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‘Moove’ over beef; get on board with pork

March 19, 2023 at 4:00 a.m.
Pork is consumed worldwide and, when enjoyed in moderation, can be part of a healthy diet.

Culinary options multiply when individuals and families are open to trying different foods and recipes. There are many protein sources individuals can consider, and pork ranks highly among them. Pork is consumed worldwide and, when enjoyed in moderation, can be part of a healthy diet.

According to WebMD, ground, cooked pork comes in at roughly 297 calories for a 3.4-ounce serving. One such serving of pork offers 25.7 grams of protein and is richer in thiamine than other red meats like beef and lamb. Thiamine is a B vitamin that is vital to a range of bodily needs. Selenium found in pork is essential for thyroid function.

Pork is considered a "red" meat. Don't let pork's lighter coloring fool you into thinking it is closer to poultry products. Despite that classification, today's pork has about 16 percent less fat and 27 percent less saturated fat compared to the pork of 30 years ago, according to the National Pork Board. In addition, thanks to changes in feeding practices and quality control, pig-borne trichinosis, which was once behind the well-done cooking recommendations regarding pork, has dropped to relatively nil. That means diners may be able to enjoy pork at slightly pinker temperatures than once believed. However, an internal temperature of at least 145 degrees for whole pork and 160 degrees for ground pork is recommended, according to Healthline.

Pork is quite versatile, as evidenced by its availability in many different forms. It's amazing to think that breakfast bacon and pulled pork enjoyed at dinner is from the same animal. Pork also shines in lunch meats and specialty cured products like salami and prosciutto. In fact, a typical charcuterie board features a variety of pork products.

With that in mind, when curating food options for your own charcuterie platter, consider these ideal pork and cheese pairings that will delight guests, courtesy of the National Pork Board.

Prosciutto with parmesan.

Aged country ham with sharp cheddar.

Salami with gouda.

Pepperoni with aged goat's milk.

Guanciale with asiago.

Pâté with gruyere.

Mortadella with Swiss.

Pork rinds with queso fresco.

Chopped bacon in cream cheese or neufchâtel also can make a tasty spread for charcuterie crackers or crostini.

Pork is a versatile meat with plenty of flavor and nutrition. It can be worked into weekly meal plans in many different ways.

Don't discount soyfoods

When visiting a modern grocery store, consumers may recognize that their options are seemingly unlimited. Those options abound whether you typically visit a large chain grocery store with 20-plus aisles and expansive specialty sections or you tend to go to smaller stores that emphasize organics and other health foods.

Regardless of where consumers buy their food, soyfoods are one option they're likely to encounter. Many people have undoubtedly encountered soyfoods, even if they didn't realize it. For example, edamame is a commonly used soyfood that's found in various recipes. In addition, a trip to the dairy aisle of a favored grocery store will likely lead to an encounter with soymilk. Given the ubiquitous nature of soyfoods, consumers may want to learn the basics of this widely available option.

What are soyfoods?

The United Soybean BoardTM notes that the term "soyfoods" refers to a broad category of soybean products that are consumed by humans. Foods that are in the category of soyfoods include tempeh, tofu, miso, soy milk, and soy-based meat alternatives.

How common are soyfoods?

Soyfoods are more common than consumers may realize. In fact, the Kansas Soybean Commission notes that individuals likely have soyfood products in their pantries even if they aren't aware of that. Protein shakes and baking flour are two examples of foods that include soy ingredients.

How healthy are soyfoods?

First and foremost, anyone considering adding more soyfoods to their diets is urged to speak with a physician before doing so, as any dietary changes, however insignificant they may seem, are best adopted under the supervision of a physician. Physicians also can discuss the latest research into various types of foods, including soyfoods, with their patients.

In regard to the nutritional value of soyfoods, the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health notes that there is debate regarding soyfoods. The school notes that nutritional scientists often tout the significant health benefits of soyfoods, but also points out that some research has indicated soy can have negative effects in certain situations. That's led to some hesitancy regarding whether or not to recommend soyfoods without qualification. This debate underscores the need for people to discuss soyfoods with their physicians prior to altering their diets.

Soyfoods are considered rich in B vitamins, fiber, potassium, magnesium, and high-quality protein. However, the Chan School of Public Health notes that soy also can have estrogenic properties, which can affect hormone levels in the body. Since no two people are the same, the effects of soyfoods on the body figure to be different among individuals as well. Research studying the effects of soyfoods on human health is ongoing, which is another reason why it's so important to discuss soyfoods without a physician before changing a diet.

Soyfoods are available at many different grocery stores. Such foods are worthy of consideration and discussion with a qualified health care professional.

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