Many people claim that bacon is bad for health. We beg to differ. Bacon is good for your health. This blog post will explain why by presenting the health benefits of bacon.
Bacon is NOT Bad for your Health. Here’s Why
By saying bacon is healthy, we don’t mean that it’s healthy to consume it in substantial quantities nor we mean that it’s okay to eat large amounts seven days a week.
As with any food, too much can be bad. And so, moderation is key. This applies not only to bacon but to every other healthy food or drinks as well.
Recognising the health benefits that bacon offers to the body doesn’t necessarily give you permission to go wild and crazy over them.
Even the healthiest bacon is still processed meat. And if you want to be healthful, you want to avoid or at least eat a minimal amount of processed food. So if you’re going to feast on bacon, you can indulge it in standard serving sizes, which is three to four slices.
And of course, it’s not only the quantity that matters but also the frequency. You can enjoy eating bacon no more than once or twice a week.
For people who do not have a gall bladder or who have a gall bladder disorder, avoiding bacon would be wise. Or if you need to eat bacon, make sure you use a strong digestive enzyme with high amounts of lipase when eating it.
Lipase works by breaking down the fats that the body cannot absorb into fatty acids and glycerol, which can be carried in water-based fluids like lymph and blood. Then, the body uses these products as energy sources.
The Healthy Kind of Bacon
In this blog post, the bacon we’re referring to ethically raised, grass-fed, and organic bacon made without nitrates and nitrites.
Nitrates (sodium nitrates) are a preservative that is used in processed meats. Nitrates could increase your risk of heart disease. They can also damage your blood vessels by making your arteries hard and narrow, which then leads to heart disease.
Nitrites, on the other hand, cause changes in haemoglobin. Haemoglobins are molecules that help distribute oxygen in the body. Nitrates can cause serious health effects as they cause less oxygen available in the body, thus, affecting functionality.
Nitrates and nitrites are commonly used in processed food. But health-wise, if you’re going to eat bacon, we recommend consuming a nitrate- and nitrite-free bacon.
The good news is that most companies have changed their way of preparing bacon. You can now purchase bacon incorporated with vitamin C to counteract the potential adverse effect of nitrates. However, from a professional perspective, we recommend avoiding these kinds of bacon products still.
Organic bacon is way pricier than the regular ones. And so if the budget doesn’t make it possible to choose them, you can still opt for regular bacon. However, it’s advisable to cut your portion. Again, moderation is key. An occasional dose shouldn’t be that bad.
Another tip is to bake your bacon instead of pan-frying it to prevent nitrates and nitrites from forming harmful nitrosamines.
When nitrites are exposed to intense heat, with amino acids, they can turn into compounds called nitrosamines. Studies suggest that nitrosamines are carcinogenic in humans meaning they can cause cancer, albeit inconclusive results.
The Health Benefits of Bacon
Bacon isn’t just delicious, but it is also stuffed with a lot of health benefits.
Bacon is jampacked with healthy fats.
According to the US Department of Agriculture, a 100-gram serving of pan-fried bacon yields 42 grams of fat. Of that amount is 4.5 grams of polyunsaturated fats and 19 grams of monounsaturated fats.
Both poly- and monounsaturated fats are found in plant and animal foods. They include omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, both are not naturally produced by our body, and, therefore, need to be consumed from the food we eat.
Omega-3 fatty acids have been known to reduce the risk of developing arrhythmia (or irregular heartbeat), lower blood pressure levels, and slow down the buildup of plaque in the arteries.
Meanwhile, omega-6 fatty acids control blood sugar levels, reduce your risk for diabetes, and lower your blood pressure.
A slice of baked bacon is loaded with 3.5 grams of total fat (1.9 grams of which are healthy fat). So eating three slices of baked bacon provides your body with a healthy dose of good fats.
Bacon can make you happy… literally happy.
The taste and smell of bacon alone can already make you happy. But the happiness that we’re talking about here is more than just the fragrance and deliciousness of this thin pork belly.
Bacon contains high amounts of glutamate, perhaps best known as the food additive MSG (monosodium glutamate). MSG enhances the flavours of food, giving that unique umami taste. They are usually used in canned soups, vegetables, and processed meats; bacon included.
MSG can also be found naturally in many foods, such as cheese, tomatoes, and seaweed, to name a few.
MSG affects brain chemistry in a way that boosts mood and increases levels of happiness.
Now it’s clear that bacon makes us happy not only because it tastes and smells so good, but more importantly, it changes our brain chemical!
Take note, though, that monosodium glutamate is not a valid source of glutamate. So if you want to improve your mood, eating large amounts of MSG is not the answer. Too much of it can be dangerous.
Bacon packs a punch of nutrients.
Bacon is loaded with more nutrition than most people realise.
Three slices of baked bacon provide the body with a healthy dose of essential vitamins and minerals, including vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, and B12, phosphorus, and selenium. You’ll also load your body with decent amounts of iron, magnesium, zinc, and potassium.
Plus, you’ll get high amounts of high-quality animal protein when you eat bacon.
Bacon is perfect for a low-carb diet.
If you eat three slices of cooked bacon, you’ll only get 0.3 grams of carbohydrates. This makes bacon an excellent snack for those who are following a low-carb diet.
And because bacon is high in fat, it’s even more perfect for the people who follow a ketogenic lifestyle, which requires eating high-fat, moderate protein, and low-carb foods.
Bacon is an excellent energy source.
We need energy to perform our daily tasks. And because bacon is 68% healthy fat (and fat is the best energy source there is), devouring bacon is a delicious way of boosting your energy levels without ever worrying about raising your blood sugar levels.
Bacon can improve brain health and function.
Choline is necessary for brain health. When you consume foods rich in choline regularly, you will have reduced rates of memory loss over time.
Studies show that regular choline supplementation can have long-term beneficial effects on memory. In a study conducted to pregnant rats supplemented with choline, the rodents experienced multiple modifications in the growth patterns of gene expression that influence learning and memory.
There are no published studies in humans, though. But this gives us hope that choline can enhance memory.
There you have it! Baked, organic bacon is delicious and incredibly nutritious. The health benefits of bacon listed above prove wrong those who believe that bacon is bad.
Choose grass-fed, nitrate-free bacon. And as with any food, eat bacon in moderation.