Pork is the name for the meat obtained from a domestic pig and is one of the most consumed meats globally. In religions such as Islam and Judaism, it is forbidden to eat pork. It is called ‘pork meat’ in Nigeria and is often added to various soups, stews, and other delicacies. Many individuals find it hard to eat this meat because of the animal’s assumed dirty nature and excess fat.
Notwithstanding, pork is one of the most nutritious meat, as it contains essential vitamins and minerals. This article provides you with the nutritional value and health benefits of pork meat.
Nutritional Value of Pork Meat
Pork meat has high protein and fat content. Pork is a good source of protein, Niacin, Iron, Zinc, Vitamins B6 and B12. Vitamins B6 and B12 are especially abundant in pork meat. They are also great sources of vitamins and minerals like phosphorus, selenium, and thiamine. Furthermore, it contains all nine essential amino acids.
Health Benefits of Pork Meat
1. Boosts thyroid function
Pork is rich in selenium, which is very important for improving the function of the thyroid. Three ounces of pork contain about 33 micrograms of selenium. The thyroid gland is an important hormone gland; It plays a crucial role in the metabolism, growth, and development of the human body. Eating foods high in selenium is a prerequisite to preventing thyroid disease and preserving overall health.
2. Maintains muscle mass
As you age, maintaining muscle mass becomes more difficult. Without a proper diet, muscle mass naturally degenerates and can lead to many age-related health problems. A proper diet that can maintain muscle mass should be rich in protein. Pork is an excellent source of high-quality protein. They contain all the amino acids and hence are perfect building blocks for creating new muscle and maintaining muscle mass.
3. Improves muscle function and performance
Pork meat can improve muscle function and exercise performance. They are not just rich in high-quality protein but also contain a variety of healthy nutrients that are beneficial for your muscles, such as taurine, creatine, glutathione, and beta-alanine. Beta-alanine helps your body form a compound called carnosine, which is important for muscle function. Therefore, that makes pork one of the best foods for bodybuilding.
4. Provides the body with energy
To increase your energy, you need to get enough iron. Iron helps transport oxygen to wherever your body needs it by hooking onto red blood cells. Common iron deficiency symptoms are low energy and fatigue. However, pork is a notable source of iron. Apart from containing iron, pork is also a good source of the B-vitamins like thiamine and Niacin. Thiamin (vitamin B1) and Niacin (vitamin B3) help the body’s cells convert carbohydrates into energy.
5. Enhances brain and immune function
Pork meat is rich in zinc, which is an essential mineral for a healthy brain and immune system. It is required for the body’s immune system to work properly and also plays a role in cell division, cell growth, wound healing, and the breakdown of carbohydrates. Also, zinc is essential for the normal development of the central nervous system and boosts brain function.
Potential Side Effects of Pork Meat
There are also some possible health risks associated with eating pork.
- May contain parasites: Undercooked or raw pork is most likely to contain parasites. Taenia solium, or pork tapeworm, is an intestinal parasite that is usually present in pork. It can occasionally cause a disease called cysticercosis, which leads to epilepsy. They can also contain parasitic roundworms such as Trichinella. Hence, to prevent getting a parasitic infection, always cook pork thoroughly.
- High in sodium and saturated fats: Pork can be high in sodium and saturated fats, two of which should be avoided or limited in a healthy diet.
- Heart disease and cancer: Although there is no concrete medical evidence to suggest so, some studies have linked too much consumption of pork meat to a higher risk of heart disease and cancer.
Pork is one of the most eaten meats in the world. It is highly nutritious and has some health benefits. The health benefits of pork meat show that it should be eaten by everyone. However, it should be properly cooked and eaten in moderation.