Most people around the world find eating chicken feet unsavory and it’s often discarded as a waste product. However, in some parts of the world chicken feet is part of people’s regular cuisine.
In fact, chicken feet have gained quite the popularity in several regions fairly recently including South Africa, Mexico, Asia, Trinidad and Jamaica.
That definitely begs the question: What do these people know that we don’t? And is chicken feet healthy?
Well, in this article we’ll be answering both of those burning questions in addition to providing you with the exact nutritional value you get from consuming chicken feet.
As most of you would already know, chicken feet contain very little meat and are mostly made up of tendons, cartilage, skin and bones.
Despite that though, they still possess quite a lot of nutritional value including a healthy serving of protein which is always good for people looking to put on muscle.
Here’s a breakdown of how much nutrition one pair of chicken feet provide.
- 1 Chicken feet calories (70 mg): 150 Calories
- 1 Chicken feet protein: 14 grams
- Fat: 10 grams
- Carbs: 0.14 grams
- Calcium: 5% of the Daily Value
- Vitamin A: 2% of the Daily Value
- Phosphorus: 5% of the Daily Value
- Folate (Vitamin B9): 15% of the Daily Value
Chicken feet contain a special type of protein called collagen that makes up about 70% of the feet’s protein content. Their folate (vitamin B9) content can also aid in DNA synthesis which in turn helps prevent birth abnormalities.
Before we get to some more health benefits chicken feet provide, there are some disadvantages to consuming them that you should be aware of first.
Most of the disadvantages of eating chicken feet come about due to errors in common preparation methods, overall cleanliness and the feet being a choking hazard
Deep frying chicken feet is one of the most common preparation methods and can actually lead to the negation of any positive health benefits they provide.
That’s because deep fried items are high in trans fatty acids, a highly unhealthy form of saturated fat that can harm your heart’s health. These trans fatty acids can increase your bad cholesterol level (LDL) and decrease your good cholesterol (HDL) which can in turn lead to plaque building up in your heart and you contracting a heart disease.
Additionally, these trans fats can also increase inflammation markers and increase the number of triglycerides in your body, both of which can lead to weight gain.
If you’re buying chicken feet separately then make sure you inspect them carefully. Specifically, we want you to make sure you don’t buy any that are dirty or have large overgrown calluses on them.
These calluses signify ammonia burns from the chicken standing in its own droppings. If you decide to buy a dirty pair of chicken feet, make sure you wash them thoroughly before serving them.
Also chicken feet contain plenty of small bones that can be a choking hazard for children especially if not taken out. So, make sure you inspect the feet carefully and remove any bones you see.
As mentioned before, the collagen and folate content of chicken can be quite beneficial to a human’s health, offering multiple benefits to their heart, skin and muscles. In this section we’re presenting some of the most known benefits chicken feet provide.
As it’s one of the most popular benefits of consuming chicken feet, we thought the improvements it provides to your overall skin health and appearance should get a section of its own.
Firstly, some animal studies show that the collagen content in chicken feet can actually increase skin hydration and reduce wrinkle formation caused as a side effect of taking in too much ultraviolet B radiation, a type of ultraviolet ray emitted from the sun that causes sun burns.
Some scientific research also suggests that apart from improving your skin’s hydration, the collagen in chicken feet can also improve the roughness, elasticity and density of your skin.
Lastly, some studies have even shown that collagen can have an impact on preventing skin aging and speeding up wound healing.
Apart from benefiting your skin, the collagen in chicken feet can offer humans a myriad of health benefits ranging from improving their heart health to increasing their body’s lean muscle mass.
One of the most asked questions when it comes to the benefits of chicken feet is: Is Chicken feet good for high blood pressure?
Our answer to that is yes, it is! The collagen in chicken feet can actually lower your plasma renin levels which eventually leads to a fall in your blood pressure. The collagen in chicken feet also has the ability to relieve joint pain.
Research conducted on the protein suggests that collagen can stimulate tissue regeneration which eventually leads to lowering symptoms of osteoarthritis. A type of arthritis that breaks down the cartilage next to your joints, causing your bones to rub against each other and in turn cause pain and swelling.
Lastly, collagen unexpectedly also has a role to play in improving bone formation and density, especially in postmenopausal women. Studies suggest that taking collagen from chicken feet can actually increase bone mineral density and synthesis while reducing degradation.
And that’s all we have for you folks in terms of our answer to the question: Is chicken feet healthy?
All in all, consuming chicken feet has both its upsides and downsides but for us the upsides outweigh the downsides just because of the collagen content in chicken feet.
For more information on if consuming chicken feet is actually a good idea and a more detailed look at the benefits it provides, we’d advise booking an appointment with Ayesh Nasir, one of the leading nutritionists in Pakistan.