Is Eating Ham Healthy?

Health is wealth, a phenomenon that is taught in schools throughout the world. It is something that needs to be understood from the very start of life and carried on forward until the end of life. However, there are many choices, one has to go through in maintaining a healthy lifestyle.  One of the biggest problems that people encounter in their everyday routine is to adapt to healthy eating habits. The topic that is to be discussed in this blog is eating ham healthy?

What a Ham is:

To start a discussion on the topic, one needs to know what ham is and how it can benefit or have adverse effects on someone’s lifestyle. Ham is a combination of many nutrients, such as iron, protein, and fats. There are many questions regarding the topic is eating ham healthy; some are confused that should it be included in a diet or not. In places like Australia and America, ham is used as an essential part of family diets.

Is Ham Prohibited

There is a growing concern about whether the ham should be prohibited or not. It is alright to be cautious about health, however, people tend to ask, is eating ham healthy or not. The answer to this question is that indeed ham is fattening; however, at the same time, it is also healthy. What they are worried about is their calorific value. There is a reason why diets all over the world have not excluded it just yet, despite having fattening ingredients.

Ingredients used in ham

Is eating ham healthy? To answer this question, it is crucial to take a look at the components included in it. It is a protein-rich and low-fat source used as a go-to sandwich filling with salt as an additional ingredient. There is a large variety of hams including lean deli ham, which is a tasty sandwich comprising of low fat but a large amount of Sodium present in it. On the other hand, cured ham steaks consist of potassium and calcium in small amounts.

Here are some of the essential ingredients as well as their effectiveness, which will clear up the confusion, i.e. is eating ham healthy:


The first ingredient that raises a lot of concerns in the mind of people regarding ham, is salt. Ham comprises of a high amount of Sodium Chloride (Table Salt). The required amount of salt intake in an adult is approximately up to 2000 mg per day, which may give rise to cardiovascular and kidney diseases. According to the National Heart Foundation, people suffering from blood pressure should take 1600mg of Sodium salt each day. The hams available in many of the supermarkets consists of 100g to 1200 mg per 100 g salt within it. Here is the following data related to Sodium intake vs Sodium Limit.


Sodium Consumption


Sodium Limit


1 to 3 years

200 mg/day


4 to 8 years



9 to 13 years

400-800 mg/day


14 to 18 years



So many sources of healthy foods such as sauces, breakfast cereals, and bread comprise of sodium, which is hidden within them. Therefore, this food must also be avoided.


The reason why people have concerns about ‘Is eating ham healthy’, is because it contains a significant amount of fat. However, a lot of them are not familiar with the fact that the quality of fat is an exceptional one in ham, which also contains a significant amount of antioxidants. It is necessary to keep in mind that the fat is dependent on a range of variables i.e. the part of the ham consumed, the diet of the animal, the breed, age, gender, and habitat. But the reality is that, though associating ham using a high-fat content, greater than 50 percent of the fat from Iberian ham is unsaturated fat, mainly oleic acid (which can be useful for health). Mono-unsaturated fatty acids are much higher in beef than in other meats, primarily when the animals have been acorn-fed since it will have a high oleic acid content. A ham comprises of a small portion of saturated fat contained in a total fat of 4.25 grams.

A highly saturated fat diet results in reduced levels of cholesterol by increasing harmful LDL amounts and lowering valuable HDL numbers. Saturated fat consumption should be limited between 7 to 10% percent of the total amount of calories taken every day.

Nutrients: The same serving of deli ham provides 1.6 mg of the 8 to 11 mg of zinc needed daily. Zinc boosts immunity and also promote appropriate wound healing. Deli Ham supplies a great amount of potassium to get a normal heartbeat, as well as niacin for proper digestion. A serving of ham steak includes 2 mg of zinc and 19.6 grams of protein. As compared to Deli ham, a ham steak also adds potassium and niacin, however, the quantity of it is much smaller.


A great deal of sodium in most types of ham is a nutritional supplement to the meals. As far as adults are concerned, the daily limit for sodium usage is 2300 mg. On the other hand, African Americans, adults over age 50, and people suffering from heart problems must reduce the sodium intake to 1500 mg or less daily. For such people rise in sodium consumption, may increase the chances of hypertension, stroke, and kidney diseases, as well as increasing the risk of heart disease. There is 1203 mg of sodium in a 3.5-ounce serving of deli ham, while in ham steak, there are 1,269 milligrams of Sodium.


Cured deli ham and ham beans contain nitrates to help preserve the meat and improve the taste. Consuming large quantities of nitrates can cause Methemoglobinemia, which happens when red blood cells are not able to transport oxygen through your body correctly. The nitrates in cured meats may also be broken down to nitrosamines, which are carcinogens and may be connected to an increased risk of certain types of cancer. International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) claims that a slice of Ham is one of the major reasons for the rise in Cancer.


Processed meat

As far as the nourishment research study is concerned, determining health outcomes can be challenging and incredibly tricky. Various pieces of evidence indicate that one of the major causes of cancer is processed meat.


The straightforward answer is still unknown to people, because there may be various other factors involved within that may give rise to cancer. In conclusion, IARC stated that chances of cancer rise to 18%, if one consumes process meat up to 50 grams daily. Regrettably, one cannot safely say what amount is risk-free or ‘secure’.The Cancer Council Australia also acclaims that meats such as ham, frankfurters, salami, and bacon must be collectively avoided.


Ham or processed meat is wrongly believed as a source of protein by many children as well as adults. Many of them like to store it in the fridge, not only because it is tasty but also because it is tasty. So if anyone wants to get rid of the habit of processed meat usage, the first thing to do is to create a plan. Dietary changes do not happen overnight, it is a gradual process, but requires determination and intent. Here are some of the steps that would help you overcome the craving of processed meat:

Tip 1: Make a list of replacement

Tip 2: Eat them as an alternative to ham but do not overlook ham as well

Tip 3: Gradually, decrease the usage of processed meat/ham. If you take two slices or more, try reducing it to one

Tip 4: Keep looking for alternatives. Try replacing the ham with feta cheese

 Alternatives to Processed Meat/Ham

Ham or processed meat can be a dangerous choice. However, instead of destroying all the fun, it is better to search for alternatives. Some of them are mentioned below:

  1. Canned tuna

Canned Tuna is one of the replacements for ham or processed meat. It is also a form of protein that is lean, easy, and inexpensive. However, people do have concerns about it because of the presence of mercury. Instead of using “albacore” or “solid white”, try “Chunk light” instead. If one wishes to use it with Mayonnaise, he/she can because it is a healthy fat.

  1. Peanut Butter

Peanut butter is one of the better alternatives for ham or processed meat. These can be tasty if used with sliced peaches, strawberries, or blueberries.

  1. Soup

Though soup cannot be used in sandwiches, however, one can use it with butter. There are a variety of options to choose from, without including any form of processed meat or ham.

  1. Egg Salad

As compared to processed meat or ham, an egg salad sandwich is an alternative like no other. Not only is it comforting, but also homey. You can have it in a variety of ways including celery mashed together with mayonnaise, chopped up hard-boiled eggs, or with onions. To enhance your taste, feel free to season it with paprika, salt, or pepper. Curry, mustard, hot sauce, green onion, or cilantro can also help to create a variety of your taste.

  1. Dried Fruit

Another alternative worth mentioning in the list is using dried fruit. Despite it being a break time snack, it also consists of a lot of sugar. But it is one of the many items that can turn out to be the perfect replacement for ham or processed meat.