Can You Include Bacon In Your Healthy Diet? Experts Say Yes! But There’s a Trick to It
They say your meal isn’t complete without eating bacon. Unless you’re on a strict diet regimen like being a vegan, Kosher, or a Halal practicer, one can agree everything is better if bacon is incorporated in our diet. But is bacon really healthy food to include in our diet? Here’s what the health experts have to say.
According to the statistics, around 261 million Americans eat bacon on a regular basis as of 2017, and it’s expected to skyrocket up to 272 million by 2020. A bacon’s nutritional value also consists of about 43 calories, 137 mg of sodium, 3 grams of protein, and around 3.3 grams of fat.
It’s also rich in B vitamins and a great source of selenium which helps boost your immune system as well as the propagation of antioxidants in your body. It’s also packed with phosphorus which helps in the development of strong bones and tissue repair.
So eating a slice or two of bacon won’t jeopardize your health. However, the health experts give some caution to follow the dos and don’ts of bacon if you plan on incorporating it into your diet.
Do Choose the Center-cut Bacon
The health experts advise you choose the center-cut bacon that comes from the pig’s belly since the fat content around the area is 30% less than the regular-cut counterparts. Aside from that, most regular cuts come in long strips with more fats on opposite ends, while the center-cut only comes in shorter strips since most of the fat has been removed.
Choose Canadian Bacon
Other terms for Canadian bacon are back, peameal, English or Irish bacon. According to the health experts, the Canadian-style bacon is cut from the pork loin compared to the American-style bacon which came from the pork’s belly.
Not only is it healthier to eat lean meat, but it’s also dusted in cornmeal which offers a juicy, tender texture when grilled or pan-fried. It also has less protein compared with American bacon which has twice the protein content.
Do Not Choose Sodium Nitrates or Nitrites Cured Bacon
According to studies, consuming processed meats like bacon filled with sodium nitrates and nitrites increase the risk of acquiring cancers including gastrointestinal ones. So as much as possible, try finding a sodium nitrate-free bacon or an organic one.
The other preservatives found in processed meats bond with nitrates to form a carcinogen called nitrosamine especially when exposed to high heats. According to them, the bacon can still form carcinogens when exposed to high heats especially when you cook the bacon.
Choose Low-Sodium Bacon
According to studies, a high-salt diet can increase your blood pressure which also increases your risk of acquiring stomach cancer. While all processed bacon is salty, you can reduce your salt intake by choosing the low-sodium version. A piece of regular-cut bacon contains 385 mg of sodium, while the healthier version only has half the sodium content.
Don’t Pair Your Bacon With Processed Foods
While eating bacon occasionally is okay, the health experts advise against eating bacon along with other processed foods like burgers, American cheese as well as salty condiments like ketchup or mayonnaise. Not only will you suffer from serious bloating, but it’ll also be dangerous for your heart.
Choose High-quality Pork Belly
Instead of buying commercially cured bacon, try to go to your local butcher and ask for a good slab of pork that isn’t sliced, smoked, or cured. You can slice it up yourself and trim the excess fat, then bake, grill, and smoke it however you want.
Cook it in the Oven
Not only is it easier for you to cook your bacon in the oven, but it also makes your food healthier since it can reduce nitrosamine production.
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