Among many of the very special genetic characteristics to be found in the Ibérico pig is its capacity to accumulate infiltrated fats rich in Oleic Acid and other unsaturated Fatty Acids. This phenomenon is even more obvious in Ibérico Pigs that feed on Acorns during their Montanera stage (free-range grazing), as the acorn itself contains a very high amount of these acids.
Altogether the fats of the Ibérico Pig, both those that are visible and those infiltrated in its meat (please see data obtained from the analysis of an Acorn Fed Ibérico Ham), offer up more than 56% of oleic acid, pertaining to the Omega 9 series, for a total of up to 75% unsaturated fatty acids, which are in turn the healthiest. Unsaturated fatty acids, in particular oleic acid, contribute to an increase of the HDL level (good cholesterol) and reduce the LDL level (bad cholesterol), thereby being considered heart-healthy.
Thus the reason why olive oil is the fat that is most recommended by doctors and nutritionists. In olive oil the concentration of this fatty acid is close to 80%. In the case of animal products, Acorn Fed Ibérico Ham is also the product with the greatest proportion of this monounsaturated fatty acid (up to 58%). International bodies of maximum prestige such as the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) and national bodies such as the Asociación Española de Pediatría recommend consumption of oleic acid (in the shape of olive oil) in both the diet of children and adults.
The Ibérico pig is also known, due to all that explained above, as “a walking olive”. It does however not have as much fat as olive oil. In fact, if we remove the visible part of the fat then the product actually turns into a moderately fatty product, consumption of which is even acceptable in hypocaloric meal plans. Oh! And by the way, it also has a high content of Iron, folic acid, B vitamins…making it highly recommendable for one and all. And for all ages.
At any rate, if you have to follow a certain diet or you simply control your meal plans for health reasons, do please check with your specialist as this is merely an informative article for the general public and you should not consider it as a reference for any special nutritional needs.