discard it. Tsk, tsk, says nutritionists and gastronomes alike. Not only is the crispy skin a savory treat, it can be good for your heart as well.

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We think chicken skin is fatty and therefore bad for us. Not so. While a good diet is one that avoids “bad” fats – like the trans fats found in processed foods – our bodies need certain beneficial fats.

Most popular today are the monounsaturated fats found in fatty fish and avocados, which provide the powerful omega-3 fatty acids essential for brain health. But unsaturated fats, like those found in chicken skin, also have health benefits. These fats contain omega-6 fatty acids and contribute to reduced heart disease and lower cholesterol levels when they replace saturated fats in the diet.

Counting calories? Not to worry. Chicken skin from a 12-ounce chicken breast comes in at only 50 calories. So the next time you find yourself dining on fresh chicken, savor the skin. Your heart (and your palate) will thank you.

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