Chicken: Important Facts, Health Benefits, and Recipes

Explore the health benefits of chicken, its nutritional information, various cuisines that include chicken, and the best ways to store and prepare it for a delicious meal.

What Is Chicken?

  • The chicken is a domesticated subspecies from the red junglefowl originally from Southeastern Asia .
  • ​​ Chickens (Gallus domesticus) are birds that cannot fly.
  • There are over 150 different breeds of chicken that come in various colors, patterns, and sizes.

Is Chicken Good For You?

Overall, yes, chicken is healthy. How chicken is prepared and the cut of the meat will determine whether chicken is good for you.

5 Health Benefits Of Chicken

Different parts and preparation methods factor into how healthy chicken is. Darker cuts like the thigh and drumstick have more calories than lighter cuts like the breast. Keeping the skin or frying chicken also adds saturated fat.

  1. Eating chicken may help to build stronger muscles and promote healthier bones
    1. The lean protein in chicken is a great source of amino acids that build muscle tissue. This is especially important as we age.
    2. Studies have also shown that higher protein intake helps to maintain bone mineral density.
  2. Chicken contains tryptophan that could help boost our moods.
    1. Chicken contains the amino acid tryptophan , which has been linked to higher levels of serotonin (the “feel good” hormone) in our brains.
    2. The tryptophan levels in chicken aren’t high enough to make you feel instantly great, but studies show it could help to boost serotonin levels when paired with other factors.
  3. Chicken is low in fat and carbohydrates and high in protein and iron. 1 chicken breast contains about 4 grams fat (1g saturated fat), 0g carb, and 37g protein, with 7% daily needs of iron.
    1. Good for higher protein diets (paleo and keto) or any diet (Mediterranean, gluten-free, omnivorous)
  4. Chicken is rich in B vitamins like niacin and vitamins B6 and B12, which are important for energy production, forming healthy red blood cells, and brain health
  5. Chicken is a good source of Vitamin D
    1. Vitamin D helps with calcium absorption and bone strengthening

History, Background About General Facts of Chicken

  • Originally raised for cockfighting or for special ceremonies, chickens were not kept for food until the Hellenistic period (4th–2nd centuries BC).
  • Humans now keep chickens mostly as a source of food (consuming both their meat and eggs ) and as pets .
  • Chickens are one of the most common and widespread domestic animals in the world: As of 2018, the population was 23.7 billion (19 billion in 2011).
  • There are more chickens in the world than any other bird
  • Chickens farmed for meat are called broiler chickens , and those farmed for eggs are called egg-laying hens .
  • How to cook chicken? Boil, fry, broil, slow cook, pressure cook, air fry, grill, sauté, stir fry, roast, bake, etc.

What Are The Cuisines That Regularly Include Chicken?

  • Spanish, Latin American, Filipino - Chicken adobo (paprika, oregano, vinegar in a stock)
  • Mexican and Latin American - Arroz con pollo (chicken and rice)
  • American - beer can chicken, fried chicken, grilled chicken, chicken marsala, chicken Parmesan, chicken salad, fettuccine alfredo with chicken, chicken Caesar
  • Indian - butter chicken, chicken korma (braised in yogurt and cooked with spices)
  • Italian - chicken cacciatore ( chicken, herbs, onions, and sometimes wine) and chicken piccata
  • French - coq au vin (wine, mushrooms, carrots, and onions)
  • Chinese and Southeast Asian (Malaysia) - claypot chicken rice
  • Japanese - Karaage (deep-fried chicken)
  • Korean - fried chicken
  • African (Mozambique and South Africa) - Peri Peri (parika, chile powder, garlic, ginger)
  • West African chicken stew
  • Ethiopian - doro wat (stewed chicken with berbere)

What Is The Best Way To Store Chicken?

Keep chicken refrigerated according to the sell by or use by date, otherwise store it in the freezer.

What Are The Different Types Of Chicken?

  • Free-range chickens are allowed to roam freely in the pastures which is better for them and for us.


  • Conventional chickens are kept in cages and not allowed to move freely. These birds are often injected with hormones to speed growth and are sometimes kept in unhygienic and unhealthy conditions, so they are also often treated with antibiotics which is not good for them or us.


  • Organic chicken is the most expensive because they have access to the outdoors, are only allowed to eat organically grown food (with no pesticides), and they may not be given antibiotics. They are also supposed to be kept in healthy and clean conditions and allowed to grow naturally.

Toxicity and Side Effects Of Chicken

The way chicken is prepared plays a role in the healthiness factor. Fried and processed chicken (chicken nuggets, lunch meat, etc.) contains potentially harmful fats and binders and sodium that make it way less healthy than baked or sautéed chicken.

What Is The Best Vegetarian Substitute For Chicken?

If you don't have chicken available or need a vegetarian substitute for it in a recipe, there are several alternatives you can consider based on your dietary preferences and the type of dish you're preparing. Here are some options:

  1. Tofu: Tofu is a versatile plant-based protein that can be used as a substitute for chicken in many recipes. It can be marinated, grilled, sautéed, or baked to mimic the texture and flavor of chicken. Firm or extra-firm tofu is recommended for better texture.

  2. Tempeh: Tempeh is another plant-based protein made from fermented soybeans. It has a nutty flavor and a firm texture. Like tofu, tempeh can be marinated and cooked in various ways, making it a suitable substitute for chicken in dishes like stir-fries, curries, or sandwiches.

  3. Lentils: Lentils are a nutritious and protein-rich legume that can be used as a substitute for chicken in certain dishes, particularly in stews, soups, or casseroles. They provide a hearty texture and absorb flavors well. Green or brown lentils work best in savory dishes.

  4. Mushrooms: Certain types of mushrooms, such as portobello mushrooms or shiitake mushrooms, can provide a meaty texture and umami flavor that can mimic chicken in some recipes. They can be marinated, grilled, sautéed, or used as a filling in dishes like sandwiches or wraps.