What Are the Benefits of Chorizo?

Eat chorizo as a source of beneficial vitamin B-12 and selenium.
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Chorizo, a type of sausage often flavored with smoked peppers or paprika, is a staple in Portuguese, Spanish and Brazilian cuisines. It adds flavor to sandwiches and soups, and -- when combined with diced vegetables -- makes a hearty filling for portobello mushrooms. Chorizo contains several nutrients that have a beneficial effect on your health but, because it also has some nutritional drawbacks, you should consume it in moderation.


Consuming 3 ounces of chorizo boosts your protein intake by 14.5 grams. This provides approximately one-quarter of the daily protein requirements for an average 150-pound individual, according to Iowa State University Extension. Protein helps to keep your tissue strong, makes up a part of your blood, maintains your body's hormone balance and plays a role in the function of your immune system. Getting enough protein supports an active lifestyle by helping to nourish and build lean muscle tissue, and helps you look your best by promoting healthy hair growth.

Selenium and Zinc

Chorizo serves as a rich source of essential minerals, including selenium and zinc. Selenium protects your cells from damaging free radicals by activating antioxidant enzymes, and helps you make thyroid hormones. Zinc plays a role in cell communication, nourishes your cell membranes and activates almost 100 enzymes important to your health. A serving of chorizo contains 18 micrograms of selenium and 2.9 milligrams of zinc. This provides one-third of your daily selenium requirements, as well as 36 percent of the daily zinc requirements for women or 26 percent for men, according to the Institute of Medicine.

Choline and Vitamin B-12

Three ounces of chorizo provide you with 82 milligrams of choline -- 15 percent of the recommended daily intake for men or 19 percent for women. An essential nutrient, choline plays a role in fat metabolism and helps you make fatty acids important for healthy cell membranes. Chorizo also contains vitamin B-12, a nutrient that supports nerve communication and aids in oxygen transport. A serving of chorizo contains 1.7 micrograms of vitamin B-12, or 71 percent of your recommended daily intake, according to the Institute of Medicine.

Nutritional Drawbacks

Chorizo also contains lots of sodium and fat. Each 3-ounce serving of chorizo provides 33 grams of total fat, including 12 grams of saturated fat. Consuming foods high in saturated fat can threaten your health, increasing your risk of stroke and heart disease, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. A serving of chorizo also contains 1,050 milligrams of sodium, or approximately two-thirds of your daily sodium allowance, according to the Institute of Medicine. Sodium also increases your risk of heart disease and stroke and raises your blood pressure, which can harm your kidneys. Eat chorizo in moderation to limit your saturated fat and sodium intake.

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