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PDO Teruel Ham: A food for all ages

A while ago, we published a post on the benefits of eating ham. Without any intention of repeating ourselves, today we’d like to put particular emphasis on the characteristics of a unique ham such as the PDO Teruel Ham, and on its benefits throughout our lives.

Although there are no substantial differences (in terms of nutritional value) with other hams from white pigs, there are nuances that make it, if possible, healthier than an average Serrano or cured Ham. Its characteristics and the Control Board’s minimum requirements mean that this product’s raw material is selected much more strictly than other hams. Guaranteeing the origin of the pigs (born, raised and slaughtered in the province of Teruel), their genetic composition (cross of the Duroc and Landrace or Large White races) and their feed (based on local cereals to a great extent), the meat used to make Teruel Ham has a very healthy fat and protein profile. The fat parameters and the quantity of salt allowed when making it help make a product with less sodium content on average than other white hams.

One study carried out at the University of Zaragoza Veterinary School, by the Department of Animal Production and Food Science, working with the Aragón Agro-food Research and Technology Centre (CITA) on the nutritional values of PDO Teruel Ham, concludes that it makes a series of highly relevant contributions to a healthy, balanced diet.
On the one hand, it has moderate fat content (around 10 g for every 100 g of product). In addition, its fatty acid profile is very healthy, and it fits in perfectly with the Mediterranean Diet concept. It has around 53% monounsaturated fatty acids; 37% saturated fats; 8% polyunsaturated and around 2% cholesterol.
It also has a large quantity of proteins with high biological value (more than 33 g for every 100 g of product) as well as a significant iron provision with very high bioavailability.
PDO Teruel Ham: also provides minerals such as zinc, phosphorous and group B vitamins.
On the other hand, it provides moderate calorie (originating from the protein, not carbohydrates) and sodium content.
All these characteristics make our star turn a food that we can eat perfectly well as we grow up, according to the paper written by the endocrinologist Luis Ciprés Casasnovas on Teruel Ham.

In childhood

Not only is this a fundamental stage in terms of acquiring healthy eating habits, but it is also a doubtlessly very important period where Teruel Ham can become an excellent ally. Its high content in proteins, minerals and vitamins, and its good provision of lipids, make it a good all-round food for our children’s sandwiches. Although we should always keep in mind that their recommended daily intake of nutrients is lower than for other age groups. For example, 100 g of ham provides more protein that required in one day during the first five years of our lives and up to 73% of the recommended intake between 6 and 12 years old. Consequently, as with other healthy foods, it should appear in our kids’ diets in moderate amounts.

In adolescence

A balanced diet is essential in this transition phase into maturity as many physiological changes take place. Teruel Ham can provide part of the enormous quantity of energy required and help keep obesity at bay, a topic that can lead to many eating disorders at this developmental phase. What’s more, this food is rich in zinc, an essential oligoelement that offers many advantages for our body. One of these benefits is extremely important at this age, because zinc has a positive effect on memory and attention span according to a study carried out by the United States Agricultural Research Service. On the other hand, the presence of heme-iron (easier to absorb) encourages bone formation and growth, which carries on until around the age of 20.

In adulthood

Always with a balanced, healthy diet, the lipidic profile of Teruel Ham, with a majority of monounsaturated fats such as oleic acid (also found in olive oil) is the perfect cardiovascular protection for adults. If we add to that a moderate calorie and salt provision, along with the protein content (100g contains between 60 and 70% of the recommended daily intake between 13 and 60 years old), minerals and vitamins, we really can’t leave this gastro-gem out of our diet.

In old age

A large quantity of proteins with high biological value, easy to digest, plus mineral and vitamin supplements, all give a helping hand in times of illness. What’s more, its high iron content helps prevent loss of bone mass. Its consumption should only be moderated in cases of high blood pressure due to salt content.

Pregnancy and breast-feeding

This is a tricky area, at least during pregnancy. Although it is true that this is a period when there is a greater need for extra proteins, minerals and vitamins, it has always been recommended not to eat uncooked meat products during pregnancy to avoid toxoplasmosis. In the case of cured ham, the usual advice was to freeze the product before eating it to remove the parasite (toxoplasma gondii). Recent studies at the Hospital San Juan de Dios, working with the University of Córdoba and the PDO Los Pedroches, endorse eating ham during pregnancy if the ham has been cured for a long period (over 18 months) but this topic should be dealt with in a separate post.
In summary, we can say that PDO Teruel Ham is the perfect lifetime companion in every sense. A healthy, balanced diet should include this great product with guaranteed quality.

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