There are some myths surrounding ham and its inclusion in our regular diet. Often, it is perceived as a product you should avoid consuming if you're following a healthy diet. Or it's simply seen as a treat you can only indulge in on special occasions.
However, this is not the case. In this post, we're going to debunk the false myths that Iberian ham makes you gain weight and we'll tell you about the benefits of this food so that you don't have to give it up as part of your healthy and balanced diet.
The Properties of Iberian Ham
Iberian ham can provide healthy fats and proteins to our dishes as it is a protein-rich food itself. An essential macronutrient for our bone structure. Additionally, it provides us with micronutrients like B-group vitamins, minerals like iron or zinc, all of which are necessary for our bodies.
- In this regard, we recommend our post on: Nutritional Properties of Ham.
Does the Fat in Iberian Ham Make You Gain Weight?
In general, there is a fear of fats, considering them responsible for all our health problems and/or weight gain. However, our body needs healthy fats to function properly, especially a woman's body, which has metabolic functions where fat is necessary for everything to function correctly.
It's true that not all fat is the same. In the case of ham, the fat we should fully appreciate is infiltrated fat, the one you see within the slices. This fat, aside from adding an exquisite flavor and texture, forms the healthy fat of the ham and provides numerous health benefits and contributes to strengthening our immune system.
On the contrary, we shouldn't overindulge in external fat, the one that only serves a protective and ham-preserving function. This fat is what wraps around the ham and needs to be removed when slicing it, leaving a very thin edge at most. This fat shouldn't overshadow the flavor of the infiltrated fat in the ham and excess of it could hinder consumption as it's harder to chew.
In conclusion, Iberian ham is a gourmet product and a marvel of Spanish gastronomy, and despite what many believe, this type of ham, coming from Iberian breed pigs, contains healthy fats and is rich in vitamins and proteins.
Although it contains marbling of internal fat in each slice, it doesn't mean this product provides excessive or unhealthy fats, known as saturated fats. On the contrary, it's a product that provides healthy fats, known as unsaturated fats, as they're infiltrated into the muscle.
- If you want to learn more about whether the fat in Iberian ham makes you gain weight, we recommend the post on: Is the Fat in Iberian Ham Bad?
Internal Fat of Ham
How to Include Iberian Ham in a Healthy Diet
The foundation of a healthy diet should focus on consuming real and quality foods, which provide us with macronutrients like carbohydrates, proteins, or healthy fats, and micronutrients like vitamins and minerals.
If we consider our body's need to include protein from plant or animal sources in all meals, it's obvious that Iberian ham can be a protein option, of animal origin, for our daily meals. Additionally, acorn-fed ham contains oleic acid, the same one found in olive oil. This type of unsaturated fat has a positive impact on our bodies, reducing risk factors like cholesterol and helping the immune system strengthen its defenses.
- Learn more about this in: “The Role of Iberian Ham in Your Heart-Healthy Diet.”
Healthy Recipes with Iberian Ham
Iberian ham is part of our Mediterranean diet and is one of the most typical and traditional foods in Spanish gastronomy. It can be used to create endless tasty, delicious, and of course, healthy recipes.
There are thousands of ideas to inspire you to include this intensely flavored and exquisite product in your diet: ham sandwich for breakfast or as a snack, green asparagus with ham, scrambled eggs with potatoes and ham... It's also the perfect seasoning for salads, soups, and many other dishes.
Here are some specific suggestions. Add your personal touch and you're ready to go!
Creams with Ham
Creams are a safe bet for any meal or dinner, as a main course or as a side dish. They usually have a base of vegetables, and to make them more complete, we recommend adding protein-rich and healthy fat-rich foods like Iberian ham.
Salmorejo with Ham
Salads with Ham
What we love most about salads is that you can use the ingredients you prefer, combining foods of plant and animal origin that provide protein, healthy fats, and energy. The key is to make the ingredient mix delicious and healthy at the same time. With that, success is guaranteed.
- Here are some examples:
Pasta or Legumes with Ham
Legumes or pasta with ham is a classic combination and the result is usually delicious. Add vegetables like tomatoes, green peppers, red peppers, or carrots to the dish, and their nutritional properties will be perfect for a well-rounded meal.
Lentil Salad with Ham
Pasta with Peppers and Ham
Original and Healthy Recipes
Sometimes, we like to innovate and be creative in the kitchen without giving up on preparing a healthy dish. In this case, there are culinary proposals that can fit within a healthy and balanced diet while offering some originality, such as tomato, Iberian ham, and parmesan carpaccio, ham tartare, or Iberian ham and avocado uramaki sushi rolls.
Iberian Ham Tartare
Iberian Ham and Avocado Uramaki Sushi Rolls
Tomato, Iberian Ham, and Parmesan Carpaccio
Iberian ham is a gourmet delight that has a place in a healthy and balanced diet. Its nutritional properties, which include healthy fats, proteins, and various vitamins and minerals, make it a valuable addition to our meals. While it's important to be mindful of portion sizes and to choose high-quality products, enjoying Iberian ham in moderation can be a flavorful and nutritious part of your culinary repertoire.
So, feel free to explore the world of Iberian ham and try out the various recipes mentioned in this post. From salads to soups to creative dishes, there's no shortage of ways to savor this exquisite Spanish delicacy while prioritizing your health and well-being.
Remember, the key to a healthy diet is variety, balance, and enjoyment.