Jamon Iberico: Healthy Snack

13 May

Most people have been hypnotized by the MSM to believe that ham is evil, bad and unhealthy. Fat and protein? Bad. Sugar, starch and tub margarine? Eat your heart out (literally).

Well, turns out the quality Spanish hams (especially jamón ibérico and jamón serrano) have some formidable health benefits—see here and here—or just look below for snipets of each article.

The fat of Iberico bellota ham contains over 55% oleic acid (a mono-unsaturated fatty acid). Rigorous scientific studies have shown that these fats exercise a beneficial effect on cholesterol in the blood by increasing the amount of good (HDL) cholesterol and reducing bad (LDL) cholesterol. Only virgin olive oil has a higher oleic acid content.

The total proportion of unsaturated fatty acids in cured Iberico hams that have consumed a diet of acorns is over 75%, making it the most “cardiohealthy” of all animal fats, even healthier than some fats of plant origin. The breed of pigs is not the only explanation; their staple diet of acorns and grasses also plays an important role.

In addition to its beneficial effect on cholesterol, Iberico ham provides proteins, vitamins B1, B6, B12 and folic acid, all highly beneficial for the nervous system and proper functioning of the brain. It is also rich in vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant, and in minerals such as copper, essential for bones and cartilage; calcium, iron, zinc, magnesium, phosphorus and finally, selenium, which has been attributed with antiaging properties.

And, additionally, the fact that jamon iberico comes from the Black Iberian Pig, gives its consumers a health boost.

Remember that this is a ham from an extraordinary pig who traces his lineage back to the time of the cavemen. The Cerdo Ibérico has quite a different DNA than the meat of run-of-the mill pink pigs you are used to buying. In addition, their diet of herbs, grasses and acorns are a significant factor.

But because ham is salty, cured and not very cheap, it’s best used as a snack (with tomato, bread, olive oil and oregano is always good) rather than a full meal.

Also, this is quality ham. The processed ham is going to be just as bad in Spain as in the USA. So buy quality, eat in light quantities and enjoy without any guilt. Ham, after all, is just as vital to the Spanish Mediterranean diet as wine and olive oil.

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Posted by on May 13, 2011 in Culture, Food, Health, Spain


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