The brand “Jamón de Teruel” is a synonym for quality, differentiated thanks to the work of its Regulatory Committee (Jamón de Teruel is a EU Protected Origin Designation). This body also publicises and promotes the virtues of the product, some of which are well known, and others which may surprise you. For example, did you know that eating Jamón de Teruel P.D.O ham can help mental ability, especially in children, thanks to its high zinc content? (2.3 mg. per 100 grams). Also, Jamón de Teruel P.D.O ham provides exceptional nutritional value, being rich in proteins, B-group vitamins and minerals such as zinc and iron. The zinc content helps mental abilities, as shown by a study in the University of Southern California, and supported by the US Agricultural Research Service.
According to this report, consuming 20 milligrams of zinc five days a week for three months gave teenagers better memory control, enabling them to answer questions faster and more correctly, and an improved attention span, understanding and retention.
It also shows that teens with poorer mineral levels display 41% more violent behaviour than the others. This is why nutrition experts stress the importance of a zinc-rich diet for this age group, with a daily recommended consumption of 20 mg for adults, and 10 mg for children.
Ham in general and Teruel ham in particular, is highly nutritious, but there are a number of misconceptions about it, such as a high fat content. Teruel ham is low in saturated fats (33%, with 63% unsaturated fats) and a high proportion of unsaturated fatty acids, mainly oleic (50.76%), which has a beneficial effect on blood cholesterol levels.
This type of fat leads to an increase in “good cholesterol” (HDL-c) which protects health, and transports “bad cholesterol” (LDL- c) – deposited in the arteries – to the liver for elimination, reducing the risk of arterial thrombosis and heart attack.
Another misconception is that cured ham is high in salt. The human body needs 4g of salt a day, the equivalent of 1.6g of sodium. The WHO recommends that adults should not exceed 6g of salt per day, or 2.4g of sodium. Taking into account that the average consumption of cured ham in Spain is about 80 g/person/week, the weekly salt supplied by Jamón de Teruel is 1.51 g, equivalent to 3.84 g of table salt (NaCl).
Given the lipid profile of Jamón de Teruel ham, its cardiovascular benefits, nutrient density and mineral and vitamin levels, it should be considered a complete, well-balanced food, heart-healthy, and suitable for inclusion in the nutritional guidelines of the Mediterranean Diet.