Contrary to popular belief, pork can be incredibly lean – as low as 4% fat. And with its high protein, vitamin and mineral content, it can play a key part in a healthy balanced diet. So before you go searching for the next big superfood, why not pick up some pork from your butcher, supermarket or farm shop instead? It’s one of the most nutritious, versatile and tasty foods you can ever put on a plate.
Due to changes in pig breeding and butchery techniques over the past 30 years the fat content of lean pork meat has reduced from 30% to just 4% on average. What’s more, around 50% of the fat it does contain is heart-healthy unsaturated fat. So eating pork meat is definitely a healthy option, especially if you’re watching your weight.
Find healthy cuts in the Prime Cuts section
Pork gets the thumbs up! It’s an excellent source of protein (21.8g per 100g on average) and essential amino acids. Protein is vital for healthy growth and healing, as well as keeping your bones strong, and a pork steak provides about half of your Guideline Daily Amount (about 45g). See infographic for more details.
Absolutely. Pork combines perfectly with staple foods such as rice, pasta, noodles, bread and potatoes. And don’t forget a big serving of fresh salad or vegetables on the side. To help with your 5-a-day pork also goes really well with fruit – for example sweet and sour pork.
As well as containing iron and being a rich source of protein, pork provides many other nutrients that are essential for good health. But it’s important to remember that no single food contains all the nutrients required – a varied and balanced diet is the key. By making the right choice of food, drinking lots of water and taking regular exercise you can help protect yourself against many conditions, including coronary heart disease, osteoporosis and certain cancers.
It certainly can – there are a variety of lean well-trimmed cuts which on average contain only 4% fat. When cooking these cuts try and stick to non-fatty cooking methods like grilling, dry frying or slow cooking.
To find lean cuts of pork go to our Prime Cuts section
While lean pork is naturally low in salt, pork products and processed meat generally contain a higher amount. There are guidelines in place for producers to cut down on the salt levels used in processed meat products but to be sure how much you are eating check the food labels for salt content. As a guide more than 1.25g of salt per 100g is considered a lot, while 0.25g per 100g is a little.
Absolutely. Pork is great for topping up your iron levels because it contains Haem iron, which is easily absorbed by the body. Pork even helps to increase your iron uptake when eaten with other foods. For example, when eating a pork steak ensure it is accompanied by lots of salad or vegetables so that your iron intake is greater than if they had been eaten separately.
Good question. The answer is both! In culinary terms it tends to look like a white meat, but in nutritional terms, it’s more like a red meat.
Pork is packed with vitamins. It’s rich in Vitamin B1 (Thiamine), important for vitality and energy levels. A 100g steak contains 90% of our daily requirement. Pork is also a great source of Vitamin B12, essential for a healthy nervous system. It is also rich in Zinc, which can boost your immune system.
To enjoy succulent, tasty pork, the general rule of thumb is to cook it until the juices from the meat run clear or using a meat thermometer the inside has reached a temperature of 72 degrees. Most steaks only need a few minutes each side. For roasting joints of pork, allow 30 minutes per lb plus 30 minutes extra.
See the cooking times for each specific cut within the Prime Cuts section.
The findings of a Defra report (published Sept 2013) about pork containing Hepatitis E are under further investigation by the Government. The Food Standards Agency (FSA) said they were aware of the increases of Hep E in people and studies which have found the virus in pigs and raw pork products. It is an emerging issue and they are taking steps to see how serious it might be and what actions may be required. The advice is that all pork and pork products are cooked until steaming hot all the way through. Using a meat thermometer to ensure that the meat reaches a temperature of 72ºC can be a useful way to check this.
The fairest way to see a Mediterranean diet is to view it as a nutrient rich diet, this actually means a diet rich in red meat as well. To suggest reducing the amount of red meat eaten is an incorrect definition of a Mediterranean diet. To understand more go the the meatandhealth.com blog by Dr Emma Derbyshire, Meat Advisory Panel.