Pork is the most popular type of meat in the world. Because it is full of proteins, vitamins and minerals, it can be an excellent option for those who want to follow a healthy diet.
Like all meat, pork is composed mainly of proteins and contains all nine essential amino acids needed for your body to grow and maintain. Thus, it is one of the most complete dietary sources of proteins that exist.
This protein will help you build strong bones, muscles, cartilage and skin. Your body also uses protein to build and repair tissues, as well as produce enzymes, hormones and other chemicals.
A kilo of pork, citing the example of the loin, produces 226 grams of protein, which your body will use to supply and repair.
It is important to keep in mind that inadequate protein consumption will make your feeling of hunger between meals greater. Therefore, without consuming a good amount of protein daily, you will have a greater chance of eating all the time and getting overweight or even obese, especially if your health choices involve the consumption of refined carbohydrates and excess carbohydrates in the diet.
Once the protein issue is overcome and its importance, it is necessary to mention that pork contains varying amounts of fat, depending on the cut, but before any concern arises, you need to know that animal fats are healthy for you.
One of the best attitudes in terms of what nutrition you can take is to exclude vegetable fats (oils extracted from crops such as soy, canola, corn and cotton) and include healthy animal fats in your daily diet, as these are naturally good sources of EPA and DHA , components of omega 3.
Both EPA and DHA serve as the foundation for anti-inflammatory and pro-cure compounds called resolvins and protectins, which help to prevent chronic inflammation. They also stabilize the electrical activity of cardiac cell membranes, reducing the risk of arrhythmias.
Fat is so important to every cell in the body that we can produce fat from anything, but that does not mean that these are the ideal ways to obtain fats. As far as we know, the body prefers to obtain its fat directly from the diet, so that it does not have to go through the hassle of turning other dietary ingredients into fat.
Like other types of red meat, pork is composed mainly of saturated fats and unsaturated fats - present in approximately equal amounts.
Our body needs both types of fats - saturated and unsaturated. Saturated fats are good for isolation (myelin), cushioning (abdominal fat around our organs) and storage (body fat under the skin). Unsaturated fats are good for flexibility and fluidity purposes, as in membranes and body fluids.
That is, it makes no sense to think of one type as inherently healthy and the other as inherently unhealthy.
The mistaken belief that saturated fats cause heart disease is rooted in a famous study published in 1970, called "The Seven Countries Study", in which scientist Ancel Keys said that people in countries where more animal fat was consumed had more heart disease than people in countries where less animal fat was consumed.
Not only was this study an epidemiological study and, therefore, unable to prove a causal link between any food factor and any disease, but there have been numerous studies showing that there is no connection between saturated fat and heart disease, including a study of 22 countries published by Yerushalmy and Hilleboe in 1957.
Unlike accepted vision, which has no scientific basis, saturated fats do not obstruct arteries or cause heart disease. In fact, the preferred food for the heart is saturated fat; and saturated fats decrease a substance called Lp (a), which is a very accurate marker of propensity for heart disease.
Saturated fats play many important roles in body chemistry. They strengthen the immune system and are involved in intercellular communication, which means that they protect us from cancer.
They help receptors in our cell membranes to function properly, including insulin receptors, protecting us against diabetes.
The lungs cannot function without saturated fats, which is why children who receive butter and fat milk suffer less often from asthma than children who receive low-fat milk and margarine. Saturated fats are also involved in kidney function and hormone production.
Saturated fats are necessary for the nervous system to function properly and more than half of the fat in the brain is saturated.
Saturated fats also help to suppress inflammation. Finally, saturated animal fats carry vital fat-soluble vitamins A, D and K2, which we need in large quantities to be healthy.
Humans have been consuming saturated fats from animal products for thousands of years; and it was mainly the advent of modern processed vegetable oil that caused the epidemic of modern degenerative diseases - not the consumption of saturated fats.
Advancing the analysis of pork, we know that it is one of the best sources of B vitamins on the planet. This group of vitamins is vital for the health of the human body for several reasons.
B vitamins create red blood cells, maintain healthy cognitive function, prevent cognitive decline, synthesize fatty acids, regulate the central nervous system and produce energy from the food we eat, regulating our metabolism.
Meat in general is a great source of B vitamins and pork in particular is a rich source of many vitamins and minerals, including:
1) Thiamine. Unlike other types of red meat, such as beef and lamb, pork is particularly rich in thiamine - one of the B vitamins that plays an essential role in various bodily functions. Without this key vitamin, the metabolism of carbohydrates, proteins and fats would be significantly compromised. Animal protein is one of the best sources of this nutrient and, among the options, pork is the main one.
2) Selenium. The best sources of this essential mineral are foods of animal origin, such as meat, seafood, eggs and dairy products. Selenium is one of the minerals found in pork and is extremely important for your body. Pork contains a significant amount of this mineral, crucial to maintaining proper thyroid function.
Selenium acts as a micronutrient that protects the body from premature aging. Therefore, its consumption also contributes to long-term benefits, such as a more active elderly person.
3) Zinc. An important mineral, abundant in pork, zinc is essential for a healthy brain and immune system. A component of more than 70 enzymes, zinc is a key player in energy metabolism and the immune system.
4) Vitamin B12. Exclusively found in foods of animal origin, vitamin B12 is important for blood formation and brain function. Deficiency of this vitamin can cause anemia and damage to neurons. It also helps to build red blood cells and metabolize carbohydrates and fats.
5) Vitamin B6. It is essential for the formation of red blood cells and important for the normal functioning of enzymes and coenzymes, necessary to metabolize proteins, carbohydrates and fats. In addition, it plays a critical role in regulating glycogen metabolism.
6) Niacin. One of the B vitamins, niacin - or vitamin B3 - serves a variety of functions in your body and is important for growth and metabolism. It is also essential for the normal functioning of many enzymes in the body and is involved in the metabolism of sugars and fatty acids.
7) Glycine. Pork contains a significant amount of glycine. In pork, glycine is found mainly in the skin. Pig skin basically contains 11,919 mg of glycine for every 100 grams of meat. In addition to pig skin, glycine can also be found in the belly. Although glycine is not essential to the human body, it offers many health benefits.
8) Phosphorus. Abundant and common in most foods, phosphorus is generally a major component of people's diets. It is essential for the growth and maintenance of the body.
9) Iron. Pork contains less iron than lamb or meat. However, the absorption of iron from meat (iron-heme) in the digestive tract is very efficient and pork can be considered an excellent source of iron.
10) Magnesium. Important for the normal functioning of many enzymes (catalysts of the body's chemical reactors), glucose and muscle action.
11) Potassium. This mineral, also known as electrolyte, plays an important role in balancing water and helps maintain normal blood pressure.
12) Riboflavin. There are few foods with as much riboflavin per serving as pork. Riboflavin plays an important role in releasing energy from food.
Pork contains good amounts of many other vitamins and minerals, being an excellent source of thiamine, zinc, vitamin B12, vitamin B6, niacin, phosphorus and iron.
Getting enough iron is a problem for some women, especially women of childbearing age. Heme iron (found in meat) is absorbed more easily than non-heme iron (found in plant-based foods). Thus, those who avoid meat without the help of a health professional can increase the risk of iron deficiency anemia.
Still, foods of animal origin contain several bioactive substances - in addition to vitamins and minerals - that can positively affect health:
1) Creatine. Abundant in the flesh, it works as a source of energy for the muscles. It is essential to improve muscle growth and maintenance.
2) Taurine. Found in fish and meat, taurine is an antioxidant amino acid formed by the body. Dietary intake of taurine can be beneficial for cardiac and muscle function.
3) Glutathione. This is an antioxidant, present in large quantities in meat, but also produced by your body.
4) Cholesterol. A sterol found in meat and other animal-derived foods, such as dairy products and eggs.
5) Collagen. Fatty cuts of pork have very high levels of preformed collagen. Not only are the best cuts of pork to eat, but collagen helps to strengthen hair, skin and joints. Essentially, collagen gives strength and resistance to the body's connective tissue and still provides structure for many other parts of the body, including teeth and blood vessels.
With an extraordinary nutritional content, it remains only to reinforce the health benefits of consuming pork:
It is useful for maintaining muscle mass. Like most animal foods, pork is an excellent source of high quality protein. With age, maintaining muscle mass is an important health consideration.
Without exercise and proper diet, muscle mass naturally degenerates as you age - an adverse change that is associated with many age-related health problems.
In the most severe cases, loss of muscle mass leads to a condition called sarcopenia, characterized by very low levels of muscle mass and decreased quality of life, and is more common among older adults.
Inadequate intake of high quality proteins can accelerate age-related muscle degeneration, increasing the risk of sarcopenia.
Eating pork, and / or other protein-rich foods, is an excellent way to ensure sufficient food intake of high quality proteins that can help preserve muscle mass.
All animals must eat proteins regularly to survive, because we cannot produce proteins from fats, carbohydrates or cholesterol. Proteins form enzymes, muscles, hormones and other vital components of the body.
Meat consumption is not only beneficial for maintaining muscle mass, but it can also improve muscle function and physical performance.
Swine meat is also very important in child development, since vitamins A and B, selenium, zinc and iron are crucial in child development in several areas: cognitive, psychomotor, structural and even the immune system.
Although some religions prohibit the consumption of pork, most people still avoid it because they believe that pork is bad for their health, which is totally wrong. Eating pork is not bad for your health, on the contrary, it does very well, being an accessible source of protein of high biological value and very tasty.
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