The Hill — It’s a question that hasn’t been asked before, even by chefs: What is it that makes spiral ham so special?
It’s not the flavor or the texture, or the complexity of the crust, or even the meat.
It’s the meat itself.
And what makes it special?
In a study published last year in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers from Cornell University, The Ohio State University and University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center found that the meat is packed with enzymes that make it chewier and more flavorful.
In a few words, the meat’s meaty qualities are more pronounced in the spiral-ham version.
It was also found that it contains the protein collagen, which helps bind the meat together.
That protein helps to reduce the risk of bacterial overgrowth.
The researchers found that spirals, as a whole, contain more collagen than white bread, a common bread in many parts of the world, according to the Cornell University website.
“This is a key finding,” said David B. Hahn, a professor of nutrition at the Cornell Medical College and one of the study’s authors.
“People have been eating meat and it has been good for us for thousands of years.”
“We were really intrigued by this because it’s a good, simple, meat that’s high in protein and fiber,” said Hahn.
“And it’s also really good for you.”
Hahn said the results of his research are a big reason why spirals are considered one of America’s favorite foods.
The meat is often considered a source of nutrients like vitamin A and iron, which are needed for normal health.
And spirals also provide a variety of health benefits, including reducing cholesterol levels and reducing the risk for heart disease.
The scientists analyzed data from a large study that was conducted in the U.S. between 1994 and 2005 and found that people who ate the most spirals had lower body mass indexes and had higher levels of physical activity, including lower risk for type 2 diabetes and hypertension, according the Cornell website.
The study also found the spiral ham is high in vitamins C and E and B-12.
It also had higher intakes of iron, calcium and folate, the researchers said.
The research was done on about 1,200 participants.
The findings were significant, according.
“The higher the intake of spirals in the diet, the better the outcome of the participants was,” said Dr. James F. Varma, a cardiologist at the University of Houston School of Medicine.
“It’s not that you eat a lot of spirars but you eat more of the good stuff.”
A recent review by the American Heart Association said spirals “are the best meat for a healthy heart, but they can’t be consumed all the time.”
“The association’s advice is to reduce spirals from three to two portions a day to two servings a day,” Varma told The Hill.
“If you eat spirals as part of your meal, they’re fine.”
What’s the big deal?
While it’s good to try out different foods, eating spiral meat is just as healthy as eating white bread.
“Spirals have the same amount of protein and iron in them as white bread,” Hahn told The Wall Street Journal.
“That’s what makes them the best of both worlds.”
According to a study by the USDA, the amount of fiber in spiral ham and white bread is comparable, and the amount in spiral meat, on average, is around 50 percent higher.
The American Heart Federation says spirals can be a healthy food.
“We’re very happy that they’re becoming popular,” said Jeff Fassbender, executive director of the American Meat Institute.
“They’re not the healthiest meat to eat, but it’s not a problem.
The question is, can we consume it all the way?”