Animal Skin: Should You Eat It?
You may have been out to dinner and debated the question, do I eat this fish or chicken skin on my plate? Animal skins are quite commonly included on dishes at restaurants, but are they really healthy? We’ll break it down for you here, and you may be surprised by our answers.
What They’re Made Of
Depending on the type of animal, animal skin contains different nutritional components, with the most common being collagen. Salmon skin, for example, is made of collagen, phospholipid molecules and mucus cells. Chicken skin is made of water, collagen, fat and ash.
Animal skin is rich in collagen which is necessary for rebuilding tissue in the body. It is also rich in saturated fats and omega-3’s and omega-6’s. The ratio of omega-3’s to 6’s will depend on the animal’s diet. If the animal ate a good diet (i.e.,100% grass-fed cow) it will have a fairly equal ratio of omega-6’s to omega-3’s which is necessary for inflammatory balance. In addition, these fats will make you feel full and satiated. Animal skin also contains some essential minerals like calcium and potassium.
Cholesterol…Does it Matter?
Adequate animal fat intake, like that from animal skin, supports liver cholesterol synthesis. Contrary to popular opinion, this is necessary as cholesterol is important for sex and stress hormone production. Your primary stress hormone (aka cortisol) is a steroid molecule, meaning it is synthesized from cholesterol. Without adequate cholesterol delivery to the adrenal glands, cortisol production will be impaired.
How to Eat Animal Skin
The most common ways to reap the benefits of animal skin is roast, bake or grill it with the rest of the meat. Salmon is great pan-fried or broiled with the skin. Or we love roasted chicken with the skin nicely seasoned, too. If the thought of eating the skin is a little concerning but you want to reap the benefits, collagen powder is a great option. Green Compass is one of our trusted brands made from several different types of collagen to support skin and hair health.