Cured meats are tasty, healthful, and inexpensive. They also have a lot of protein and iron in them.
However, other people believe they should never be consumed since they cause cancer and heart disease. Is their proof reliable? If you want to learn more about cured meats, we recommend reading this article.
What Exactly are Cured Meats?
Curing is the process of preserving food by removing water and lengthening its shelf life by adding salt.
Curing can also include adding spices, sugar, and nitrates or nitrites (naturally occurring chemical compounds combining nitrogen and oxygen, such as potassium nitrate and sodium nitrite) to prevent the growth of hazardous microbes.
They’re also responsible for the pink or crimson color of cured meat. The meat would quickly brown if they weren’t present.
Cured meat (also known as salted, smoked, fermented, pickled, or brined) is meat that has been processed in a certain way before being cooked. Bacon, ham, sausage, corned beef, bologna, prosciutto, tongue, chorizo, pepperoni, salami, and other sausages are examples of these.
Is it true that cured meats are “bad” for me?
The bad news is that nitrates and nitrites have been related to cancer in various forms. What’s the good news? In cured meats, the amount is relatively modest. (Nitrates can be found in a variety of nutritious foods, including spinach, arugula, beets, and celery.)
However, if you’re prone to migraine headaches, you should certainly avoid cured and processed meats because nitrates and nitrites might be a migraine trigger.
Is It Safe To eat Cured Meats?
We recognize that the thought of curing meat by putting it out at ambient temperature for extended periods of time may not appeal to you, let alone be safe. Cured meats, unlike that chicken breast you pulled out of the fridge a few days ago, is safe to eat if proper safety precautions are followed.
The main distinction between rotting and cured meats is moisture. If you leave a steak out in the sun for the entire day, it will acquire harmful bacteria that will make you sick.
When a curing mixture of salt, sugar, and other spices is coated or injected into a piece of meat, the moisture is pushed out and eventually evaporates through a process known as osmosis. Because the absence of water produces an environment in which germs cannot develop, cured meats are perfectly safe and pleasant to eat.
Cured Meats: What do the experts say?
Because curing requires adding salt to food to preserve it, most cured meats are quite rich in sodium. The American Heart Association recommends that most adults restrict their sodium intake to 2,300 milligrams per day, with an optimal objective of no more than 1,500 milligrams per day.
Hypertension (high blood pressure) and an increased risk of cardiovascular disease have been related to high salt levels (such as coronary artery disease and stroke). Even if you don’t have a high blood pressure problem, eating high-sodium foods can lead to weight gain.
The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) of the World Health Organization recently released a research claiming that cured and processed meats are highly connected to cancer (colon cancer in particular), prompting them to categorize processed meat as a carcinogen.
IARC discovered that eating 50 grams of processed meat per day (approximately four slices of bacon or one hot dog) raised the risk of colorectal cancer by 18%.
While other factors may have influenced these findings, given the strong link between eating cured meat and cancer (e.g., as the quantity of cured meat consumed increases, so does cancer risk) and the fact that eating a lot of processed meat has also been linked to increased diabetes risk, it’s a good idea to stick to fresh, whole meats as much as possible.
When you do buy them, higher-quality products with fewer chemicals, preservatives, and artificial components are worth the extra money. That’s all the more incentive to keep it as a “treat” rather than a normal meal.
Last Tips For You
If you choose to eat cured meats occasionally, keep your serving size to about 2 ounces per serving. That means that if you eat a 3-ounce slice of pizza, you should cut the amount of cheese and sauce in half. You might also try smaller quantities, such as 1/4-ounce cured beef slices rather than full 3-ounce pieces.
If you wish to eat cured meats but are concerned about the possible side effects, consult your doctor or a dietician beforehand. He or she will assist you in determining what best fits your lifestyle.
Local cured meats can be found in a variety of supermarket stores. While they may appear to be costly, keep in mind that you don’t need to consume a lot of them to get the advantages. And if you do decide to indulge, remember that there’s nothing wrong with doing so once in a while.
Cured meats and cheese complement each other better than others, much as wine and cheese do. Prosciutto and Parmesan dish is a must-try. Don’t forget to read more about that cured meats dish.