Just 2 ounces (57 grams) — approximately 3–4 thin slices — of ham provide (1, 2, 3): Ham is particularly rich in selenium, providing up to 76% of the DV per 2 ounces (57 grams), depending on the type. Although outbreaks of food poisoning linked directly to ham have decreased in recent years, processed meats and sliced deli meat like ham remain at a high risk of contamination by Listeria, Staphylococcus, and Toxoplasma gondii bacteria (60, 61, 62, 63). A 3.5-ounce serving of deli ham contains 3.6 grams of fat, of which less than 1 gram is saturated. This article reviews ham’s nutrients, benefits, and downsides to determine whether it’s healthy. This table depicts the nutrients in 2 ounces (57 grams) of various types of ham (17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24): As you can see, chopped ham packs far more calories than most other types. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) recommends eating 26 ounces (737 grams) of meat, poultry, and eggs per week — while limiting processed meats and choosing from a variety of plant and animal proteins (66). Here are 30 foods that tend to be high in sodium — and what to eat instead. In fact, a 2-ounce (57-gram) serving of ham delivers nearly 26% of the DV for sodium (1). Selenium is an essential nutrient that aids reproduction, DNA construction, and defense from infections (2, 3, 4). Is Eating Ham Healthy? On one hand, Spanish-style Iberian ham may protect against inflammation. On the other hand, large human studies show a higher mortality rate among those who eat processed red meat often — likely due to an increased susceptibility to chronic disease (58). These populations include young children, older adults, and those who are immunocompromised or pregnant. Ham is a cut of pork that’s typically cured and preserved, although it’s also sold fresh. The large amount of sodium in most kinds of ham is a nutritional drawback to the food. The most notable include: Regularly eating foods with a low calorie density may promote weight loss by helping you feel full for longer. The large amount of … Thus, ham can be one of many protein choices in a healthy diet. She started writing in 2007 and has been published in Teaching Tolerance magazine. Eating ham occasionally may offer several health benefits. This article explains how to properly take the temperature of meat and discusses the recommended…. Bear in mind that a fresh ham usually contains less sodium and fewer carcinogens than cured or processed ham, so look closely at the label to determine whether it’s fresh, lean, or low in salt. Compared with fish and poultry, pork products like ham are higher in thiamine, iron, and other B vitamins. These varieties of ham are better for you as well. Thus, it’s best to limit your intake and stick to fresh, less processed types of ham as part of a balanced diet. Because this type isn’t cured or cooked, you must cook it fully before it’s safe to eat. Mechanically formed ham is a highly processed variety. The nitrates in cured meats can also be broken down into nitrosamines, which are carcinogens and might be linked to an increased risk of certain types of cancer. Spanish-style Iberian ham, or Jamón Ibérico, comes from black Iberian pigs that eat a diet of grains and corn before grazing on acorns, grass, and herbs prior to slaughter. Certain brands of deli meats offer reduced-sodium ham, which increases the nutritional value of the food. Food poisoning can cause unpleasant symptoms ranging from nausea to vomiting. A ham steak supplies niacin and potassium as well, but in smaller doses than lean deli ham. High sodium intake is linked to an increased risk of conditions like high blood pressure, heart disease, and kidney failure. One study found that dry-cured ham had significantly lower levels of the beneficial antioxidant glutathione than fresh pork. It’s also low in calories when eaten alone. It’s then cleaned and cured using one or more of the following methods (14): Some products like canned ham are mechanically formed. Compared with poultry and fish, pork products like ham are higher in iron, thiamine, and other B vitamins. Ham is rich in protein, minerals, and other nutrients that support optimal health. Our website services, content, and products are for informational purposes only. Plus, in these types of large cohort studies, it can be difficult to isolate the direct effects of processed meat from other lifestyle factors that influence death and chronic disease. Multiple cancer organizations, including the World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) and American Cancer Society (ACS), advise people to eat very little, if any, processed meat (64, 65). The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) holds that processed meats like ham cause colorectal cancer and possibly pancreatic and prostate cancers (5, 52, 53). Eating processed meat is linked to increased risk of several diseases, including cancer. Because of the great demand for meat that comes from pigs, factory farming has become epidemic. Zinc supports proper wound healing and boosts your immunity. Levels of these compounds increase even more when ham is reheated using high-temperature cooking methods like grilling, pan-frying, and barbecuing (5, 52, 53). Potential downsides of ham People may avoid or limit meats like ham for a … Learn what the terms “cured” and “uncured” bacon actually mean when you see them in the store. Some cancer organizations suggest eating as little processed meat as possible due to its health risks. Ham begins as a piece of raw pork cut from the hind legs of a pig. Recent studies suggest that this type of ham doesn’t increase your risk of chronic conditions, such as high blood pressure and heart disease, compared with other types (44, 45, 46). Yet, pork may be lower in some nutrients than other red meats, such as beef (5). Ham looks and tastes differently depending on the type, as well as where you live. Since ham and other pork products contain many amino acids, they’re often considered high quality protein sources. The same serving of deli ham provides 1.6 milligrams of the 8 to 11 milligrams of zinc required on a daily basis. This article explores the health effects of processed meat. Consequently, people who have these conditions or are at risk of developing them may want to limit their ham intake (54, 55, 56). Adults over age 50, individuals with heart problems and African Americans should restrict sodium intake to 1,500 milligrams or less each day.