Recently the press has been adorned with headlines regarding the news that black pudding is now considered a superfood. This is great for those of us who need little convincing to begin our day with a fry up but is it really something that should be added to our diets on a regular basis?

As with any food, when consumed in moderation and incorporated as part of a healthy lifestyle black pudding is perfectly acceptable. This doesn’t mean however that we should all rush to the nearest butchers counter and begin stockpiling the stuff in anticipation of a national shortage as freezers become filled with black pudding meatballs and black pudding super food smoothies begin popping up in quirky, hipster cafes.

Although extremely tasty, the newly labelled superfood is made up of just a couple of main ingredients, which might just turn your stomach. Blood, fat, salt and some kind of binder, usually oats, are the constituent components.

Fat contributes 9kcal per gram to energy intake, not all that great if you’re trying to watch your waistline. Obesity levels are increasing at a staggering rate and with obesity comes a vast array of obesity related diseases including but by no means limited to cardiovascular disease, stroke and diabetes. If you already fall in to the overweight category black pudding probably isn’t the best choice for you, I’d stick to the poached eggs! Add in the fact that black pudding is usually fried, meaning it is doused in yet more calorie dense oil and those poached eggs suddenly seem a whole lot more appealing for anybody following a calorie controlled diet.

Salt is the next ingredient that raises alarm bells. High levels of sodium in the blood draws in water, increasing blood volume and leading to an increase in blood pressure. This leads to added strain on the heart, arteries, kidneys and brain. Eventually this additional workload on the heart can lead to blood vessel and organ damage, resulting in stroke, heart disease and organ failure. The good news is that it has been shown a diet incorporating potassium can help to reduce the effects of high blood pressure so if you do decide that black pudding is an integral part of your diet try to increase intake of potassium rich foods like bananas, apricots, sweet potatoes and spinach.

Some individuals could benefit from the ‘superfood’ properties of black pudding. Its rich iron content would make it an ideal addition to the diet of an anaemia sufferer or just females in general who require a higher quantity of iron in their diet. Iron is an essential component in the formation of haemoglobin, the protein responsible for transporting oxygen in the blood.

Black pudding also has a very high protein content, probably why it has been hailed as a superfood by bodybuilders in the first place! It is well known that protein provides the building blocks for muscle tissue, giving bodybuilders everywhere the gains they dream of.

Black pudding does have a place in the diet, however it would be naïve to recommend that we all immediately swap our chicken for black pudding, maybe a little on the side wouldn’t be such a bad thing as long as you don’t already suffer from hypertension, obesity or obesity related diseases.

 

- Charlotte Fisher

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Nutritional Science Student