Could there be health benefits to eating one of your favourite foods and drinks? Belly pork, for example, is regarded as being unhealthy for its fat content, however, recent articles suggest it could be more nutrient dense than you might originally think.

Find out more in this week’s Nutrition News.

Are there health benefits to eating belly pork?

Pork is regarded as a meat with one of the highest fat contents, with belly pork being a particularly fatty cut, however, could its vitamin content mean it is actually good for health? This article by Healthline explores the potential health benefits, and health risks, of belly pork.

While belly pork Is high in fat, at 60g per 113g serving, it is also rich in a range of vitamins and minerals, such as:

The other benefit of pork belly is that it is typically a low cost cut of meat that is very versatile, being used in a range of cuisines around the world, which means it is an affordable way of securing a wide range of nutrients.

However, despite the great nutrient profile of belly pork, it is important to consider its high fat content and consume in moderation. Slow cooking the meat is the most healthful way of cooking as it reduces the fat, rendering out into the cooking juices.

Green tea and respiratory viruses

Besides being a great hot beverage, green tea also boasts a wealth of health supporting benefits. This article looks at research that suggests that green tea can even support our immune systems by inhibiting the proliferation of viruses in the upper respiratory tract (URT).

The research evaluated findings from six different randomised control trials and four prospective cohort studies. The findings were consistent with prior meta-analysis that suggested tea gargling and tea catechin provide a relatively easy way to inhibit the spread of viral respiratory infections.

It’s thought that the catechins, in green tea, most specifically epigallocatechin gallate (EGCg), inhibit the proliferation of viruses in the URT by forming a kind of protective barrier in the pharynx. EGCg in particular was shown to have antiviral properties by physically binding to viruses in the URT and flushing them out of the subject’s system.

While further studies are needed to further establish the extent of these protective properties in green tea, the research illustrates a relatively simple and healthy way to support the immune system against foreign viruses of the URT.

Study suggests dietary flavanols may assist weight management

Flavanols (FL), also known as flavan-3-ols, have previously been linked to health benefits such as heart health support, improving cholesterol, and increasing glucose tolerance. Now a recent study, as reported by Medical News Today has evaluated its potential in weight management through fat metabolism.

Flavanol-rich foods contain antioxidant, anticarcinogenic, cardiopreventive, antimicrobial, anti-viral, and neuroprotective properties. Exactly how these flavanols prompt these properties has never been fully understood. Recently a team of researchers from Japan investigated flavanols to gain a greater understanding of how they work within the body.

In this research, they found that they were associated with fat browning, which is the process by which white adipose tissue is converted into brown adipose tissue. These results were shown not only in subcutaneous fat but also in visceral fat, which came as somewhat of a surprise to the researchers. This discovery is notable because excess visceral fat is what is responsible for obesity risk.

While further research is needed of greater “scale and rigor”, the results are promising and take the hypothesis closer to a robust conclusion.

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Alison Astill-Smith author Alison is the Founder of Metabolics who writes about Metabolics updates, events and natural healthcare. Her experience and passion for natural supplements and healthcare comes from her years of experience as a practising osteopath, having founded Metabolics in her search for high quality, natural products in her own work. Alison has been a qualified and practising Osteopath since 1981 and regularly gives seminars on a range of healthcare subjects to the wider practitioner community helping share her knowledge and experience.