Iberico pork meat is not the same as regular pig meat. It almost looks like beef when it's raw. In comparison to regular pig meat, which is white, the meat is pink to bright red.
The fat is the game changer for Iberico pork meat. Iberian pigs have a lot of infiltrated fat in their muscles due to their acorn-based diet, and genetics, resulting in a significantly more flavorful pork. Aside from being high in fat, a significant portion of it is unsaturated oleic fat, the same fat found in olive oil - which is said to lower cholesterol and is an important part of the Mediterranean diet.
What is Iberico Pork?
Iberico pork is derived from pigs that are raised in the Iberian Peninsula, a mountainous region that encompasses central and southern Spain and Portugal. These pigs can only be found in this area.
The Iberian pig is an ancient animal that existed before animal domestication. Their ancestors can be traced back to the Neolithic Period, approximately 12,000 years ago.
Iberian pigs can be found in the mountains, usually in a wild environment, or in the forest near their favorite diet of acorns, oak, and nuts.
These pigs have reddish to gray skin, and little or no hair.
Nutritional Qualities of Iberico Ham
Because of the breed of pig used, but also because of the raising and fattening regime, Iberico ham has very different nutritional profiles than other hams. Meat from pigs fed on acorns and wild grasses is nutritionally distinct from other hams.
Iberico ham, in particular, is extremely high in protein and minerals, as well as Vitamins B and E. It is also highly digestible, making its nutritional content more accessible to the body.
Iberico ham is high in protein and healthy fats. This is due to a higher level of amino acids per gram of protein, resulting in better nutritional qualities for the amount of food consumed. Furthermore, the curing process initiates a process known as "proteolysis," which aids digestion. This is critical because nutrients are better assimilated when the digestibility quotient is higher.
The high content of intramuscular fat is an important source of fatty acids, particularly unsaturated fatty acids, while the saturated fat level is significantly lower than that found in white pig meat. These parameters show that eating Spanish ham on a regular basis raises "good" cholesterol and lowers "bad" cholesterol in the bloodstream. Nutritionists have been referring to this impact of the Mediterranean diet for years as one of the reasons why it appears to lengthen life and enhance heart health.
- Iberico ham per 100g
- Calcium: 27,08 mg
- Carbohydrates: 0,10 g
- Energy: 375 Kcal
- Phosphorus: 157,5 mg
- Fats: 22,4 g
- Iron: 3,35 mg
- Magnesium: 157,5 mg
- Potassium: 153 mg
- Protein: 43,2 g
- Sodium: 1110 mg
- Vitamin B12: 15,68 µg
- Vitamin E: 11 µg
The importance of the wild grass and acorn feeding regime causing the high Vitamin E content in Iberico ham is also noteworthy. This is critical because Vitamin E is involved in the maturation and oxidation of the ham, which is one of the reasons Iberico ham has such a low salt content when compared to other hams. Aside from these benefits, Iberico ham is also high in magnesium, phosphorus, iron, and vitamins B1 and B12.
Iberico Ham: A Health Food
All of the aforementioned factors lead to the conclusion that Iberico ham's nutritional properties are ideal for maintaining a healthy and balanced diet, as well as providing specific dietary benefits.
For example, because of its high protein content, Iberico ham is recommended by nutritionists for underweight or pregnant women. On the other hand, the high levels of Vitamin B make it an excellent choice for those battling depression or stress, or for those recovering from an injury, illness, or surgery. Iberico ham's high digestibility can also help with stomach issues.
Iberico pork ham promotes the production of HDL (good cholesterol) in the body while decreasing LDL (bad cholesterol). Polyunsaturated fatty acid-rich diets lower LDL cholesterol levels in the blood. Clinical studies that included Iberico pork ham in the diets of older people found significant reductions in plasma total cholesterol, triglycerides, and LDL cholesterol.
The high quality and composition of Iberico Pork Hams make them a highly recommended food for our health and well-being. A staple of the nutritious Mediterranean diet. The key is in Ibérico pig nutrition, which is based on acorns, which contain high levels of sugars and fatty acids that are good for our bodies.
It's a true blessing for our health and taste buds.