If you are looking to eat healthy – pork is an ideal choice as it is high in protein, lean and packed full of healthy nutrients, vitamins and minerals.
The pig is a magical creature – it offers myriad of delectable treats such as bacon, ham, ribs, chops, roast, sausage and pulled pork. No other meat comes in such a variety of delicious delicacies. The real beauty of pork is that not only is it temptingly tasty, but it offers a number of health benefits as well.
Choosing the right cut
Some cuts of pork are the leanest cuts of high-quality protein that you can buy. Gram for gram, lean cuts of pork actually have fewer calories than chicken or lean beef – by comparison for example, 85g of pork tenderloin contains 120 calories, while 85g of chicken contains 139 calories, and 85g lean beef contains 216 calories.
The leanest cuts of pork, with the highest protein content and the least calories and fat, are always those that include the term “loin”, such as tenderloin, sirloin roast, and loin chops for example. Moving up the body of the pig, from the shoulder to the belly, the meat will automatically contain more fat. However, if you prefer these cuts, you can easily trim the fat off before cooking for a leaner alternative. If you are looking for a lean pork sausage, look for sausages that get no more than 15% to 20% of their calories from fat.
Pork is an excellent source of high-quality protein, that when digested and broken down, turn into high concentrations of all 9 essential amino acids. These are crucial for the proper growth of the human body. So, if you are looking to hit the gym, or accelerate your recovery from injury or surgery, pork is an excellent dietary source of amino acids, which will facilitate muscle growth and repair.
Pork contains a number of nutrients that are exceptionally beneficial to muscle performance, including taurine, beta-alanine and creatine:
- Taurine is an amino acid that improves exercise performance, and promotes a healthy metabolism, protects your eyes, heart and muscles, and it protects you from brain ageing and neurological disorders.
- Beta-alanine, another amino acid, helps in the production of carnosine, which is critical to muscle development. It also improves athletic performance by reducing fatigue, increasing endurance and boosting performance in high-intensity exercises.
- Creatine is believed to improve strength, increase lean muscle mass, and help the muscles recover more quickly during exercise. This muscular boost may help athletes achieve bursts of speed and energy, especially during short bouts of high-intensity activities such as weight liftingor sprinting.
Besides for being lean and high in protein, pork is also an incredibly rich source of several important vitamins and minerals:
- Vitamin B: Pork is very high in vitamin B6, vitamin B12, thiamine (B1) and niacin (B3) – all of which help to protect against heart attacks and strokes. Vitamin B6 helps create red blood cells, and helps regulate the nervous system and cognition, inhibiting the chances of anxiety and brain dysfunction. Vitamin B12 helps improve brain function, thiamine plays a critical role in energy metabolism and in the growth, development, and function of cells, niacin aids the body in producing sex- and stress-related hormones and improves circulation and cholesterol levels.
- Glycine: An important amino acid, Glycinehelps to regulate the body’s immune response, to limit unhealthful inflammation and spur healing. As a neurotransmitter, glycine both stimulates and inhibits cells in the brain and central nervous system, affecting cognition, mood, appetite and digestion, immune function, pain perception, and sleep.
- Selenium: This nutrient is important for reproduction, thyroid gland function, DNA production, and protecting the bodyfrom damage caused by free radicals and from infection.
- Minerals: Pork has a high mineral content pf Phosphorus, Selenium, Sodium, Zinc, Potassium and Copper. It also has good quantities of Iron and Magnesium, and traces of Calcium and Manganese.