The fat of Iberico bellota ham contains over 55% oleic acid (a mono-unsaturated fatty acid). Rigorous scientific studies have shown that these fats exercise a beneficial effect on cholesterol in the blood by increasing the amount of good (HDL) cholesterol and reducing bad (LDL) cholesterol. Only virgin olive oil has a higher oleic acid content.
The total proportion of unsaturated fatty acids in cured Iberico hams that have consumed a diet of acorns is over 75%, making it the most "cardiohealthy" of all animal fats, even healthier than some fats of plant origin. The breed of pigs is not the only explanation; their staple diet of acorns and grasses also plays an important role.
In addition to its beneficial effect on cholesterol, Iberico ham provides proteins, vitamins B1, B6, B12 and folic acid, all highly beneficial for the nervous system and proper functioning of the brain. It is also rich in vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant, and in minerals such as copper, essential for bones and cartilage; calcium, iron, zinc, magnesium, phosphorus and finally, selenium, which has been attributed with antiaging properties.
With regard to calories, Protected content of Ibérico bellota ham provides less than Protected content (roughly the same as bread) meaning that, eaten in moderation, it can be included in low calorie diets.
It is also an excellent substitute for red meat: Protected content of ham contain 43 grs. of protein.
Bases de la calidad del jamón ibérico. El consumo del jamón ibérico de bellota y su influencia sobre los lípidos plasmáticos.
Maciá Botejara, E. (Junta de Extremadura, Protected content
Características productivas de dos variedades de cerdo ibérico y contenido vitamínico y mineral de sus productos cárnicos.
Forero Vizcaíno, F.J. (Diputación de Huelva, Protected content
Porcino Ibérico: aspectos claves.
Buxadé Carbó, C.; Daza Anfrada, A. (Ed. Mundi-Prensa, Protected content