Ham is a popular appetizer and deli meat that we like to eat with our holiday meals or on our sandwiches. Ham comes from the legs of the pork and is usually dry-cured with salt or smoke. However, there are many other procedures for preserving it, and they vary depending upon the type of pork.
Ham is processed meat, and many people ask the question of whether it is suitable for health or not. Therefore, in this article, you will get to know the nutrients, production, types, and benefits of ham to determine its impact on health.
Nutrients Available in Ham
Ham contains high proteins, but the number of carbs, fat, and fiber is low in it. Moreover, if we eat the ham alone, the calories in it will also be less. If we eat 57 grams of ham, approximately 3 to 4 thin slices, it will give us 69 calories, 11 grams of protein, 2 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of carbs, 1.25 grams of sugar, 26% of the daily value of sodium, 3% iron, 3% copper, 3% magnesium, and 9% zinc.
Ham is especially rich in selenium and provides 76% of the daily value of 57 grams of pork. However, this also depends upon the type of ham. It is essential to know that selenium is an important nutrient that helps in aids reproduction, defense from infections, and DNA construction.
Similarly, if we compare pork products with poultry and fish, we will get to know that pork products like ham are higher in iron and other B vitamins. However, pork can be less in nutrients than red meat like beef.
Ham is a complete protein as it provides all nine amino acids that help the body build protein. Moreover, ham plays a good role in metabolism, cell communication, and gene expression. Ham also contains a good amount of potassium, zinc, and phosphorus, which helps the body produce energy, fight infections, and maintain heart health.
Production of Ham
Ham is a piece of pork that is cut from the hind legs of a pig and then cleaned and cured using different methods.
Types of Curing:
Dry Curing Method: In the dry curing procedure, the makers cover the pork in salt and herbs and periodically press it to remove the blood before washing it. After removing the blood, they hang it in a space with a controlled temperature for 6 to 24 months.
Wet Curing Method: In the wet curing method, the manufacturer soaks or infuses the pork for 3 to 14 days. The pork stays soaked in a liquid brine that includes ingredients like dry curing and nitrates and nitrites.
Smoking Methods: In the smoking method, the manufacturer hangs the ham in the smokehouse. Through this method, the ham absorbs additional flavors and colors from smoke.
Similarly, canned is another form of ham that is quite famous. Canned ham is made mechanically. As in this method, after preserving the flavors, the butcher slices the ham from the pig’s legs and then reshape and packs it.
Both cured and mechanically formed hams are famous, but you can also buy cooked ham as well as fresh raw ham. If you want to purchase raw ham, you will have to cook it very carefully before eating.
Moreover, cooking a raw ham takes more time than heating a cured ham. Similarly, you should also keep in mind that the nutritional value of hams will be different depending upon the type of its feed and processing method.
Ham has different types, and the way ham looks and tastes vary depending upon the type and area in which you live. In many cultures, people adopt unique methods of curing ham. Following are some common types of ham.
Deli Ham: Deli ham is usually cured and packed and is also known as lunch meat.
Chopped ham: The chopped or chipped ham is seasoned and shaped into a loaf.
City and Country Ham: City ham is lightly cured or smoked and refrigerated to keep it preserved. However, the country ham is dry-cured with salt and then stored at room temperature.
Honey Glazed Ham: People use honey glazed ham after reheating it on a glaze of sugar, honey, and different spices.
There are many other types of ham like Smithfield Ham, black forest ham, gammon ham, York ham, and prosciutto ham available in different areas of the world.
Health Benefits of Eating Ham
Several health benefits of ham are as follows.
Ham Contains Essential Nutrients
Ham contains many beneficial proteins, minerals, and other nutrients that are beneficial for our health. The noblest nutrients available in ham are:
Choline: Choline is an essential nutrient and very beneficial for pregnant women as it can improve the chlorine content in Breastmilk. Moreover, choline also positively affects placental health.
Carnosine: Carnosine is an amino acid that contains antioxidant properties. Similarly, it has anti-aging effects and increases exercise performance.
Ham Helps in Reducing Weight
As ham contains low calories and you eat this low calory food daily, you will reduce weight. Moreover, you will feel full for a longer time. Similarly, calorie density depends upon the calories relative to the weight or volume of food.
It is an excellent choice to eat protein in moderation if you are on a weight loss journey. Moreover, water-rich foods like fruits and vegetables are also a better choice for weight loss.
Ham Helps in Maintaining Mass of Muscles
Ham and other pork products contain amino acids. Therefore, they are considered as a protein source. If we eat these proteins regularly, they will play a vital role in maintaining our muscle strength, particularly among older adults.
Similarly, ham is also a source of molecule carnosine which can improve the exercise performance of a company.
Ham of Certain Type can Reduce Inflammation
A particular type of Spanish Iberian ham comes from black Iberian pigs. The specialty of this ham is that the big eats a diet of grain and corn before grazing on grass.
Studies show that Iberian ham, unlike other hams, does not increase the risk of chronic conditions like heart diseases and high blood pressure.
This type of ham contains an antioxidant-like effect that decreases inflation risks and other harms associated with high blood pressure.
Pork is a popular meat and contains high-quality vitamins and minerals. Therefore, it improves exercise performance and helps the muscles grow. However, it is essential to know that overcooked ham will contain carcinogenic substances while raw pork will have parasites.