Nutrición I+D Arturo Sánchez CIAL


Jamón Ibérico has more antioxidant properties in the case of pigs fed with acorns for two seasons

Estudio cerdo ibérico CIAL

The study of the Spanish Research Council (CSIC), which has been done in collaboration with Arturo Sánchez, suggests that those antioxidant properties may bring beneficial effects for the consumer´s health.


The results showed that no significant differences were observed in the plasma samples from the three different groups in terms of antioxidant capacity. This suggests that the amount of acorns ingested by the pigs does not have a significant influence on its plasma antioxidant properties.

However, the analysis of the Iberian ham samples from the three groups at different stages of the curing process revealed several things:

  • The Iberian ham’s antioxidant power significantly increased during the curing process.
  • No significant differences were found between the antioxidant power of the ham from pigs who had not been fed acorns and the group of animals fed acorns during one season.
  • Finally, we demonstrated for the first time that the Iberian ham’s antioxidant capacity from double-season acorn-fed pigs was increased to almost double the antioxidant power of the single season acorn-fed group or the one which did not consume acorns at all.

18 months of research THE PROCESS

A research group of the Spanish Research Council (CSIC), alongside with Arturo Sánchez, has unveiled their research study on the properties of Ibérico pork meat.

“The process started off with the goal of studying the proteolysis processes that naturally occur during the curing of jamón ibérico”, Dr. Marta Miguel explains, a researcher at the Institute of Food Science Research of CSIC.

The study has been done by comparing samples from three animal groups

1. Iberian pig who have not been fed acorns.

2. Iberian pig acorn-fed for one montanera, meaning one season of free-range feeding of acorns.

3. Iberian pig fed with acorns for two full acorn seasons or montaneras.

Meat and blood plasma samples were collected from all three groups at different stages of the ham curing process (0, 4, 12, 24, and 26 months) and the antioxidant capacity of every sample was analyzed.

Plato de Jamón Ibérico Arturo Sánchez


A study based on the meat of Jamón Ibérico

Jamones Arturo Sánchez CIAL

Fat vs Meat: Most of the previous research efforts have put their main focus on the benefits of the fat content in jamón ibérico de bellota.

Meanwhile, even though the fat content in this type of meat amounts only to 20-25% of the total, the biological properties of total, the biological properties of the other 75-80% of each Iberian pork leg have gone through little to no investigation.

“The process started off with the goal of studying the proteolysis processes that naturally occur during the curing of jamón ibérico”, Dr. Marta Miguel explains, a researcher at the Institute of Food Science Research of CSIC.

Given the consumer’s rising awareness of the correlation between food intake and health, a large part of the food sciences research has recently shifted towards the goal of showing the positive effects certain food products can have on our health.

“When it comes to jamón, the research studies are too few so far, especially those focused on 100% Iberian, acorn-fed pork ham. This is why we made the decision to focus our efforts on the proteolysis processes taking place in the process of curing of the Iberian ham, taking into acthe effects of this process on the development of smells and flavors, and specially on the formation of peptides whose biological activity is good for our health”, Dr. Marta Miguel adds.

Peptides What are they?

Peptides are short chains or sequences of amino acids joined together by peptide bonds when the amine group of an amino acid reacts with the carboxyl group of another.

These small chains tend to occur when a protein (a longer amino acid chain) goes through a biochemical reaction of hydrolysis prompted by an enzyme and breaks down into smaller fragments (peptides).

Besides their nutritional value, peptides can provide other beneficial biological activities such as the antioxidant effect. “In the case of jamón ibérico, proteolysis naturally occurs during the curing process”.

Marta Miguel CSIC


This is only the beginning

Arturo Sanchez conferencia CSIC

Bearing in mind that he consumption of food with antioxidant power can have positive effects on several afflictions such as high blood pressure, diabetes or cancer:

We have proposed the next steps to continue our research

1. Analyzing the peptide profile from different samples, testing whether this profile has a correlation with antioxidant capacities and identifying which peptide sequences are responsible for such biological activity.

2. Evaluating the effects of 100% acorn-fed Iberian ham on human health in terms of oxidative stress, cardiovascular system, hormones, and so on.

Science & Gastronomy

Arturo Sánchez crossed paths with the Spanish Science Council thanks to the FACYRE Committee on Science and Gastronomy. For the first time ever they decided to combine their knowledges and experience on the manufacturing of Iberian pork products under the scope of science. Their main goal was to put their 4-generation honored methods to a test and get a fair assessment of its end product’s healthy properties.


Arturo Sánchez has spent 100 years making ibérico pork products based in the town of Guijuelo (Salamanca). We were positive that our products, besides their unique smell, taste and texture, were extremely healthy for our consumers, but how to be scientifically sure?

A unique manufacturing

The key factor for Arturo Sánchez when it comes to manufacturing Iberian pork products is, first and foremost, using the best meats. Their 100% Iberian pigs are raised free-range on large pastures until they are 24 months old, feeding on acorns and herbs for two full acorn seasons.

The second important factor is the curing process. At Arturo Sánchez we follow an artisanal method of piece by piece production, using a minimal amount of salt and storing their hams in natural cellars for long periods of time.

Scientific evidence supports that two montaneras provide our products with beneficial properties on the consumer’s health, besides an exceptional taste.

Thus Arturo Sánchez renews its commitment with the Iberian pork sector and our efforts towards advancing the scientific knowledge of this gastronomical treasure.