In Russia, just as it is here in Albania, people love their red meat. With all the mish i pjekur, paidhaqes, qoftes and berxollas around, at some point it became real meat overload for me. So a little over a year ago I have decided to give up red meat.

One of the biggest dilemmas I faced when deciding to cut back was to figure out the available alternative choices. As you can imagine, one gets pretty tired of eating chicken every day, so I started to research what are the pros and cons of other poultry meats. In case you are like me or just want to diversify your diet a little bit, stay tuned for the review of all the delicious and nutritious options out there.

While on a recent trip to Russia, my taste quest brought me to an ostrich and emu farm. Although ostrich meat is poultry, it is not white like most other birds, and is often called “the healthiest red meat available”. So strictly speaking I went back on my word, but I really could not help myself, but to try such an exotic option. I cannot say that I particularly liked the taste of ostrich meat, but the benefits of it are truly astonishing. Not only is it lower in cholesterol and saturated fats than chicken or turkey, it is also extremely high in iron, potassium, phosphorous, and natural creatine. What is even more amazing is that due to the ostrich’s ideal pH balance, the meat does not attract harmful bacteria like E-coli or salmonella, unlike chicken and other meats.

Now let’s move on to more conventional poultry options and their benefits.

Chicken and Turkey

Chicken meat is a source of lean, low fat protein, and phosphorous, both of which help to prevent bone loss. Secondly, due to a high content amino acid called tryptophan, chicken meat is a natural anti-depressant (remember the comforting feeling you get after a bowl of chicken soup). Chicken meat increases your serotonin levels, thus enhancing your mood. It is also high in selenium and B complex vitamins and zinc, involved in metabolic performance and keeping the blood vessels healthy and energy levels high.

On the other hand, chicken and other poultry meats are susceptible to bacteria. Chickens are often fed antibiotics while being grown and have almost as much cholesterol as red meat.

Turkey meat provides virtually same benefits as chicken, the only difference is that turkey meat has less calories, less fat, and less cholesterol.

Chicken meat increases your serotonin levels, thus enhancing your mood. photo: Flickr


Duck meat is known for its unique taste, and is especially popular in Asian cuisine. Duck is very high in protein and minerals such as selenium, phosphorous, zinc, iron, copper and sodium. Vitamins, riboflavin, niacin, thiamine, pantothenic acid, vitamin B6 and B12 are in abundance. Over half the total fat content is healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fat. The other half is mostly concentrated in the skin, so it is recommended to remove it before eating.


Goose meat is high-protein, low fat, low cholesterol, nutrition health food. Goose meat contains a variety of essential amino acids for growth and development of the human body. More than 60% of fat is easily digested unsaturated fat, with linolenic acid content higher than in other meats. Goose meat is ideal for those suffering from diabetes, loss of appetite and cough illnesses, such as bronchitis and asthma.


Quail meat is sweet and delicate white meat with extremely low skin fat and low cholesterol value. It is rich in micronutrients and a wide range of vitamins including the B complex, folate and vitamin E and K, vitamin C, iron and copper, all of which are important for generating energy.


Pheasant contains high levels of magnesium, essential for stress management. It also contains a high level of iron, protein, vitamin B6 and selenium, which helps to protect cells from damage caused by free radicals.


Another exotic poultry option is peacock meat. The fat content of peacock meat is very low (about 1%), while the levels of protein, vitamins, calcium and other microelements are high. Peacock meat works to eliminate toxins from the inner body, which is especially important to those people suffering from constipation and other digestion problems.

As you can see, there are plenty of options out there to try, although some of them are not that easy to find. The important thing with all poultry meats is not to eat the skin and to opt for baking, roasting or boiling, instead of frying. Enjoy! /

*Albania eye-witnessed by a Russian researcher, living in Tirana since 2013. Liana Suleymanova studied history at the American University in Bulgaria where she got introduced to Albania, whose past particularly captured her. Her interest in the small country developed even more during her master studies in the Central European University in Budapest and Diplomatic Academy of Vienna, where she focused on Albanian history, especially on the transition from communism to democracy.