Coronary heart diseases are still the leading cause of death worldwide: heart failure, high blood pressure, diabetes, etc. These are examples of diseases that can end in having a heart condition and endanger our health if measures are not taken to fight them in time. How can we overcome the risk factors that increase the chances of suffering from some of these diseases? By living a healthy lifestyle, among which is to follow a good diet that promotes cardiovascular health. In this post, we are going to tell you what types of foods make up a heart-healthy diet and, in addition, as Ham is one of the star products of the Spanish gastronomy, a... experts, we will explain why jamón is quality food that can benefit your cardiovascular health.
According to the Spanish Heart Foundation (SHF), it has been demonstrated that it is possible to prevent up to 80% of cardiovascular diseases through diet. However, we must bear in mind that when we talk about this type of nutrition, we are not referring to following a dietary pattern, but rather to adopting a lifestyle.
A heart-healthy diet is one that provides us with macronutrients such as carbohydrates, proteins and quality fats, and micronutrients such as minerals, vitamins and fiber.
“Mediterranean diet” is a generic term based on the traditional eating habits in the countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea. The Mediterranean-style Diet is a valuable cultural heritage, a balanced lifestyle that includes recipes, ways of cooking, local products and other balanced food habits. Among its many health benefits, the Mediterranean diet is characterized by the use of olive oil as a primary fat source or fat from oily fish, nuts and even Iberian ham / Jamón ibérico. The main products of this diet are fruits and vegetables, accompanied by a portion of protein (of animal and vegetable origin) and a portion of quality carbohydrates, whole grains, nuts and seeds and/or tubers (such as potato or sweet potatoe) or legumes.
Some of the keys to the Mediterranean diet are to use olive oil as the main healthy fat for cooking or seasoning, to buy fresh and seasonal foods, avoid consuming too many processed foods, and to base your daily meals on plant-based foods combined with animal-based proteins: fish, meat, eggs or vegetable-based foods such as legumes. Get to know the basic foods and products that make up our Mediterranean meals.
There are many people who doubt about including Spanish Jamón in a healthy diet, but as we have said, a balanced and healthy diet should include nutrients such as healthy fats and proteins. Ingredients such as fish, nuts, or Iberian ham are responsible for providing these properties to our organism.
If an iberian Jamón has fat, it is a good sign. Precisely, the fat infiltration into the ham (meat) that you can tell by the white veins. These streaks are the result of the Iberian pigs’ ability to infiltrate the fat into the muscle, when the animals are free-ranging, feeding on acorns and other wild fruits, and exercising. Thanks to this diet, the fat in Jamón de Bellota Ibérico (acorn-fed) obtains more than 50% oleic acid, which can help lower cholesterol. Therefore, we classify this infiltrated fat as “unsaturated” fat and it is compatible with a heart-healthy diet. To learn more about ham/Jamón fat, we recommend our post: “Is Jamón fat unhealthy?“
On the other hand, Iberian ham is a high-level protein food, an indispensable element for the proper functioning of our body, and this is even more significant for people who perform physical activity, elderly people who start losing muscle mass, and that also lose their appetite for food, generally speaking. Jamón can be a great ally as a post-exercise recovery food after sports, and a good enrichment of dishes in terms of protein or flavor.
In short, Iberian Jamón can complete our daily recipes with healthy fat and protein, being an ideal complement to include in salads, vegetable dishes, recipes with legumes or pasta, etc. And, in addition to providing nutrients, it will enhance the taste of any meal.
We will tell you more about the benefits of Jamón in: “The health benefits of Iberian ham / Jamón ibérico”.
Another reason to include Spanish Jamón of Iberian breed in a heart-healthy diet is that, by adding it on its own, you can reduce salt in many dishes and recipes. As you may already know, reducing salt consumption is one of the top tips recommended by cardiologists. High sodium intake contributes to high blood pressure and increases the risk of heart disease.
To achieve this reduction of salt in your daily diet, there are many rich condiments that can be added in recipes and are healthier, while providing new flavor nuances and delicious flavour. Give them a try if you haven’t done so yet!
Jamón can also help reduce the amount of salt in some cases. It is very common in dishes such as vegetable creams, where adding a few Jamón shavings will give this salty and tasty touch to the recipe and you will be able to do without salt. It is also ideal in vegetable, legume or pasta salads, and you will see that the recipe becomes more unique and healthier!
In the Enrique Tomás online store you will find all the options of Iberian ham and formats so that you can start introducing it in your heart-healthy diet. Needless to say that you shall always first consult with your doctor, if needed be. A sensible consumption does not harm your health, but will provide nutrients such as protein or healthy fat, necessary for the proper functioning of the body!
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