Pork belly is one of the world’s most indulgent cuts of meat. Its beautiful richness is a real treat, and now as a bonus, it is apparently healthy too! That’s because according to a BBC report in January 2018, researchers who analysed more than 1,000 raw foods found that lard is among the top 10 foods which provide the best balance of a person’s daily nutritional requirements.
Pork fat was ranked 8th in a list of 100 foods, with a nutritional score of 74 – the higher the number, the more likely it will meet your daily nutritional needs. It is listed as containing “a good source of B vitamins and minerals” as well as being “more unsaturated and healthier than lamb or beef fat”.
In addition, pork fat contains oleic acid with 60 per cent monounsaturated fat. Monounsaturated oleic acid has been found to be good for the heart, arteries and skin, and also helps to regulate hormones. As a comparison, butter contains 45 per cent monounsaturated fat.
But as with many things, moderation is key. Excessive consumption of fat can lead to obesity, according to a Singapore-based nutritionist interviewed by the Chinese daily.
“As long as it’s pure and unprocessed, it can be beneficial for the body,” said the nutritionist. But she recommends not consuming more than six spoonfuls a day, and stresses the importance of a balanced diet: “For example, meat is a better source of vitamin B than fat, and essential omega-3 fatty acids are obtained from other foods.”
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Pork belly is made especially tender when slow-cooked for hours in a sweet and sticky sauce, and goes brilliantly with many different marinades and spices, whether you’re opting for an Asian-inspired plum sauce or a simple salt and pepper seasoning.
If you haven’t experimented with pork belly yet, click through these gorgeous Asian pork belly recipes and prepare to be converted: