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Pork belongs to the protein foods group, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. While some cuts of pork -- such as bacon -- come loaded with fat, pork chops offer a leaner option. In addition to protein, they contain vitamins and minerals that benefit your health. However, they can serve as a source of foodborne illness, so make sure you practice food safety when preparing pork to prevent food poisoning.
Most of the calories in pork chops come from their protein content. Each 3-ounce serving or pork chops provides you with 19 grams of protein, which provides 70 percent of its calories. Pork chops contain complete protein, which means that consuming them provides you with all the amino acids you need to maintain healthy tissue. Protein also keeps your immune system strong, aids in tissue repair, helps maintain your body's hormone balance and nourishes lean muscle tissue.
Phosphorus and Selenium
Consume pork chops as a source of essential minerals, including selenium and phosphorus. Each cell in your body contains phosphorus -- it makes up part of your cell membranes, proteins and DNA. Your bones and teeth also contain phosphorus, and low levels of phosphorus can cause bone pain. You need selenium for enzyme function. Selenium-dependent enzymes support muscle and blood vessel function, and also aid in the production of thyroid hormones. A 3-ounce serving of pork chops contains 199 milligrams of phosphorus -- 28 percent of your recommended daily intake -- as well as 29.4 milligrams of selenium, or 53 percent of your daily selenium requirements, according to the Linus Pauling Institute.
Pork chops contain niacin, or vitamin B-3, a nutrient your cells need to carry out chemical reactions. Niacin helps your cells break down nutrients -- including fats, alcohol, carbohydrates and fats -- into energy. It also helps your cells communicate and aids in new cell growth and development. Getting enough niacin might help fight disease -- a diet rich in niacin correlates with a reduced risk of cancers, including oral and esophageal cancer. Consuming 3 ounces of pork chops boosts your niacin intake by 7 milligrams, providing half of the recommended daily niacin intake for women and 44 percent for men, according to the Linus Pauling Institute.
Watch your serving size when consuming pork chops. Three ounces makes up one serving, but each chop might contain two or more servings. Either measure your pork, or eyeball it by cutting a piece approximately the size of a deck of cards. Make sure you wash any knives or cutting boards that come into contact with raw pork before they touch other ingredients in your meal, to avoid cross-contamination.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends cutting any visible fat from your meat before cooking to lower your fat intake, and draining any fat that seeps out during the cooking process. Choose healthful cooking methods for your chops -- such as grilling or baking -- that don't require adding extra fat. Top your pork with fruit salsas or sugar-free applesauce, and pair it with your favorite vegetables to make a healthful meal.