Although pork is generally regarded as a fatty food, it is not without nutritional merit. In fact, there’s more to pork beyond fatty marbling and salty streaky bacon. Pork is also high in protein, vitamins and minerals, qualities that make pork recipes prime contenders for a healthy diet.
Pork is an excellent source of protein and amino acids, essential for growth and healing. Depending on the cut, pork contains 22% protein on average, plus loads of vitamins that further aid in muscle growth and repair. For example, a 100g serving or pork contains 65% of your recommended daily requirement for Thiamine, the B vitamin that metabolises carbohydrates into energy and aids in the repair of muscle. For body builders, or anyone looking to put on a bit of muscle, pork is your friend.
Beyond protein and thiamine, pork is also a prime source of iron, particularly Heme iron, a variety that is absorbed especially well by the human body. Pork also contains high amounts of Vitamin B12, B6, Niacin, Phosphorous and Zinc.
Even pork scratchings are not without their benefit – though fatty, two-thirds of that fat is heart-healthy mono and polyunsaturated fats. Pork scratchings are also remarkably high in protein, with 20g containing about a fifth of your recommended daily allowance. The only downside to pork scratchings are the salt, so it’s best eat in moderation.
The best way to take advantage of the health benefits of pork is to follow pork recipes that use the healthier cuts. The leanest cut is the tenderloin, with less than 5% fat, followed by the loin roast, loin chop, sirloin roast and rib chop.
One of the reasons why pork gets such a bad wrap is its salt content – processed pork products such as bacon tend to contain loads of salt, but lean pork is naturally low in salt allowing you take advantage of all the health benefits of pork without any of the risks associated with salt and fat.
So never mind those nay-sayers who say pork is the harbinger of all things unhealthy. If you stick to the right cuts and cooking techniques, pork really deserves to be called a ‘superfood’, rich in protein, vitamins, and minerals.