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Mortadella vs. Salami — Health Impact and Nutrition Comparison

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Article author photo Sveta Badalyan by Sveta Badalyan | Last updated on May 27, 2024
Medically reviewed by Elen Khachatrian Article author photo Elen Khachatrian
Mortadella
vs
Salami

Summary

Mortadella is high in vitamin B2, fats, carbs, and calcium. In contrast, salami is high in calories, sodium, potassium, phosphorus, and vitamins B3, B5, B6, and K. Salami also has more cholesterol, protein, selenium, choline, magnesium, zinc, and iron.

Introduction

Mortadella and salami are Italian cold cuts. Salami has a long history and is native to Italy. The word "salami" comes from the Italian word "salare", which means "to salt". Historically, salami was created as a method for preserving meat before the advent of refrigeration. Different regions in Italy have unique variations of salami, each with distinct flavors and ingredients. Mortadella also originates from Italy, specifically from the city of Bologna. The name "mortadella" comes from the Latin word "mortarium," which refers to the mortar used for grinding the meat.

The terms "salami" and "salumi" refer to different things. Salami is a variety of cured sausage made from fermented and air-dried meat. Salumi is an Italian term that refers to all Italian cured meats, including salami, prosciutto, pancetta, mortadella, and others.

Classification

Salami and mortadella are well-known types of cured meats. They differ in several key aspects.

Ingredients

Salami is made from ground meat (usually pork, but sometimes beef or a combination of meats), fat, and various seasonings such as garlic, salt, pepper, and wine. Some variations may include additional ingredients like herbs and spices. Mortadella is made from ground pork and pork fat and often contains additional ingredients like black pepper, pistachios, or myrtle berries. It may also include wine and various seasonings.

Curing Process

Salami undergoes a curing process that involves fermentation and drying. The meat is encased in natural or synthetic casings, fermented to develop its flavor, and then air-dried for several weeks or months. This process preserves the meat and gives it a distinctive tangy flavor. Mortadella is cooked rather than fermented and air-dried. The meat mixture is encased in a large casing and then slow-cooked for several hours. This cooking process gives it a tender texture and mild flavor.

Appearance

Mortadella and salami are sold in large and cylindrical shapes. The slices of mortadella are pink with visible white spots of fat and, in some varieties, green pistachios or black peppercorns. The slices of salami often have a mottled appearance due to the mix of meat and fat. Mortadella has a smooth, uniform texture due to the fine grinding of the meat and fat. The high-fat content gives it a creamy mouthfeel. On the other hand, salami has a firm, coarse texture. The texture can range from finely ground to coarsely ground, depending on the type of salami. 

Taste and Use

The flavor of salami is typically rich, tangy, and slightly spicy due to the fermentation process and the blend of seasonings. There are many regional variations with unique flavor profiles. Mortadella has a mild, sweet flavor with a hint of spice from the peppercorns or other added ingredients. It lacks the tanginess found in fermented meats like salami. 

Mortadella and salami are popular choices for sandwiches. You can use them as a snack or pizza topping. Salami and mortadella can be wrapped around cheese, olives, or vegetables to create tasty appetizers. Salami can be used in various cooked dishes, such as stews, omelets, and pasta dishes. Mortadella can be used as a filling for stuffed vegetables or as part of a stuffing mix for meats.

Varieties

Some well-known Italian salamis include Genoa salami, Pepperoni, Milano salami, and SoppressataMortadella di Bologna, mortadella with pistachios, truffles, black peppercorns, and chicken mortadella are common types of mortadella.

Nutrition

This section of the article will compare the nutritional information about mortadella and salami, concentrating on differences.

Macronutrients and Calories

Salami is a little denser compared to mortadella.Mortadella contains 52% water, whereas salami has 45% water

Macronutrient Comparison

Macronutrient breakdown side-by-side comparison
Contains more Carbs +27.1%
Contains more Water +15.7%
Contains more Protein +33.5%
Contains more Other +61.2%
Equal in Fats - 25.9
16% 25% 3% 52% 3%
Protein: 16.37 g
Fats: 25.39 g
Carbs: 3.05 g
Water: 52.3 g
Other: 2.89 g
22% 26% 2% 45% 5%
Protein: 21.85 g
Fats: 25.9 g
Carbs: 2.4 g
Water: 45.19 g
Other: 4.66 g
Contains more Carbs +27.1%
Contains more Water +15.7%
Contains more Protein +33.5%
Contains more Other +61.2%
Equal in Fats - 25.9

Calories

Compared to mortadella, salami has more calories per hundred grams. A hundred grams of mortadella provides 311 calories, whereas salami has 336 calories.

Protein

Compared to mortadella, salami is higher in protein content. A hundred grams of mortadella has 16.37g of protein, whereas salami provides 21.85g

Fats

Mortadella and salami have equal amounts of fats. In a 100g serving, they have 25g of fats. Salami has slightly less saturated fats, whereas mortadella has slightly more polyunsaturated fats.

Fat Type Comparison

Fat type breakdown side-by-side comparison
Contains more Polyunsaturated fat +23.4%
Equal in Saturated Fat - 9.316
Equal in Monounsaturated Fat - 11.127
40% 47% 13%
Saturated Fat: 9.51 g
Monounsaturated Fat: 11.38 g
Polyunsaturated fat: 3.12 g
41% 48% 11%
Saturated Fat: 9.316 g
Monounsaturated Fat: 11.127 g
Polyunsaturated fat: 2.529 g
Contains more Polyunsaturated fat +23.4%
Equal in Saturated Fat - 9.316
Equal in Monounsaturated Fat - 11.127

Cholesterol

Compared to mortadella, salami is higher in cholesterol. In a 100g serving, salami and mortadella provide 89mg and 56mg of cholesterol, respectively.

Carbohydrates

Mortadella is high in carbs. A hundred grams of mortadella provides 3.05g of carbs, whereas salami contains 2.4g.

Carbohydrate type comparison

Carbohydrate type breakdown side-by-side comparison
46% 54%
Starch: 0 g
Sucrose: 0.44 g
Glucose: 0.52 g
Fructose: 0 g
Lactose: 0 g
Maltose: 0 g
Galactose: 0 g

Vitamins

Salami has over 2.2 times more vitamin B3, two times more vitamin K, and 2.7 times more vitamin B5, whereas mortadella has over 429 times more vitamin B2. In a 100g serving, salami and mortadella provide 0.357mg and 153mg of vitamin B2, respectively. Salami is also high in vitamins B6 and B1. They are equal in vitamin E and folate content.

Vitamin Comparison

Vitamin comparison score is based on the number of vitamins by which one or the other food is richer. The "coverage" charts below show how much of the daily needs can be covered by 300 grams of the food.
:
7
Salami
Contains more Vitamin B2 +42757.1%
Contains more Vitamin B1 +208.4%
Contains more Vitamin B3 +126.4%
Contains more Vitamin B5 +173%
Contains more Vitamin B6 +253.1%
Contains more Choline +29.5%
Contains more Vitamin K +100%
Equal in Vitamin E - 0.22
Equal in Vitamin D - 1
Equal in Folate - 3
Equal in Vitamin B12 - 1.52
Vitamin A Vitamin E Vitamin D Vitamin C Vitamin B1 Vitamin B2 Vitamin B3 Vitamin B5 Vitamin B6 Folate Vitamin B12 Choline Vitamin K 0% 5% 30% 0% 30% 35308% 51% 27% 30% 3% 185% 40% 4%
Vitamin A Vitamin E Vitamin D Vitamin C Vitamin B1 Vitamin B2 Vitamin B3 Vitamin B5 Vitamin B6 Folate Vitamin B12 Choline Vitamin K 0% 5% 30% 0% 92% 83% 114% 73% 106% 3% 191% 51% 8%
Contains more Vitamin B2 +42757.1%
Contains more Vitamin B1 +208.4%
Contains more Vitamin B3 +126.4%
Contains more Vitamin B5 +173%
Contains more Vitamin B6 +253.1%
Contains more Choline +29.5%
Contains more Vitamin K +100%
Equal in Vitamin E - 0.22
Equal in Vitamin D - 1
Equal in Folate - 3
Equal in Vitamin B12 - 1.52

Minerals

Salami has more potassium, phosphorus, cholineseleniumzinc, and iron. Salami and mortadella have high amounts of sodium, salami being higher. In a 100g serving, salami and mortadella provide 1740mg and 1246mg of sodium, respectively. 

Mortadella has more calcium, whereas salami is high in manganesemagnesium, and copper.

Mineral Comparison

Mineral comparison score is based on the number of minerals by which one or the other food is richer. The "coverage" charts below show how much of the daily needs can be covered by 300 grams of the food.
Contains more Calcium +20%
Contains less Sodium -28.4%
Contains more Iron +11.4%
Contains more Magnesium +72.7%
Contains more Phosphorus +96.9%
Contains more Potassium +93.9%
Contains more Zinc +39.5%
Contains more Copper +495%
Contains more Manganese +3160%
Contains more Selenium +38.5%
Calcium Iron Magnesium Phosphorus Potassium Sodium Zinc Copper Manganese Selenium 6% 53% 8% 42% 15% 163% 58% 20% 4% 124%
Calcium Iron Magnesium Phosphorus Potassium Sodium Zinc Copper Manganese Selenium 5% 59% 14% 82% 28% 227% 80% 119% 128% 171%
Contains more Calcium +20%
Contains less Sodium -28.4%
Contains more Iron +11.4%
Contains more Magnesium +72.7%
Contains more Phosphorus +96.9%
Contains more Potassium +93.9%
Contains more Zinc +39.5%
Contains more Copper +495%
Contains more Manganese +3160%
Contains more Selenium +38.5%

Oxalate

Mortadella and salami are oxalate-free.

Glycemic Index

Mortadella and salami are low-GI foods.

Acidity

The potential renal acid load (PRAL) level shows the food's capacity to degrade into bases or acids within the body. Mortadella has a PRAL level of 7.7, whereas the PRAL value of salami is 10.4. Both are acidic, salami being more acid-forming.

Weight Loss & Diets

Vegans and vegetarians exclude all animal products. Traditional mortadella and salami are not allowed in a vegan/vegetarian diet as they are made from animal products. The keto diet focuses on consuming low-carb, high-protein, and high-fat foods. Mortadella and salami can be part of this diet. Traditional mortadella and salami are not typically allowed in a strict Paleo diet because of their processing. Mortadella and salami can be part of the Mediterranean diet, but they should be eaten in moderation and balanced with other nutrient-dense, whole foods.

Health Impact

Cardiovascular Health

Overall, evidence indicates that high consumption of processed meats like salami and mortadella may increase the risk of strokecoronary heart disease (CHD), and heart failure (HF) (1). 

The study suggests that high levels of sodium and preservatives in processed meats can lead to hypertension and other adverse cardiovascular effects. 

High consumption of saturated fats can lead to higher cholesterol levels and atherosclerosis

Moreover, harmful compounds, such as nitrosamines, formed during processing and cooking may negatively impact vascular health (2, 3).

Diabetes

Growing evidence suggests that high consumption of unprocessed red meat and processed meat like mortadella and salami may increase the risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM).  Fasting glucose levels may be significantly elevated for every additional 50 grams per day of processed meat consumed. The study also found that consuming high amounts of processed meats such as salami and mortadella before pregnancy is associated with an increased risk of gestational diabetes (1).

  Digestive Health

According to the study, reformulated salami with added probiotics and fiber may positively affect gut health by improving inflammatory and antioxidant markers and increasing butyrate production. The presence of probiotics that survive digestion suggests potential benefits for the gut microbiome. However, more extensive studies are needed to confirm these effects, particularly in individuals with gut health issues (4).

Cancer

Eating mortadella is associated with an increased risk of several cancers, including colon, laryngeal, lung, breast, and prostate cancer. Similarly, consuming salami is linked to a higher risk of laryngeal, breast cancer, and prostate adenocarcinoma. According to the study, consumption of processed meat may increase the risk of lung cancer. When looking at specific types of processed meat, there is a significant rise in lung cancer risk associated with consuming mortadella, salami, ham, hot dogs, and salted meat. The study suggests that mortadella consumption is associated with a high risk of gastric cancer (5).

Article author photo Sveta Badalyan
Education: General Medicine at YSMU
Last updated: May 27, 2024
Medically reviewed by Elen Khachatrian

Infographic

Mortadella vs Salami infographic
Infographic link

Comparison summary table

Pay attention to the rightmost column. It displays the amounts side by side, giving a clearer understanding of the difference.
Mortadella Salami
Rich in minerals ok
Lower in Saturated Fat ok
Rich in vitamins ok
Lower in Sugar ok
Lower in Sodium ok
Lower in Cholesterol ok
Lower in price ok
Lower in Glycemic Index Equal

All nutrients comparison - raw data values

Nutrient Mortadella Salami Opinion
Net carbs 3.05g 2.4g Mortadella
Protein 16.37g 21.85g Salami
Fats 25.39g 25.9g Salami
Carbs 3.05g 2.4g Mortadella
Calories 311kcal 336kcal Salami
Sugar 0g 0.96g Mortadella
Calcium 18mg 15mg Mortadella
Iron 1.4mg 1.56mg Salami
Magnesium 11mg 19mg Salami
Phosphorus 97mg 191mg Salami
Potassium 163mg 316mg Salami
Sodium 1246mg 1740mg Mortadella
Zinc 2.1mg 2.93mg Salami
Copper 0.06mg 0.357mg Salami
Manganese 0.03mg 0.978mg Salami
Selenium 22.6µg 31.3µg Salami
Vitamin E 0.22mg 0.22mg
Vitamin D 41IU 41IU
Vitamin D 1µg 1µg
Vitamin B1 0.119mg 0.367mg Salami
Vitamin B2 153mg 0.357mg Mortadella
Vitamin B3 2.673mg 6.053mg Salami
Vitamin B5 0.44mg 1.201mg Salami
Vitamin B6 0.13mg 0.459mg Salami
Folate 3µg 3µg
Vitamin B12 1.48µg 1.52µg Salami
Choline 72.2mg 93.5mg Salami
Vitamin K 1.6µg 3.2µg Salami
Tryptophan 0.152mg 0.114mg Mortadella
Threonine 0.633mg 0.521mg Mortadella
Isoleucine 0.708mg 0.675mg Mortadella
Leucine 1.213mg 0.929mg Mortadella
Lysine 1.262mg 1.107mg Mortadella
Methionine 0.394mg 0.301mg Mortadella
Phenylalanine 0.598mg 0.481mg Mortadella
Valine 0.735mg 0.668mg Mortadella
Histidine 0.52mg 0.359mg Mortadella
Cholesterol 56mg 89mg Mortadella
Trans Fat 0.586g Mortadella
Saturated Fat 9.51g 9.316g Salami
Monounsaturated Fat 11.38g 11.127g Mortadella
Polyunsaturated fat 3.12g 2.529g Mortadella
Omega-6 - Eicosadienoic acid 0.084g Salami
Omega-6 - Linoleic acid 2.104g Salami
Omega-3 - ALA 0.126g Salami

Which food is preferable for your diet?

ok
ok
is better in case of low diet
Mortadella Salami
Low Fats diet ok
Low Carbs diet ok
Low Calories diet ok
Low Glycemic Index diet Equal

People also compare

Vitamins & Minerals Daily Need Coverage Score

The summary scores indicate the extent to which this food can fulfill your daily vitamin and mineral requirements if you consume 3 servings, consisting of 100 grams of each (an approximation of 3 serving sizes).
Vitamins Daily Need Coverage Score
2747%
Mortadella
58%
Salami
Minerals Daily Need Coverage Score
49%
Mortadella
91%
Salami

Comparison summary

Which food is richer in minerals?
Salami
Salami is relatively richer in minerals
Which food is lower in Saturated Fat?
Salami
Salami is lower in Saturated Fat (difference - 0.194g)
Which food is richer in vitamins?
Salami
Salami is relatively richer in vitamins
Which food is lower in Sugar?
Mortadella
Mortadella is lower in Sugar (difference - 0.96g)
Which food contains less Sodium?
Mortadella
Mortadella contains less Sodium (difference - 494mg)
Which food is lower in Cholesterol?
Mortadella
Mortadella is lower in Cholesterol (difference - 33mg)
Which food is cheaper?
Mortadella
Mortadella is cheaper (difference - $2.7)
Which food is lower in glycemic index?
?
The foods have equal glycemic indexes (28)

References

All the values for which the sources are not specified explicitly are taken from FDA’s Food Central. The exact link to the food presented on this page can be found below.

  1. Mortadella - https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/174573/nutrients
  2. Salami - https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/172936/nutrients

All the Daily Values are presented for males aged 31-50, for 2000-calorie diets.

Data provided by FoodStruct.com should be considered and used as information only. Please consult your physician before beginning any diet.