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Pork products for sale at a market in Georgia (Dietze; FAO)

Pigs and Human Nutrition


Pork is a major component in many traditional diets. Almost all parts of the pig can be consumed, and consumer preferences vary enormously.

The benefits of pork in human nutrition are various. First, pork is a valuable source of protein and of essential amino acids that humans must obtain from external sources because they cannot synthesize them. Pig fat, whether intramuscular or from the fat layer, is a highly valued source of energy in times of unstable food supply; only in recent decades has it become a less desired food item in the western world.

In terms of micronutrients, pork is a source of minerals such as phosphorus, selenium, sodium, zinc, potassium, copper, iron and magnesium. Pork provides vitamins B6, B12, thiamine, niacin, riboflavin and pantothenic acid, which are beneficial for healthy growth and development in children and for the constitutions of adults.