New research from the American Chemical Society (ACS) has shown that dry-cured ham bones contain peptides--mostly derived from collagen and hemoglobin proteins--that may benefit cardiovascular health, according to a report on ScienceDaily.

During the experiment, the researchers ground up ham bones, then simulated cooking and human digestion to see if the bone samples could block the activity of enzymes involved in heart disease. The goal: To determine the presence and stability of peptides showing angiotensin I-converting enzyme (ACE-I), endothelin-converting enzyme (ECE), dipeptidyl peptidase-IV (DPP-IV), and platelet-activating factor-acetylhydrolase (PAF-AH) inhibitory activity derived from dry-cured ham bones.

Researcher Leticia Mora explained this process to WholeFoods in further detail: “Certain peptides have the property to inhibit the activity of enzymes that are related with the cardiovascular system. For example, ACE-I inhibitory peptides inhibit the formation of angiotensin II; that is a potent vasoconstrictor, so the inhibition of the enzyme in many cases would permit a decrease in blood pressure. Thus, ACE-I and ECE are related with the antihypertensive activity, whereas PAF-AH is related with the antithrombotic activity.”

The bones were also shown to release additional bioactive peptides. As ScienceDaily reported, this suggests that using ham bones to make broths and stews could be beneficial to heart health.