Though you may have heard it called “the other white meat,” pork is considered red meat. It’s consumed worldwide, though it is against the laws of some religions — including Islam and Judaism — to eat pork.
As a red meat, pork has a reputation for being unhealthy. However, it is a good source of certain nutrients, as well as high-quality protein. Consumed in moderation, it can make a good addition to a healthy diet.
Pork is a rich source of certain vitamins and minerals your body needs to function, like iron and zinc. It's also an excellent source of high-quality protein. Minimally processed, lean, fully-cooked pork eaten in moderation can provide certain benefits when added to your diet.
Pork is higher in heart-healthy unsaturated fats than beef, lamb, or even bison. It's also a rich source or iron, zinc, vitamin B12, niacin, vitamin B6, and is particularly high in thiamin. That being said, not all cuts and preparations of pork are equal.
100 grams (3.5 ounces) of cooked ground pork contains:
Protein: 25.7 grams
Fat: 20.8 grams
Carbohydrates: 0 grams
Fiber: 0 grams
Sugar: 0 grams
Pork is a good source of:
Vitamins B6 and B12
Pork is also a good source of vitamins and minerals like phosphorus, selenium, and thiamine.
Pork is actually richer in thiamine, a B vitamin required for a range of bodily functions, than other red meats like beef and lamb.
Vitamins B6 and B12, also found abundantly in pork, are essential for blood cell formation and brain function. Pork is also an excellent source of iron — the heme-iron found in red meats is absorbed very easily by the human digestive system.
The selenium in pork is essential for proper thyroid function. A six-ounce pork chop has more than 100% of the recommended daily allowance of selenium.
Potential Health Benefits of Pork
Pork is a rich source of certain vitamins and minerals your body needs to function, like iron and zinc. It’s also an excellent source of high-quality protein. Minimally processed, lean, fully-cooked pork eaten in moderation can provide certain benefits when added to your diet.
Research has found a number of potential health benefits associated with eating pork:
The high-quality proteins in pork are complete amino acids and therefore perfect building blocks for creating new muscle. As we age, we lose muscle mass, which can lead to conditions like sarcopenia — extreme muscle degeneration.
Eating high quality protein like that found in pork — as part of a healthy lifestyle that includes exercise — can help slow or reverse sarcopenia. It can also help maintain the healthy muscle tissue you already have.
Increased Muscle Performance
Pork contains the amino acid beta-alanine, which helps your body form a compound called carnosine. Carnosine is important for muscle function.
Studies have shown that high doses of beta-alanine supplements taken for 4–10 weeks lead to a 40–80% increase in carnosine levels in participant’s muscles.
High levels of carnosine have also been linked to lower fatigue and higher muscle performance in humans.
Source: Nourish | WebMD