By Mitchelle Uzorka
Pork is one of the most versatile of meats and is consumed around the world. Because it is proscribed by the dietary laws of Judaism and Islām, however, pork is virtually unknown in the cuisines of the Middle East and those of some local populations in Asia and Africa. The chief pork-consuming countries (on a per capita basis) are Germany, Denmark, Poland, and Austria.
As a red meat, pork has a reputation for being unhealthy. However, it is a good source of certain nutrients, as well as high-quality protein. Consumed in moderation, it can make a good addition to a healthy diet.
Pork is a good source of:
Protein, Niacin,Vitamins B6 and B12, Iron, Zinc.
Pork is also a good source of vitamins and minerals like phosphorus, selenium, and thiamine.
Disadvantages of Eating Pork
• High in Sodium and Saturated Fats;
While pork is rich in several important vitamins and nutrients, it can also be high in sodium and saturated fats, two things that should be avoided as part of a healthy diet.
If you’re on a low sodium diet due to concerns over your heart health and/or avoiding saturated fats, you should consume the leanest, least-processed varieties of pork you can find.
• Bladder Cancer Risk;
Another disadvantage of pork is that it increases your risk of bladder cancer if you eat well-done or burnt pork often, according to Jie Lin, Ph.D., in an article published by the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center. Pork cooked at high temperatures creates heterocyclic amines, HCAs, which can cause cancer. A 12-year study involving 844 patients with bladder cancer and 878 patients without bladder cancer gathered nutritional information and found that patients who ate pork and other red meats well-done had a significantly higher risk of bladder cancer.
Certain cured pork products like bacon contain sulfates or sulfites, chemical preservatives which you should consume in small quantities or avoid altogether. Look for salt-cured or uncured options instead.
• Parasitic Causes;
Trichinellosis can be contracted by eating raw or undercooked pork infected with the parasite Trichinella spiralis. Disease symptoms include abdominal pain, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting and weakness. Digestive system symptoms typically begin within 24 to 48 hours after eating contaminated, undercooked pork. Muscle and joint pain, cough, headache, fever and chill may develop weeks after the initial symptoms. Early treatment of Trichinellosis is important for permanently eliminating the parasite from the body.
The treatment for food poisoning from contaminated pork varies depending on the source. Simple cases of food poisoning caused by Yersinia enterocolitica or Campylobacter typically resolve without medication, but more serious cases may require antibiotics and intravenous fluids to treat dehydration. Trichinellosis is treated with antiparasitic drugs. For cases not treated early, a prolonged course of antiparasitic drug therapy may be needed.