Health Benefits of Spanish Chorizo (Sausage)
Proclaiming the health benefits of Spanish chorizo sounds almost like a contradiction in terms. After all chorizo is a sausage of sorts and what sausage ever made it onto a health food list? However when you are putting together a balanced and nutritious diet, there is no reason why a good quality Spanish chorizo should not be included on the list in moderation.
A good source of protein, B vitamins and useful trace minerals, Spanish chorizo packs a lot of flavour into a small space. You don’t need a lot of chorizo to feel totally satisfied; just a little of the softer types of chorizo added to a stew will add new depth and a wonderful smoky flavour; a few thin slices of the harder cured chorizos, as part of a tapas selection, will satisfy your appetite sooner than any amount of duller snacks.
Spanish chorizo’s chief flavouring spice is pimentón, a smoked Spanish paprika. Pimentón imparts a mellow but distinctive smoky flavour, and its oil plays an essential part in preserving the meat. Paprika is also known as an aid to digestion, stimulating the production of saliva and digestive juices and helping your body derive the maximum benefit from your meal. Besides that, it contains a good amount of vitamins A, C, E and K so is altogether beneficial in the diet.
The second main flavouring in Spanish chorizo is garlic. Garlic too aids digestion, is a natural antibiotic and naturally lowers blood pressure.
If you’re looking for the healthiest option among Spanish chorizos, then the choice has to be a Chorizo Iberico de Bellota. Just like the hams made from this special breed of Spanish pig, allowed to forage on the oak woods and pastures eating herbs and acorns, the meat has a special flavour and the fat contains oleic acid due to the pigs’ diet during the finishing period,. The oleic acid (also contained in olive oil) helps the body produce good cholesterol and reduce the bad. So a chorizo made from this meat will be a whole lot more beneficial to your health than any other sausage.
Most good quality Spanish chorizo is made from a mixture of the lean pork loin balanced with fattier belly pork, which is essential to the flavour and curing process of the meat and without which it would be tough and dry. Unlike some other types of sausage, it is not just a dumping ground for all the leftover bits of the pig and it tends to have much less fat than Mexican chorizo, just enough to produce the perfect result. Chorizo cured for tapas tends to have less fat than the softer chorizos intended for cooking with, so if you are cutting down on your fat intake choose a firm, leaner chorizo.
Known for its rich red colour, equally delicious eaten in slices as tapas or used in cooking. Smoky, earthy, sweet with a gentle tang, Spanish chorizo has been a staple of Spanish cuisine for centuries.