Pork Products - Healthy Or Not?
A few years ago I visited a pig farm where they enlisted my help with the weekly task of herding the pigs from one pen to another. We used these large red boards like shields to push them along. No easy task as I found out!
Although the pigs are afraid of the color red, every now and then, a brazen hog will try charging the board. One such hog named "Lucky" seemed to recognize me as the weak link. He charged and yes, I went down. I felt at this point I had the right to announce that "Lucky may not be so lucky if he ends up in my kitchen!" and later that evening I cooked up a rather delicious meal of Baked Pork Chops with Andouille Barbecue Sauce. ;)
Pork on a Diet?
Soon I will be performing a cooking demonstration at a local Parenting Expo on healthy, family-friendly meals. Pork tenderloin with peach salsa is on the menu and the reaction I get from many is disbelief that I’m including pork and healthy in the same sentence. Apparently the National Pork Board advertising campaign from 1987 - “Pork the other White Meat” didn't get the message across! While many of us think of bacon or hotdogs when the word pork is brought up, there are actually many lean and healthy cuts of pork that are very nutritious and safe to eat!
Lean Pork Options
If you’re looking for the healthiest pork options, you want lean cuts — tenderloin, loin chops and sirloin roast. Unfortunately bacon is very high in artery-clogging saturated fat and cholesterol. Baked ham and lunch meat fall somewhere in the middle when it comes to fat and calories.
Just like with other meats, pork is safe when cooked until it reaches the proper internal temperature of 160°.
In the past consumers were warned that undercooked pork could cause a disease called trichinosis. Trichinosis was caused by pigs who had been fed raw scraps of meats and ended up with the trichina worm. Today in the US it is illegal to feed livestock raw meat and it has virtually been eliminated so you can go ahead and eat it slightly pink!
Lean cuts of pork are high in protein, low in fat and have more B-vitamins (thiamin, niacin, B6 and B12) than many other types of meat.
These vitamins play a role in a variety of body functions, including metabolism and energy production (that’s why we had it on our “energizing foods” list). For some perspective, let’s compare 3 ounces of cooked pork tenderloin to the same amount of cooked chicken breast — as you’ll see, they aren’t all that different:
Pork Tenderloin, Lean Only, Roasted (3 oz)
Chicken Breast Meat, Roasted (4 oz)
Calories from Fat
- Iron 6%
- Thiamin 45%
- Niacin 30%
- B6 27%
- B12 6%
Pork also contains healthy doses of zinc and selenium.
- Iron 5%
- Thiamin 4%
- Niacin 59%
- B6 26%
- B12 5%
Chicken is also a good source of selenium.
I’ll admit it. I’ve cooked pork with a reckless abandon! Every now and then I go for the higher fat cuts like bacon and sausage. It’s just too good not to. Like the old saying goes, “everything in moderation.”
If you are looking for the healthy pork recipe click here:
If would like to view a video of me cooking Baked Pork Chops with Andouille Barbecue Sauce click here:
If you would like to view a video of me getting run down by a pig click here: