What do you know about ham?

Ham is part of our diet since time out of mind. And let's admit it, it's also a very popular delicacy. Who would resist a slice of fresh aromatic quality ham with a crunchy roll spread with butter, combined with a succulent tomato and a crisp lettuce leaf. And as it usually goes, what adults like, children like as well. This points out how responsible we should be when buying food, and ham is no exception.
 

WHAT DOES LEGISLATION SAY?

A producer of ham and meat specialties is obliged to state the corresponding quality class, accoding to the ham composition. Currently, the law distinguishes three classes, which differ not only in net muscle protein content, but also in what ingredients can be used during the production of different hams.

quality classes:

  • prime quality hams
  • selected hams
  • standard hams

Let's look in detail at the finest set of products, namely prime quality hams, to which the company LE & CO pays special attention and which represent the number one priority in its manufacturing program, together with hams for children. Prime quality hams must contain at least 16% by weight of pure muscle protein. In the production process, it is not allowed to use additives such as fibers, colourings, starches and other vegetable or animal proteins. It therefore follows that, thanks to the strict standards, the prime quality hams are one of the highest quality meat products on the market. They contain a very high proportion of meat and are usually made from high quality whole-muscle pork leg.

In connection with the ham quality, four terms are usually mentioned – fat, salt, „E" additives and meat proportion, which directly affects the amount of important animal protein in the product.

FATS

are a natural and important part of our diet. They are an essential component of cell structure, the most important storage of energy in the body and provide mechanical and thermal protection of the organism. Our body uses them for production of some hormones, bile acids and other important substances. Fat is an essential flavour carrier of certain foods, and allows absorption and under certain conditions also protection of important fat-soluble vitamins and provitamins, such as A, D, E, K, F – essential fatty acids. The fat content of the prime quality hams of the company LE & CO is not high, it is maintained below 7%, often even less, so the hams in this category are a valuable and tasty source of energy.
 

SALT

or strictly speaking, edible salt (sodium chloride) is used during the production of meat products in combination with sodium nitrite. For a taste, preservation and distinctive pink hue of ham and sausage as we know it, the nitrite salting mix is used since time immemorial. Common salt certainly does not pose a major problem for anyone. But even the sodium nitrite itself (E250) is not such a threat, as is often presented. Its content in a product is very low, since its dosage during the production itself is minimal, and it naturally decomposes into harmless substances. Sodium, contained in the salt, is in turn important for the human body, in order to maintain osmotic pressure and ionic strength of bodily fluids. However, high or low supply of sodium is not desirable for the body. Ham salt level has been decreasing compared to the past, and the prime quality LE & CO hams contain less than 2%. It is interesting to note that an ideal salt intake limit should be around 6 g daily.
 

„E" ADDITIVES

So called „Es" do not necessarily have to be a dreaded bugbear. Not all of them are unhealthy. Past generations already used e.g. sodium nitrate or nitrite in the ham production. It is just that these additives were not marked as „E". Some of the commonly used Es, such as Sodium erythorbata (E316) or Carrageenan (E316) are considered safe by experts. And for example L‑ascorbic acid (E300) is nothing but a usable form of Vitamin C. Do you really find it harmful? In short, considering today's way of selling, ham cannot be produced without using these substances, but what is certainly true is the less the better. Therefore, the prime quality LE & CO hams contain only the necessary number and amount of them.
 

PROTEINS

are one of the basic components of food. In our body, they perform an enormous range of functions, and because our body cannot obtain them in another way than by food intake, and it is also unable to store them, a daily intake of these substances of about 50 – 80 g is necessary. Proteins are essential for muscle formation, and therefore in the case of active athletes, it can be even more, because the necessary intake depends on the physique and the physical exertion of each individual. Human organism utilises animal proteins better than plant protein, so the hams with high meat content are a valuable source of protein intake. For all the prime quality LE & CO hams, the meat content is in the range of 92-96 %.

 

Are you gourmets, but you also pay attention to a healthy lifestyle? If you are not strict vegetarians, high quality hams and meat specialties certainly deserve their rightful place in your diet.