Most people eat ham either in their sandwich or burger but they don’t really know of its nutritional value or how it is made. Ham comes from the hind leg of pork. It is usually preserved through smoking, salting or even wet curing. This article will explore the nutritional benefits of ham, as well as give you tips on how to smoke a fresh ham.
Most of the time ham will come as ready to eat but there are times when one is required to cook it before eating. It is important to check the packaging so as to be sure and avoid eating raw meat that could give you problems like tapeworms infection.
Nutritional Facts for Ham
It is important to know the nutritional value that ham carries to help you understand what you are eating, how often you can eat it healthily and how to cook it well to maintain the nutrient content.
For instance, a slice of ham weighing 28 grams will carry 46 calories. The following is a breakdown of how these calories:
There are about 5 grams of protein in this serving of ham. This shows that ham contains a lot of protein which is great news as our bodies require a lot of protein to rebuild muscles and worn out tissues.
A man of average body size requires about 56 grams of proteins a day while an average woman requires about 46 grams of proteins a day to ensure that the body remains healthy and all organs are working efficiently.
One serving of 28 grams of ham will contain about 16 milligrams of cholesterol and an additional 2 grams of total fat. 1 gram of the total fat is made up of saturated fats which are not good for your health.
It also contains about 193-milligrams of omega-6 fatty acids and an additional 16.8 milligrams of 0mega-3 fatty acids which are important in the body as they help maintain cardiovascular health as well as increase brain capacity.
Ham is a great source of thiamin, vitamin C, vitamin B12 and vitamin B6. Thiamin is important in the body as it helps improve the digestion process, it acts as an anti-aging compound and it also promotes better memory.
Vitamin B6, on the other hand, helps the nervous system and muscles function more effectively. It also helps to keep your digestive system healthy and keeps it working effectively. Vitamin B6 can also lower your risk of getting high blood pressure and stroke.
A 28 gram serving of ham contains about 365 milligrams of sodium which is really high. This may be a negative property of ham as taking a high sodium diet can increase your risk of getting high blood pressure as well as getting heart diseases.
It is advisable that people who are above the age of 50 or those who suffer from cardiac issues should take low sodium diets which limit their sodium intake to about 1500 milligrams of sodium a day. This will help them reduce their risks of a stroke, kidney failure or even other heart complications.
Studies have also shown that salt may be carcinogenic due to how it reacts with Helicobacter pylori bacteria. It can cause stomach ulcers as well as stomach cancer.
Ham contains a lot of iron and calcium with one ounce of ham having 2% iron and 1% calcium. It also contains selenium, phosphorus, magnesium, and zinc. Magnesium helps to improve your immune system and keep your bones strong,
Zinc helps to improve cognitive function, losing weight as well as helping chronic infections heal faster. Selenium is essential in our bodies as it helps lower your risk of getting coronary infections thus keeping your heart healthy and efficient functioning.
Health and Nutritional Benefits of Ham
The following are some of the health benefits we stand to get when we consume ham on a regular basis:
1. It Is Rich in Protein
Proteins are known as bodybuilding foods. The high amounts of proteins contained in ham make it great at helping your body build muscles as well as repairing damaged tissues and cells. It also helps to develop tendons as well as keeping your skin healthy by replacing damaged cells.
2. Ham Contains a Number of Helpful Vitamins
Ham contains vitamins B12, B6, and C and also contains thiamin. These minerals are important in maintaining the healthy and effective functioning of the human body. Vitamin C helps to keep bones and teeth strong while vitamin B6 helps to maintain your blood pressure and keeps your nervous system healthy.
3. an Excellent Source of Important Minerals
A serving of ham contains very many minerals that help keep your body functioning properly and maintain its health. These minerals include zinc, iron, calcium, magnesium, selenium, and phosphorus.
Each of the above-mentioned minerals has a unique benefit to the body. This makes consuming a regulated amount of ham on a regular basis so as to get these minerals and reap their maximum benefits.
DIY Tips on How to Smoke Fresh a Ham
Smoked ham is one of the most delicious ways of eating ham, as well as for giving it a long shelf life. Smoked ham is imbued with spices which give it great flavors and add to the nutritional value when cooked.
Ingredients for the ham spice rub
- 3 tablespoons of sweet paprika
- 1 cup of brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons of garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon of salt
- 2 teaspoons of onion powder
- 1 teaspoon of dried thyme
- 2 teaspoon of fresh medium ground black pepper
- ½ teaspoon of dried mustard powder
- 1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
- ½ teaspoon of chili pepper
- 2 teaspoons of oregano, dried
Requirements for smoking your ham
- Large fresh ham
- A large charcoal smoker
- Chunk charcoal
- Wood chips or chunks
- Aluminum foil
- Spice Rub
- Spray bottle
- Apple cider/juice
- Yellow mustard
- Meat thermometer
- The first step of this process should be getting your smoker ready. Load it up with some chunky charcoal and start a fire. Soak your wood chips/chunks in some hot water and then place them on the fire.
- Once this is done you should fill the water tank with water and place it on the grate. Close the smoker lid and allow smoke and steam buildup occur inside your barbecue.
- The next thing you will need to do is prepare your ham while the smoker gets ready. You should start by cutting the surface of your ham’s skin in a grid formation carefully so as not to cut into the meat itself.
- Next, apply a coat of yellow mustard and ensure you also apply it in the cuts you made on the skin.
- The final step is rubbing the mixture of spices all over the piece of ham you have and ensure you cover every inch.
- Press the spices into the ham to ensure that it penetrates the meat
- Once you are done seasoning you ham, place it on the grates in your barbecue and close the lid.
- Leave it in the smoker for several hours so as to allow the smoky wood flavor and the spices to infuse into your ham.
- You should always check to make sure that there are enough wood and water in your smoker during the whole smoking process.
- This smoking process may take up to 7 hours to complete. You should make sure that you spray the ham with apple cider/juice every hour so as to keep it moist and keep the skin from getting burnt too much.
- Check the internal temperature of the ham after about 5 hours. Once the temperature reaches 1600F, remove it from the smoker and wrap it in aluminum foil. This will help protect it from burning as it continues cooking for another hour or two.
- When you return your ham back into the smoker, leave it to cook without any more interference.
- If you want your ham to be extra crispy, you can place it on a mixture of brown sugar, pepper, salt and water which is also called a brown sugar glaze once it is cooked and then leave it in the smoker for an additional 30 minutes.
- Allow the ham to rest at room temperature for at least an hour before you serve it. This will help it retain more juices and become tenderer.
Although ham has its advantages it also has a number of disadvantages. It is okay to consume ham once in a while but not on a daily basis as it contains a lot of sodium and fats that can be very harmful to your health. You should consume ham in limited amounts if you would like to reap the maximum benefits from the numerous vitamins and minerals it has to offer.
It is advisable to consume a substitute for ham that has less sodium and saturated fats. The amount of cholesterol in ham makes it bad for your heart if you are to consume it on a regular basis. If you suffer from high blood pressure then you should stay away from ham as it will worsen your condition and even cause you to get heart complications.
If you choose to eat ham then opt for a leaner one which has less sodium and fats. There are very many brands that now offer such ham and you can get them from any supermarket or deli.
If you would like to smoke a fresh ham, you can follow the simple procedure we have given you to create a tasty and spicy ham that is just perfect for you.
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