Pork contains several nutrients essential for health. It contains high quality protein. It is also rich in zinc, selenium and group B vitamins, especially vitamin B1 (thiamine) whose levels surpass those of other meats. Its fat content varies depending on the cut, but generally pork is considered lean meat.
Active ingredients and properties
Cardiovascular diseases . Meat is a major source of the fat that we consume, especially saturated fatty acids, which are implicated in many chronic diseases associated with modern life. However, the link between the consumption of saturated fat and cardiovascular risk has not yet been fully elucidated and has been the subject of controversy for several years. Indeed, these wouldn’t be as bad as it has long been said, as current data does not support cardiovascular health recommendations that promote low total intake of saturated fat. In the United States and Canada, recommendations for cardiovascular health advise reducing the consumption of total fat, especially saturated fat 1 , 2. Saturated fatty acids are associated with an increase in blood levels of LDL cholesterol , commonly referred to as “bad cholesterol” 3 . People with high levels of LDL cholesterol in the blood have an increased risk of developing cardiovascular disease 4 . A recent review study, in which were listed the results of about fifty studies, showed that the consumption of lean red meat devoid of visible fat did not increase blood cholesterol and LDL cholesterol levels 5 . In addition, lean red meat, consumed within a diet low in saturated fat, may even help lower blood cholesterol 6 and, thus, the risk of cardiovascular disease.
The monounsaturated fatty acids and polyunsaturated fats are in turn associated with a decrease in plasma LDL-cholesterol concentrations when substituted for saturated fat in the diet, which reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease 3 , 7 . It is recommended to have a high “polyunsaturated fatty acid to saturated fatty acid” ratio in order to promote the reduction in LDL-cholesterol concentrations 4 .
In pigs, intramuscular lipids represent a higher ratio of “polyunsaturated fatty acids to saturated fatty acids” than in ruminants (beef and sheep), due in particular to the relatively high contents of essential fatty acids including linoleic acid and alpha-linolenic acid (omega-3). These elements give this meat interesting nutritional qualities 8 . Compared to chicken, pork contains less polyunsaturated fat, but a higher proportion of oleic acid, a monounsaturated fat. The fatty acid profile of pork is therefore between the profile of beef and that of chicken 8 .
Pork is a monogastric animal , which makes it possible to nutritionally modify the fatty acid composition of meat in order to meet the demand of consumers and nutritionists who seek a lipid profile offering health benefits 8 . In this regard, researchers have shown that the consumption of pork with a high content of polyunsaturated fatty acids (obtained by modifying the animal’s diet) reduced blood LDL cholesterol levels in women, compared to the consumption of pork with standard polyunsaturated fat content 9 .
Cancer . Consumption of red meat and processed meat has been associated with increased risk of colorectal cancer in several epidemiological studies 10-13. In 2015, a task force of 22 experts commissioned by the International Agency for Research on Cancer reviewed the scientific literature regarding the consumption of red and processed meat, and the risk of cancer. According to current scientific literature, red meat, which includes pork and wild boar, is probably carcinogenic. This association has mainly been observed for colorectal cancer, but also that of the prostate and pancreas. In addition, processed meat from pork such as ham or sausages has been classified as carcinogenic. In fact, each 50 gram serving of processed meat consumed daily increases the risk of colorectal cancer by 18% over 10 years. However, some researchers have not observed such negative associations 14-16. An epidemiological study carried out in Montreal in 2005 showed no significant association between the consumption of a diet composed of pork and processed meats and the risk of breast and colon cancer in a population of French Canadian women 17 . A diet consisting of pork, processed meat and potatoes is also not associated with the risk of developing breast cancer 17 . However, the results of a recent study show that the consumption of processed meat is associated with an increased risk of colon cancer 12. Processed meat contains preservatives such as salt, smoke, nitrites and nitrates. High consumption of this type of meat can increase exposure to nitrosamines and their precursors 8 , compounds that are potentially damaging to health.
|Are pork and wild boar antioxidants?||Data not available|
|Are pork and wild boar acidifying?||Moderately , lean pork has a PRAL of 7.9.|
|Do pork and wild boar have a high glycemic load?||There is no glycemic load for meats.|
Most important nutrients
See the meaning of the nutrient source classification symbols
Phosphorus . Pork is an excellent source of phosphorus (see our Phosphorus Nutrient List ), while wild boar is a good source . Phosphorus is the body’s second most abundant mineral after calcium. It plays a vital role in building and maintaining healthy bones and teeth. In addition, it participates among other things in the growth and regeneration of tissues and helps maintain normal blood pH . It is one of the constituents of cell membranes.
Zinc . Ground pork and wild boar are excellent sources of zinc. Pork tenderloin and pork chop are excellent sources of zinc for women , but only good sources for men as their needs are different. Zinc participates in particular in immune reactions, in the production of genetic material, in the perception of taste, in the healing of wounds and in the development of the fetus. Zinc also interacts with sex and thyroid hormones. It participates in the synthesis (manufacture), storage and release of insulin in the pancreas.
Selenium . Pork is an excellent source of selenium, while wild boar is a good source . This mineral works with one of the main antioxidant enzymes , thus preventing the formation of free radicals in the body. It also helps convert thyroid hormones to their active form.
Vitamin B1 . Pork and wild boar are excellent sources of vitamin B1. Also called thiamine, vitamin B1 is part of a coenzyme necessary for the production of energy, mainly from the carbohydrates that we ingest. It also participates in the transmission of nerve impulses and promotes normal growth.
Vitamin B2 . Pork tenderloin is an excellent source of vitamin B2. Ground pork is a good source of vitamin B2, while wild boar is a source . Pork chops are a good source of vitamin B2 for women , but only a source for men . Vitamin B2 is also known as riboflavin. Like vitamin B1, it plays a role in the energy metabolism of all cells. In addition, it contributes to the growth and repair of tissues, the production of hormones and the formation of red blood cells.
Vitamin B3 . Pork and wild boar are excellent sources of vitamin B3. Also called niacin, vitamin B3 is involved in many metabolic reactions and particularly contributes to the production of energy from the carbohydrates, fats, proteins and alcohol that we ingest. It also participates in the process of DNA formation , allowing normal growth and development.
Vitamin B6 . Pork and wild boar are excellent sources of vitamin B6. Vitamin B6, also called pyridoxine, is part of coenzymes involved in the metabolism of proteins and fatty acids as well as in the synthesis (manufacture) of neurotransmitters (messengers in nerve impulses). It also helps make red blood cells and allows them to carry more oxygen. Pyridoxine is also necessary for the transformation of glycogen into glucose and it contributes to the proper functioning of the immune system. Finally, this vitamin plays a role in the formation of certain components of nerve cells and in the modulation of hormone receptors.
Vitamin B12 . Pork chops and wild boar are excellent sources of vitamin B12. Pork tenderloin and ground pork are good sources of vitamin B12. This vitamin works together with folic acid (vitamin B9) to make red blood cells in the blood. It also works to maintain nerve cells and cells that make bone tissue.
Iron . Pork tenderloin and ground pork are good sources of iron for men , but only sources for women , as their respective needs for this mineral are different. Wild boar is a source of iron, while pork chop is a source of iron for humans only. This mineral is essential for the transport of oxygen and the formation of red blood cells in the blood. It also plays a role in the manufacture of new cells, hormones and neurotransmitters (messengers in nerve impulses). Heme iron (of animal origin) from meat is much better absorbed than non-heme iron from plants.
Pantothenic acid . Pork chop is a good source of pantothenic acid, while pork tenderloin and ground pork are sources . Also known as vitamin B5, pantothenic acid is part of a key coenzyme that allows us to adequately utilize the energy found in the foods we eat. It also participates in several stages of the synthesis (manufacture) of steroid hormones, neurotransmitters and hemoglobin.
|What is a “portion” of pork worth?|
|Weight / volume||Pork loin tenderloin, lean, roasted, 100 g (about 3 oz)||Ground pork, cooked, 100 g (about 3 oz)||Wild boar, roasted, 100 g (about 3 oz)|
|Protein||30.4 g||25.7 g||28.3 g|
|Carbohydrates||0.0 g||0.0 g||0.0 g|
|Lipids||3.6 g||20.8 g||4.4 g|
|-saturated||1.2 g||7.7 g||1.3 g|
|-monounsaturated||1.4 g||9.3 g||1.7 g|
|-polyunsaturated||0.3 g||1.9 g||0.6 g|
|Cholesterol||68 mg||94 mg||77 mg|
|Dietary fiber||0.0 g||0.0 g||0.0 g|
Source : Health Canada. Canadian Nutrient File , 2005.
|Pork: fatty meat?
Pork is often viewed as fatty meat by consumers due to the confusion between the overall fatness of the carcass and the fat content of the lean fraction of the meat. The fat in pork is found mainly in the periphery. The pieces can therefore be easily degreased before or after cooking.
The fat content varies depending on the cuts of pork. Usually, the larger muscles in pigs are low in fat. For comparison, pork tenderloin contains about 3.5% fat; roast pork loin, about 7%; and bacon, up to 45%. Pork is a meat richer in polyunsaturated fatty acids than in saturated fatty acids compared to beef. About 50% of the lipids in pork are monounsaturated fatty acids.
Pork, considered unclean meat in some religions, has always been a carrier of parasites and for a long time vector of Taenia solium ( tapeworm ). Today, pig breeding and hygiene are tightly controlled and Taenia solium and other parasites have been eradicated in industrialized countries. It is therefore no longer necessary to cook the pork properly. It can be eaten slightly pink. Minced meat must be well cooked, however.
Pork and wild boar over time
|The term ” porc “, which appeared in the French language in 1080, derives from the Latin porcus .
The term ” pig ” appeared in 1091 and originally referred to the young pig. It is believed to derive from a cry that was once used to call pigs.
The term ” boar “, which appeared around 1160, comes from the Latin expression singularis porcus , meaning “lone pig”.
Have humans domesticated the pig or has the pig on the contrary chosen to put itself under their control, in exchange for their edible waste and some protection against predatory predators? This is the question that historians seriously ask themselves, given the long-standing connection this animal has established with humanity.
Either way, this domestication would have occurred about 10,000 years ago somewhere in the East: perhaps in Turkey or Southeast Asia, or even in several places at once. Although there are about ten species of pigs and wild boars ( Sus ), the majority of breeding breeds come from the species Sus scrofa domesticus , which descends in direct line from the Eurasian wild boar Sus scrofa , the same that innovative producers have recently been breeding in Quebec, on the fringes of large pig farms.
From his second trip to the New World, in 1493, Christopher Columbus introduced the pig there, which then spread north and south where it quickly multiplied, living in a semi-wild state and feeding, according to the regions, acorns, chestnuts, legumes, wild fruits and berries, roots and mushrooms that the forests produced in abundance. We were content to gather the animals at the beginning of winter to slaughter them and then distribute the meat and offal.
Pigs have long been raised in cities where they roamed freely in search of food consisting mainly of all kinds of waste left by city dwellers who did not yet have a garbage collection system. This was particularly the case in New York until the middle of the XIX th century.
With the decline of forests and population expansion, animal husbandry in enclosures and, more recently, in closed buildings, has become widespread. The family farm is gradually giving way to industrial breeding, which has led in recent years to a marked increase in the number of animals per farm and, consequently, the need to keep them locked up in order to make the various operations linked to their profitable operation. interview.
China is the largest producer of pork in the world, and in this country the consumption of its meat exceeds that of all other farm animals combined. Europe, North America, Brazil and the Pacific Islands also have many farms. On the other hand, there are few in India and in Muslim countries, where pork meat is taboo, as well as in Africa, where swine fever is endemic. In addition to meat and offal, bacon (including lard, which consists of clarified bacon), rind and blood (for blood sausage) are used in cooking and in the food industry.
The pork meat should be pinkish white, without a strong odor. The fat should be firm and white.
Offal, rind, head, tail and legs are not always easily found. In this case, order them from your butcher.
Note . Most cold cuts are treated with nitrites, substances intended to ensure their preservation, but which are suspected of turning into carcinogenic products in the body. This is why some people prefer to limit the consumption of these foods which, anyway, are often very fatty and very salty. As for “smoked” ham, it is generally treated with liquid smoke and rarely passes through the smokehouse. To be sure, check with the butcher.
Wild boar meat can be found in a few butcher shops or directly on the farm, at the breeder. The cuts are the same as the pork. The color of the flesh varies from light red to dark red, depending on the type of food the animal receives; the best come from animals raised in semi-freedom and which have access to forest resources.
Since the pig is no longer at risk of trichinosis , a disease transmissible to humans, it is no longer necessary to cook meat for very long. With the exception of ground meat, it can be eaten slightly pink, at an internal temperature of 70 o C (160 o F).
Organic pork is often less tender than pork from factory farms. If you want to soften it, you will marinate it in a mixture of water and salt (1/4 cup of salt per liter of water) an hour and a half before cooking.
As for the wild boar , it will gain by marinating a day or two in a preparation based on red wine and wine vinegar (1 l for 150 ml), with the addition of shallots, onions, carrots, celery, garlic, bay leaf, thyme, salt and pepper and, if desired, juniper berries. It is generally not necessary to marinate the flesh of the wild boar (young wild boar).
|From head to toes!
Today, pork legs are used to prepare “head cheese” or “head cheese”, but in the past, it was indeed the head that was cooked for this purpose. The end product was definitely tastier. In the past, wild boar’s head was also considered a delicacy by gourmets.
Depending on the cuts, the pork can be pan-fried, baked, broiled, sautéed or simmered. Very versatile, it is suitable for all sauces, whether sweet or savory. We cook the wild boar as we would for the pork, not hesitating to accompany it with wild plants (for example, Labrador tea), berries (pimbina or wild cherries) or wild mushrooms (chanterelles or boletus), which will support its musky flavor.
- Minced pork: you can make cretons, burgers, a bolognese sauce – the famous Italian ragù (with chopped onion, diced carrots, tomatoes, red wine, herbs of your choice) – a moussaka, or stuff it with peppers, tomatoes or small squash. It can also be stuffed into casings to obtain homemade sausages free of gluten, preservatives, artificial colors and flavors.
- Cubes: in a coconut curry, a pot-au-feu, a stew, a tagine or a blanquette. Or prepare them in a sauerkraut.
- Cutlets: stuff them with various preparations, roll them up and cook them over a low heat in a sauce, or prepare them, like those of veal, with parmigiana : pass them in a mixture of breadcrumbs, grated Parmesan, herbs, salt and pepper before frying them in the pan.
- Chops: cook them in oil, making sure they stay slightly pink. Serve with a red currant or sour cherry sauce.
- Strips: prepare an oriental stir-fry: snow peas, bean sprouts, spring onions, Chinese cabbage, water chestnuts, ginger, honey, soy sauce, etc.
- Strips: put them on metal skewers, after having marinated them in the sauce of your choice. Grill and serve over rice vermicelli, topped with roasted sesame seeds, mint or cilantro.
- Fillet: cook it whole after coating it with Dijon mustard, or cut it into medallions and pan-fry them. Grill for about 20 minutes on or under the grill, turning once.
- Leg stew: to make the sauce, dare the Kamut or spelled flour instead of the white flour. The whole secret is to grill it without actually burning it. Keep an eye on the cooking and take it out of the oven as soon as it is brown.
- Enhance the flavor of a bean dish by adding a small piece of salted bacon at the start of cooking. Garnish pea soup or lentils with a piece of ham. In the southern United States, it is also added to dishes of mustard greens, turnip or cavalier cabbage that is cooked over a low heat.
- Leftover cooked pork: serve as a salad, with fruits, vegetables, pasta, etc.
- Prepare the kidneys , liver and heart as you would for those of beef or veal.
Raw ham Raw
ham is obtained after a long process of salting, drying and refining, which takes into account the climatic characteristics of a given region – periods of humidity followed by dry periods, cold mountain air, etc. – and which, in some cases, lasts more than a year. The most famous cured hams are Italian prosciutto , French Bayonne ham , Spanish serrano and Portuguese presunto .
In most cases, they carry a label of authenticity that guarantees compliance with rigorous breeding and manufacturing standards established over the centuries (in the case of Bayonne ham, the production methods date back at least a thousand years). Cheaper hams, which are made using modern processes, do not achieve the flavor and softness of traditional products. Some suggestions of primers:
- In southern Europe , raw ham is often served with a slice of country bread, toasted or not, and rubbed with garlic, olive oil and a tomato, which will leave part of it. its pulp.
- It can be served as a starter with a slice of melon or small French pickles.
- Add it to omelets, quiches and piperades, or stuff it into pancakes.
- Serve it as a salad with arugula, for example, or cooked asparagus.
Refrigerator: three or four days; two days for ground pork.
Freezer: eight to ten months; two to three months for ground pork.
Ecology and environment
|The wild boar: a brave beast
The wild boar is beneficial to the forest: with its snout, it turns over the soil and incorporates the humus, in addition to destroying a certain number of harmful larvae. In Poland, wild boar hunting is prohibited throughout the period when certain species of insects that attack trees are spreading.
The pig is probably the most controversial farm animal, due to modern industrial production methods. Apart from humanitarian concerns about the treatment reserved for it, environmentalists worry about the effects on the environment of massive deforestation resulting from the double need to cultivate increasingly large areas to feed pigs and to grow. get rid of their slurry.
We are also concerned about the extent of the GMO corn and soybean crops intended for them and, in general, the pollution that these crops, as well as the slurry, cause. Not to mention the odors coming from the farms which constitute a significant nuisance. Producers have therefore undertaken to adopt measures to reduce pollution at source and odors, but some would like us to go further and limit the number of animals in a given territory. In Quebec, the Canadian province where it is produced the most, approximately 7,500,000 animals are produced annually, nearly half of which is exported.