A balanced diet is not focussed on single nutrients or foods – no single food contains all the essential nutrients the body needs to stay healthy and work properly. Our diets should contain a variety of different foods, to help us get the wide range of nutrients that our body needs.

Sliced pork on top of a pesto pasta in a white bowl with fork

What are the nutritional benefits of pork?

It’s important to think about the balance of foods that make up a varied and healthy diet – A healthy dietary pattern includes:

  • plenty of fruit and vegetables – aiming for at least 5 portions every day
  • Meals based on starchy foods eg potatoes, rice, pasta and cereals, choose higher fibre and wholegrain varieties
  • a variety of protein foods such as seafood, lean red meat* and poultry, eggs, beans and pulses, nuts, and seeds
  • some dairy products (or dairy alternatives) , opting for lower fat options where possible
  • some healthier fats (unsaturated ) from vegetable oils and spreads
  • less foods and drinks that are high in saturated fat, salt and sugar

The current UK Government advice is that people who are high consumers of red and processed meat, in other words who eat more than 90g (cooked weight) per day, cut down to 70g (this equates to approximately 500g a week), as high intakes are associated with an increased risk of colorectal (bowel) cancer.

Cutting the pork loin steak

Lean pork can make a great tasty addition to a healthy, balanced diet.

The fat content of pork will depend on the type of cut, level of trimming, along with other factors. For example Pork loin medallions and pork fillet trimmed of visible fat, are actually low in fat (less than 3% fat) and low in saturated fat (less than 1.5% saturated fat).  These cuts are quick and easy to cook and make a great alternative and affordable option to chicken. Other cuts such as pork belly and processed pork products such as sausages, streaky bacon and pork scratchings will have a higher fat content so should be eaten only occasionally

Learn about the different pork cuts


raw pork loin escalopes

Tips to further reduce the fat content

  • Choose extra lean varieties of pork cuts such as pork medallions and fillet.
  • If you’re buying pre-packed meat, check the nutrition label to see how much fat it contains and compare products
  • Grill meat, rather than frying
  • Cook with vegetable oil such as rapeseed or olive oil, measure oil with a teaspoon to control the amount you use, or use an oil spray
  • Roast pork on a metal rack above a roasting tin so the fat can run off
  • Try using smaller quantities of processed meats such as sausages and bulk up the dish with vegetables, beans and pulses in recipes such as stews, pasta bakes and casseroles, this will also help to boost the fibre content of the overall meal.
  • Use lean cubes of pork for casseroles or kebabs
Sliced pork fillet with green vegetable salad on a white dish

Health benefits of pork

Pork is naturally rich in high quality protein containing all the essential amino acids. Protein helps muscle growth and supports the maintenance of normal bones. The protein content of lean pork is typically around 22g per 100g.

Pork is also naturally low in salt and provides nine essential vitamins and minerals that contribute to good health: thiamin (vitamin B1), niacin (vitamin B3), pantothenic acid (vitamin B5), vitamin B6, vitamin B12, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, and zinc.

  • Immunity Support: Vitamin B12, vitamin B6, zinc, selenium and iron help the immune system work normally. The immune system protects against infections.
  • Tiredness and fatigue: Vitamin B12, vitamin B6, niacin , and pantothenic acid help to reduce tiredness and fatigue
  • Energy production: Vitamin B12, vitamin B6, niacin , thiamin , phosphorus, pantothenic acid (vitamin B5) help with energy production
  • Bone health: Protein, Zinc and phosphorus contribute to the maintenance of normal bones
  • Mood and cognitive health: Zinc contributes to normal cognitive function
  • Blood pressure – potassium supports normal blood pressure
  • Muscle health : protein contributes to the maintenance and growth in muscle mass
  • Skin, hair and nails: Niacin (vitamin B3), riboflavin (vitamin B2) and zinc help maintain normal skin. Zinc and selenium help maintain normal hair and nails.

A balanced diet and healthy lifestyle are recommended for good health

Discover more about pork’s health benefits

Pork is versatile and easily adapts to different cuisines and tastes – so whether you’re cooking a Chinese stir-fry , a Thai curry, sizzling fajitas or a traditional Sunday roast, there is a lean pork cut which is destined for your dinner table. Pork works amazingly well with a range of different fruits, from the traditional apple, to the more exotic pineapple… it’s an easy way to boost your fruit intake to count towards your 5-a-day. For some tasty recipe inspiration visit our healthy pork recipe collection.