Are you looking for the healthiest portion of pork? If so, pork chops are the best option. They are high in protein and low in fats and calories. These are the cuts perpendicular to the spine of the pig. Their nutrition level depends on the cut and cooking method. They are said to offer many health benefits, like controlling body weight and improving heart health. In this article, we explore the nutrient profile of pork chops, their health benefits, some recipes, and possible side effects. Keep reading!
Pork Chop Nutrition Facts
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, 1 pork chop (131 g) contains (1):
- Energy : 265 kcal
- Protein: 32.4 g
- Fat: 14.5 g
- Carbohydrate: 1.09 g
- Calcium: 10.5 mg
- Iron: 1.17 mg
- Magnesium: 31.4 mg
- Phosphorus: 355 mg
- Potassium: 533 mg
- Sodium: 76 mg
- Zinc: 3.04 mg
- Copper: 0.092 mg
- Manganese: 0.012 mg
- Selenium: 58.4 µg
This rich nutrient profile with high-quality protein, a wide variety of vitamins like thiamin, vitamin B6, and niacin, and minerals has many benefits. Learn about the health benefits of eating pork chops below.
What Are The Health Benefits Of Pork Chops?
1. High In Protein And Protects The Bones
Did you know that every gram of protein intake gives you four calories? Every healthy adult should consume 0.8 gram protein per kilogram of body weight daily (2). Pork chops are high in protein. They contain all the essential amino acids that are necessary for the growth and maintenance of the body. By consuming 3 ounces of pork chop, women get 52% and men get 43% of the recommended daily intake of protein (1). This amount is equivalent to about 55 grams per day for an individual who weighs 150 pounds.
Including high-protein in your diet can help reduce the risk of sarcopenia (loss of skeletal muscle mass and function) (3).
2. Helps Control Weight
Foods high in protein promote weight loss. As pork chops have a high protein content, they can be considered helpful for weight loss. A pilot study conducted on 164 overweight adults found that regular consumption of fresh lean pork significantly reduces body weight (4). However, more studies are warranted to understand this benefit of pork chops.
3. Improves Heart Health
The presence of omega-3 fatty acids in pork chops is linked to heart health (5). Moderate consumption of omega-3 fats can lower triglyceride levels and reduce the risk of heart disease (6). They can also improve HDL cholesterol levels (7). However, more studies are required to prove these claims.
These are the health benefits of consuming pork chops. But, how do you include them in your diet? Here are some pork chops recipes you can try out.
Recipes To Try Out
1. Honey Garlic Pork Chops
What You Need
- Pork chops (1-inch thick) – 6 (4 ounces)
- Low-sodium soy sauce – 2 tablespoons
- Crushed garlic – 2 cloves
- Honey – 2 2/3tablespoons
- Ketchup – ½ cup
- Preheat the grill on medium heat and lightly oil the grate.
- Whisk the ketchup, honey, soy sauce, and crushed garlic together in a bowl to make a glaze.
- Sear the pork chops on both sides on the preheated grill.
- Lightly brush glaze on each side of the chops as they cook.
- Grill the pork chops until they are no longer pink in the center (about 7 to 9 minutes per side).
2. Juicy Skillet Pork Chops
What You Need
- Pork chops – 4 (about 1-inch thick and 6 to 7 ounces each)
- Low-sodium chicken stock – 1 cup
- All-purpose flour – 1 tablespoon
- Smoked paprika – ½ teaspoon
- Chilli powder – 1 teaspoon
- Black pepper – ½ teaspoon
- Garlic powder – 1 teaspoon
- Olive oil – 1 tablespoon
- Onion powder – 1 teaspoon
- Butter – 1 tablespoon
- Honey or brown sugar – 2 teaspoons
- Apple cider vinegar – 1 tablespoon
- Chopped fresh parsley – 2 tablespoons
- Salt – to taste
- Season the pork chops on both sides with salt and pepper. Use less than 1/4 teaspoon of fine salt per pork chop.
- Set the chops aside to rest for 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, make the spice rub. In a small bowl, mix the flour, chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, and smoked paprika.
- After 30 minutes, use a paper towel to pat the pork chops dry, then rub both sides of the chops with the spice rub.
- Heat the oil in a medium skillet (with lid) over medium-high heat.
- As soon as the oil is hot and looks shimmery, add the pork. Cook until golden, 2 to 3 minutes.
- Flip the pork chops so that the seared sides are facing up.
- Reduce the heat to low, then cover the skillet with a lid and cook for 6 to 12 minutes.
- Transfer the pork chops to a plate and cover them loosely with aluminum foil.
- Let the pork rest for 5 minutes before serving.
3. Bacon And Mushroom Smothered Pork Chops
What You Need
- Boneless pork chops – 3 or 4
- Bacon – 6 strips (uncooked)
- Mushrooms – 8 oz.
- Garlic cloves – 2
- Fresh thyme – 5 springs
- Flour – 2 tablespoons
- Heavy cream – ½ cup
- Chicken broth – 2/3cup
- Olive oil – 1 tablespoon
- Salt and pepper – to taste
- Chop the bacon into bite-size pieces. In a large skillet, cook them on medium heat until they are Remove the bacon from the pan to a plate, leaving the fat in the pan.
- Season the pork chops with salt and pepper. In the same pan, on high-medium heat, cook the pork chops for 4 minutes on each side in bacon fat, until nicely seared.
- Reduce heat to medium midway through cooking.
- Transfer the pork chops to a plate.
- Add sliced mushrooms and minced garlic to the same pan. If needed, add onetablespoon olive oil.
- Season with salt. Sprinkle with fresh thyme leaves.
- Cook on medium heat for about 5 minutes, until the mushrooms soften and release juices.
- Sprinkle twotablespoons of flour all over the mushrooms and stir it in on medium heat.
- Add the chicken broth and raise the heat to bring it to a boil while constantly stirring. You should have a smooth slurry from the flour and the chicken broth.
- Add the heavy cream and stir it in until everything is smooth. Then reduce the heat to low.
- Add the pork chops and bacon back to the pan. Cover the pan with a lid and cook on low heat until the pork chops are cooked through.
- To serve, top the pork chops with the mushroom and bacon mixture and more fresh thyme leaves.
These are some easy recipes for pork chops. But, are there any side effects of eating pork chops? Scroll down to find out in detail.
What Are The Side Effects Of Eating Pork Chops?
Eating pork chops in moderation is considered safe. However, red meats that are overcooked at high temperatures may contain carcinogenic substances such as heterocyclic amines (8), (9). Hence, consume adequately cooked pork chops in moderation. They make for an excellent addition to a healthy diet and do not increase the risk of cancer.
Eating raw or undercooked meat may cause human parasitic infections (10). Also, uncooked pork may cause parasitic roundworms (Trichinella) with symptoms like heartburn, stomach pain, diarrhea, and nausea (11). Toxoplasma gondii is another parasite that can weaken your immune system (12).
While buying pork chops from a meat shop or grocery store, you should remember some important points. Scroll down to know what to look for.
How To Buy Good Pork Chops
1. Choose Pork Chops By Cut
There are several different cuts in pork chops. Most of them come from the loin portion, which runs from the hip to the shoulder. They are high in fat and dark in color with good flavor. The most common chops you will find are rib and pork tenderloin.
2. Opt For Rib Chops For Lean Meat
You can choose rib chops for lean meat and mild flavor. Since these cuts are very lean, they cook easily. There will be one bone running along the side of this cut, which is often covered by a thin layer of fat.
3. Choose Pork Chops With Marbling
Ensure there is some marbling (veins of white fat) on the chops. Also, they should be pinkish-red in color and have no yellow fat on the meat.
Learn how to store pork chops in the next section.
How To Store Pork Chops
It is best to cook and eat pork chops soon after buying them. They last up to two to four days when you store them in the refrigerator. If you want to freeze them, wrap them in freezer wrap before doing so. Frozen pork chops last up to six months. Also, they should be heated to an internal temperature of 145°F to ensure safety.
Note: Frozen pork chops should be thawed in the refrigerator, and not at room temperature, before cooking.
Pork chops are an excellent source of protein with some great health benefits. They can aid in controlling body weight and improving heart health. However, their fat content varies with the process that is used for cooking them. Consuming overcooked or undercooked pork chops may cause some side effects. Therefore, cook them properly and consume them in moderation to reap their benefits.
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- Pork, fresh, blade, (chops), boneless, separable lean and fat, cooked, broiled
- Dietary protein intake and human health
- Role of dietary protein in the sarcopenia of aging
- Effects of Eating Fresh Lean Pork on Cardiometabolic Health Parameters
- Pork, fresh, loin, top loin (chops), boneless, enhanced, separable lean only, cooked, pan-broiled
- A fish a day, keeps the cardiologist away! – A review of the effect of omega-3 fatty acids in the cardiovascular system
- Overview of Omega-3 Fatty Acid Therapies
- A prospective study of meat, cooking methods, meat mutagens, heme iron, and lung cancer risks
- Mechanistic Evidence for Red Meat and Processed Meat Intake and Cancer Risk: A Follow-up on the International Agency for Research on Cancer Evaluation of 2015
- Pork as a source of human parasitic infection
- Trichinella Spiralis
- Human immunity to Toxoplasma gondii