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ARC research: Pork a healthy alternative

The latest research reveals great news about South African pork. A significant study done at the Agricultural Research Council on behalf of SAPPO in 2008 revealed great benefits associated with pork. It’s lower in fat than was thought before.If compared with published data, it’s often lower in fat than pork from many other countries. Today’s pork produced in South Africa are scientifically bred to be leaner, providing a lower fat content than was previously believed.
Pork provides a healthy bonus
Pork is a nutrient-dense food. It naturally contains many essential nutrients such as protein, vitamins and minerals, without supplying too much fat and energy. As part of a balanced eating plan, pork can safely be eaten on a daily basis. However, moderation is the key. Therefore, 560g per week, divided into five or six portions, is recommended.
High quality protein
The protein provided by pork contains all the essential amino acids. This makes it a complete protein in a highly digestible form. It is therefore easy for our bodies to use it for cell renewal, growth, healing and the maintenance of all body tissues. It plays a key role in the immune system.
People wanting to lose weight, or on weight management programs, will benefit from adding lean pork to their menu lists, as it provides wonderful taste and variety to an eating plan.
Vital vitamins
The group of B-vitamins is frequently called the “stress busters”, as they help build sound nervous systems (helping us cope with stress) as well as strong immune systems. Pork is an excellent source of Thiamin (vit B1). Thiamin is involved in the energy-releasing process from carbohydrates in the body.
Thiamin also plays an important role in the breakdown of protein and fat from the diet. Pork is also a good source of Niacin (vit B3), involved in the chemical breakdown of sugar and fatty acids. It provides energy in the body.
Mineral wealth
The body needs small but vital amounts of minerals in order to sustain general health. Pork is a reliable source, in a highly absorbable format, of the following minerals:

  • Iron

The iron in pork comes in an excellent form of bio-available iron which is much more readily available to our bodies than iron obtained from plant based sources. Pork contains heme-iron, which is more easily absorbed than non-heme iron (found in plant foods). The iron found in meat actually helps the body to absorb non-heme iron more efficiently.
Iron carries oxygen from the lungs to the brain and muscles in the body. It helps to build and maintain a healthy immune system, which helps our bodies to fight infections.

  • Zinc

Zinc is important for optimal functioning of the immune system, wound healing, as well as healthy hair and skin.

  • Magnesium

Magnesium is important to combat osteoporosis, heart diseases and diabetes. It is also needed for the normal function of many enzymes in the body, as it acts as a catalyst for chemical reactors such as glucose and muscle action.

  • Calcium, potassium, phosphorus and sodium

These important minerals, found in pork, help to protect our bones and organs and keeps us strong and healthy.
Despite everything being said about reducing the consumption of fat, it will always be an important part of a balanced diet. It provides energy to the body and protects the vital organs such as the kidneys.
It contributes essential fatty acids as well as the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K. Pork contributes high amounts of polyunsaturated fatty acids (the good guys. Pork contains low amounts of cholesterol and saturated fatty acids (the bad guys) when compared with other meats.
People who are concerned about blood pressure, diabetes or heart health, can safely include 560g of lean pork (divided into several portions) on their eating plan.
A fairly thin layer of fat (up to 3mm) will provide great taste and juiciness to any pork cut, and can be enjoyed in moderate amounts.
To ensure you use the cuts approved by the Heart and Stroke Foundation, look out for the following cuts in the meat cabinet of your favourite butchery or supermarket.
Remember, if you don’t see it —ask for it!

  • Pork loin, rib, neck or chump chops
  • Roasts made from the leg or shoulder of pork with a fat layer of 3mm or less
  • Pork shanks (delicious for potjiekos, curries and stews)
  • Pork fillets (these have no fat)
  • Stir fry pork strips with no visible fat
  • Pork loin steaks. An elegant cut, low fat and easy to cook.
  • Pork goulash or cubes of pork, without visible fat. These are especially good for making your own kebabs.
  • Pork mince with a very low fat content.

Heart and Stroke Foundation approved
The pork industry is proud to be a Heart Mark holder, and has supported the work of the Heart and Stroke Foundation for many decades.
Several pork cuts with a thin fat layer of 3mm on the outside or less, have the approval of the Heart and Stroke Foundation, providing it’s part of a healthy eating plan.
Know your facts
Today’s educated consumers stay up to date with the latest news about fresh pork and good nutrition.
Fresh pork in South Africa is a modern, nutritious and 100% safe meal choice. Quality assurance systems from the farm to your fork provide a guarantee of excellence and food safety.
Pork is the world’s number one choice. In most countries with a well developed pork production industry, pork is the most frequently enjoyed meat on the menu.
Pork is a white meat with very little fat inside the lean muscle fibers.
It’s easy to trim pork to your preference. Where there is fat on a pork cut, all the fat sits on the outside, making it easy to remove or trim to a thin layer.
In this regard it is similar to chicken, where most of the fat is contained in the skin of the chicken.

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