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Pork beats beef in vitamin B1, non-saturated fat

‘Boiled or steamed pork better for health than fried or barbecued’


Pork is one of the most consumed meats in Korea.

According to the Korea Rural Economic Institute, Koreans consumed 1.37 million tons of pork last year, about 1.3 percent of the global pork consumption. The meat is used in many dishes popular here, from kimchi jjigae (kimchi stew), bossam (boiled pork eaten with kimchi) to samgyeopsal gui (grilled pork belly).

Pork is known to contain 10 times as much vitamin B1 as beef. Vitamin B1 is effective in preventing beriberi. 
Neapolitan pizza-style sauce over tender, juicy pork (Miami Herald / MCT)
Neapolitan pizza-style sauce over tender, juicy pork (Miami Herald / MCT)

Though it is regarded as high-calorie fatty food, pork has less stearic acid saturated fat than beef. It also contains more oleic and linolenic acid non-saturated fat than beef.

“People are advised to get 10-15 percent of their daily recommended calories through the intake of fat. We also recommend people eat non-saturated fat if possible, rather than saturated fat, because fat, saturated or not, supports a number of your physical functions. Some vitamins, for instance, need fat to dissolve into your body, but saturated fat could cause cardiovascular or other diseases because it could block blood vessels,” said Moon Gwi-im, researcher at the Korea Food and Drug Administration.

The KFDA recently released a set of guidelines on pork cuisine that is good for your health.

“We advise people to steam or boil pork than fry or barbeque it because too much heterocyclic amine coming from burned pork could harm the body,” the KFDA said. “Cooking pork at temperatures below 100 degrees Celsius together with garlic, onion and other vegetables or spices is recommended. One should cook the meat well done because parasites may be alive in between muscles,” the guidelines said.

To replenish nutrients, taking in several other foods along with the meat helps. Salted and fermented shrimps with abundant lipase could help decompose fat and digest food. Shiitake mushroom contains eridademin which lowers cholesterol, making it good for people who eat a lot of meat. The mushroom also contains abundant fiber, and its aroma takes away the smell of fat.

Soy-related food products that contain lecithin, vitamin E and vegetable fats are also recommended. They could prevent cholesterol from amassing in the body. Lecithin enhances healthy high-density lipoprotein while lowering the unhealthy low-density lipoprotein.

“In light of non-saturated fat, we could recommend pork. But please bear in mind that any food should be consumed in moderation,” Moon said. 


By Bae Ji-sook
(baejisook@heraldcorp.com)
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