Ribs are naturally carb-free (minus any carbs in added sauces, of course) so all of their calories come from protein and fat. A 3-ounce portion of ribs – about 210 calories', or 1 ribs' worth of meat – supplies 24 grams of protein and contains 12 grams of fat. That protein is a great way to fuel up your muscles, because pork ribs supply all the amino acids you need to rebuild muscle tissue.
The fat comes from a mix of saturated and unsaturated fatty acids, and each serving of ribs has 5 grams of saturated fat. Nutritionally, that's less than ideal, since saturated fat increases the levels of "bad" cholesterol in your bloodstream. Their saturated fat content is why ribs are best eaten as an occasional treat rather than an everyday staple.
While pork ribs' fat content might be less-than-healthy, its mineral content is great for you. Pork ribs supply significant amounts of iron and zinc, two nutrients you need to get from your diet. Both minerals play an important role in immunity, and iron also helps supply your cells and tissues with oxygen by carrying oxygen in your bloodstream. A serving of ribs has between 35 and 50 percent of your daily zinc needs, depending on your sex, and 8 and 15 percent of your iron needs.
You'll also get a significant amount of some vitamins in each serving of pork ribs, particularly vitamins B-12 and D. Vitamin D is a hormone that helps your body use calcium effectively, and it's crucial for strong bones and teeth. Vitamin B-12 keeps your nervous system healthy, and it also plays a role in oxygenating your tissues to keep your cells metabolically active.
Each 3-ounce serving of pork ribs nets you one-third of your vitamin B-12 needs. You'll also get 7 percent of the vitamin D you need in a day. While that's not a ton of vitamin D, it's still significant, since so few foods serve as sources of this nutrient.
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