Meat-eaters, you may want to give thought to the types of meat you eat and reduce your consumption of processed meats because of their impact on your health.
Some meats are lean, full of nutrients and vitamins. However, once they’re changed from fresh meat to processed fare you want to watch how much of it you eat for a number of health reasons, said Chrisanne Urban, a Marshfield Clinic Health System dietitian.
What is processed meat?
It’s not cutting, grinding or mixing fresh meat. Meat becomes processed when salt, chemical preservatives and fat are added.
“It’s meat that’s been modified in some way, either smoked, cured, salted, fermented or preservatives added,” Urban said.
Pros and Cons
Pros of processed meat include improving the meat’s flavor and extending its shelf life.
The down side though is that, according to research, processed meat has been linked to chronic conditions and illnesses:
- Heart disease
Examples of processed meat
Pork, beef and poultry are standards for processing into bacon, ham, sausages, salami, corned beef, jerky, hot dogs, luncheon meat, pastrami, canned meat and meat-based sauces. Cold cuts, made from chunks of beef, ham and turkey, are preserved with salt, seasonings, sugar and sometimes chemicals, then sliced for sandwiches or snacks. Urban suggests reading labels to learn more about their ingredients since some varieties of cold cuts may not be as bad as others.
If you’re looking for some alternatives to processed meats, Urban has some healthier suggestions:
- Dry beans and lentils (like hummus)
- Fresh-canned tuna and salmon
- Nuts and nut butter
- Roast up your own meat and slice up for sandwiches and salads
Urban said that you can include processed meals in your summer meals – the key is to focus on quantity. Limiting your processed meat consumption to two (3 oz. serving sizes) a month is recommended.
My mother is 97 and told me to keep eating my chicken skin. Mom exercised and went to the Y 3 times a week for over 40 years. Never ate cheese, chicken skin, bacon, sausage, all the bad stuff. She told me that I don't want to live as long as she has. She's still pretty healthy but her body is just falling apart because we don't last forever. She had 1 stroke so far that she has recovered about 70% from but keeps having TIA's which is affecting her mood. All of her close siblings and friends are gone and she is in Assisted Living apartments that is costing her $5K a month. She said living the way she is, is no way to carry on. She is ready and has been ready to die. I don't want to live past 80 years of age myself and I have many health problems.