A recent study published by the National Association of Meat Industries of Spain (ANICE) revealed, for the first time, that consuming Iberian ham (Jamón Ibérico) improves cardiovascular health.
Yes, the famous "ham of black leg", formally named "Iberian Ham" (referring to its origin), stands out for the first time not only for its culinary and nutritional value, but for its benefits to people’s health.
Iberian ham provides essential amino acids, group B vitamins, and vitamin E. It is rich in minerals like iron, phosphorus, potassium, magnesium and zinc, all of which highlight its high content of unsaturated fatty acids (oleic acid). In addition, it acts as a powerful antioxidant because of its high polyphenol content. Because if this, Iberian ham’s benefits have been compared to olive oil—and that’s saying a lot!
Until now, discussing the high content of polyphenols and oleic acid of Iberian ham was mere speculation, but after this study, it was proven, according to Dr. Sabán, director of the Endothelium and Cardiometabolic Medicine Unit of the Ramón Hospital and Cajal of Madrid.
The study certifies that Iberian ham can be introduced into the diet without weight gain or increased triglyceride levels, and its positive effects last up to six weeks after stopping consumption. With this, Dr. Sabán also revealed that the body has "good memory" when it comes to the consumption of ham. Therefore, including Iberian Ham in the diet in a regular and controlled manner protects and/or improves your health.
"The consumption of Iberian ham is part of our culture, we have always known it is healthy, but now we are more than happy to be able to certify it with this study and share it with the world," comments Santiago Martín, president of Fermín Ibérico, the first brand to sell Iberian ham in the US.
The study analyzed Iberian Bellota Ham, which consumers recognize by its black label (a pig of 100% Iberian race that consumed Bellota) and an Iberian ham that is in white or green packaging (a pig of 50% Iberian race that consumed grass and/or cereals).
In both cases, after consuming a regular-sized serving of Iberian ham and Acorn-fed Iberian ham in a healthy population, the following conclusions were reached:
- Weight is not gained, and abdominal waist and body fat are reduced slightly.
- The lipid profile (LDL, HDL and triglycerides) is not altered, and triglycerides are reduced by 4 points.
- Blood pressure is reduced and microcirculation improves.
- Cardiovascular risk is reduced.
So now, all we need to do is enjoy a piece of Jamón Ibérico with a glass of Cava and toast to the health of all.