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Spanish Iberiam Ham. Healthy food?

Some of the questions I receive most about the Spanish Iberian ham are :

Is the Iberian ham a  healthy food?
Is it true that ham fat does not give cholesterol? 
What is the best type of ham?

Today I will clarify all these doubts, talking about one of the jewels of Spanish cuisine. There are different variants to classify ham.

1. The breed of the animal and origin.

Iberian Pig

In Spain, there are two main pig breeds, the white pig and the Iberian pig. Today we will focus on the Iberian pig. And we will place it in one of the 4 denominations of origin: 

JamonLovers

  • D.O.PGUIJUELO (SALAMANCA)
  • D.O.P LOS PEDROCHES (CORDOBA)
  • D.O.P JABUGO (HUELVA)
  • D.O.P DEHESA DE EXTREMADURA (EXTREMADURA)

For the ham to be in the JAMON D.O.P IBERICO market, it must come strictly from one of these regions. There is a regulatory council, D.O.P(Protected Origin Denomination) (in Spanish: Denominacion de Origen Protegido), which controls the place of birth, the feeding and conditions of these animals are the correct one. I think that is the only way to get this delicious typical Spanish product: the IBERIAN HAM.

2. Environment and animal feed

Pigs live in freedom in large DEHESAS, typical land in the Mediterranean forest full of groves of HOLM OAK, CORK OAK AND GALL OAKS TREES. These trees are what provide the main food of the Iberian pig.

Holm oak, Cork oak and gall oaks trees

The final part of their diet is called LA MONTANERA, when the pig travels kilometres of pasture in search of the last fruit to eat, which would be the oak acorn, and is always in the highest part of the pasture.

We could say these pigs are true athletes with a diet based on cereals, acorns, nuts, and field herbs.

The pure Iberian breed of pigs get their flavours from their feeding, which has been entirely natural, and I mean by this, only cereals, acorns, and herbs of the Mediterranean forest. That is why it is called 100% ( acorn-fed) JAMON IBERICO DE BELLOTA( Acorn).

The way to differentiate it in the market from other Iberian hams is through a black label that the producer must put on. 

There are four colours of labels where we can read essential information about the breed and the feed of any Spanish ham in the market.

And the fact that they feed exclusively with different nuts, such as acorn, with high concentrations of oleic acid, makes this fat unsaturated, unlike hams from white pigs, which contain a high proportion of saturated fats. This translates into the fact that 100% Iberian acorn-fed ham provides cholesterol considered good by health and nutrition specialists.

Different labels

Nutritional Value

For each 100 grams
Calcium. 27,08 mg
Carbohydrates. 0,10 g
Energy. 375 Kcal
Phosphorus. 157,5 mg
Fat. 22,4 g
Iron. 3,35 mg
Magnesium. 157,5 mg
Potassium. 153 mg
Proteins. 43,2 g
Sodium. 1110 mg
Vitamin B12. 15,68 µg
Vitamin E. 11 µg

I hope I have solved your questions about this delicious typical Spanish product. Accompany it with a glass of red wine and some bread, and enjoy.

Let me share with you three exciting Websites where you can learn more about this beautiful Spanish product.

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