Some Info About Processed Meats You May Want To Take To Heart
By Joy Stephenson-Laws, J.D., Founder
You may have heard that eating a lot of red meat may increase your risk of developing cardiovascular disease, but a bigger issue may be the amount of processed meats you include in your diet.
In a nutshell, processed meats are meats that have been changed through methods such as salting, curing, fermenting and smoking. These methods usually enhance flavoring as well as give the meat a longer shelf life. Some examples of processed meats include bacon, sausage, salami, hot dogs, canned meat, corned beef and ham.
According to the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council (which was founded in 1994 by the American Meat Institute), in 2020 Americans spent more than 7.68 billion on hot dogs and sausages in U.S. grocery stores! To my surprise, the council also reports that Los Angeles residents eat more hot dogs than any other city (around 30 million pounds!), even more than Philadelphia and New York City.
The reality, however, is that if you are a lover of processed meats, you may want to consider reducing your intake. According to a recent study, researchers discovered a connection between eating processed meats and a higher risk of developing cardiovascular disease.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States (causing about one in four deaths).
The study examined the diets and health outcomes of 134,297 people from 21 countries spanning five continents, according to this Medical Xpress report that discusses the research. The researchers closely looked at meat consumption and cardiovascular illnesses of the people they sampled.
“After following the participants for almost a decade, the researchers found consumption of 150 grams or more of processed meat a week was associated with a 46 percent higher risk of cardiovascular disease and a 51 percent higher risk of death than those who ate no processed meat,” according to the Medical Xpress report.
“However, the researchers also found moderate levels of consumption of non-processed meats had a neutral effect on health.”
In general, processed and ultra-processed foods may not be healthy for us. They are generally void of essential nutrients, such as vitamins and minerals, and contain a lot of salt, sugar and additives in order to preserve shelf life Additional research also found a link between the consumption of ultra-processed foods and cancer.Be Proactive.
You can be proactive by sticking to whole foods. A general rule of thumb is that if something comes in a package or the frozen food section (other than plain frozen fruit and vegetables), it is processed. It is hard to completely eliminate these foods, but it is possible with hard work and a lot of home cooking. Just reducing processed foods may make a big difference. So on your next trip to the grocery store, make the produce section the bulk of your groceries. Buy fresh meats and seafood. Avoid meats, like salami, pepperoni, bacon and luncheon meats.
Because heart disease is the leading cause of death in both men and women in America, it is very important to take care of your overall metabolic health by eating healthily, working out regularly, managing stress, getting good quality sleep and taking routine nutrient tests in order to definitively determine if you have an adequate intake of critical nutrients, such as magnesium, that may help prevent heart disease. If you do not, a competent healthcare professional can work with you on making the necessary dietary changes and recommend quality supplements if necessary.
Enjoy your healthy life!
Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice. Please consult with your doctor or another competent healthcare practitioner to get specific medical advice for your situation.
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