Many people in the American and European countries including Germany, France, the United Kingdom love bacon due to its taste. But is bacon healthy? It is banned in many Islamic countries including Saudi Arabia, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Algeria, etc. And some non-Islamic countries, including China, Russia, Thailand, Indonesia, etc., have banned specific breeds of pigs in their countries.
So, one may ask, is bacon healthy?
It can be healthy as well as unhealthy at the same time. It is advantageous as it contains proteins, carbohydrates, fats, sodium, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin B or vitamin B12, calcium, magnesium, and zinc to help our body to fulfill its requirements. But it contains a relatively high amount of fat, sodium, and nitrates causing many disorders, even cancer.
Interested in learning more? Keep reading.
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Is Bacon Healthy? Health Benefits of Bacon
Salted-cured pork bacon is made from different cuts of pork, usually the belly or the less fatty parts of the back of the pigs. As discussed earlier, it is liked by many people due to its delicious taste, but still, it is not considered a perfectly safe dish for them. Although it does have nutritional values as discussed below:
Low Sugar Level
Health-conscious persons are now trying to eat low-carb diets to prevent the rise of sugar in their blood. Bacon can give ease to them, as it contains very less carbohydrate in it. This will prevent a person from developing diabetes, a condition in which blood sugar levels become higher than normal due to the absence of insulin (a hormone produced by beta cells of the pancreas).
This hormone is responsible for the breakdown of glucose, converting them into energy or some other form like glycogen, fat, protein, etc., lowering the blood sugar level. But in diabetes, all this functioning is absent.
Diabetes patients usually eat bacon, since they are advised to eat less sugary foods.
As discussed earlier, bacon contains a sufficient amount of minerals like calcium and potassium in it. Both of these minerals are needed by the body to make bones stronger and healthier. The most important mineral for bones is calcium, which can be supplied by bacon. It enables the bones to regenerate and to grow faster, fulfilling their minerals need.
Bacon contains some nutrients that help to boost the immunity of a person. Like the zinc and some vitamins present in bacon, they are responsible for making immunity stronger. Zinc is responsible for the production of some significant hormones, anti-inflammatory responses, and in repairment and healing of some body parts.
It also acts as a cofactor or activator required for the proper functioning of the enzymes. Most of the enzymes can work solely with perfection, but some require a non-protein part called a cofactor for their proper functioning. Zinc can perform this function.
Further, zinc is a part of humans’ nervous and digestive systems, and also takes part in the body’s metabolisms. It also helps the body’s healing process, gene expression, protein, and DNA synthesis in the human body.
Anemia can be referred to as a blood deficiency disorder in the human body. Decreased amounts of red blood cells cause poor circulation of oxygen throughout the body. Body cells become unable to get the required oxygen and stop working properly.
It can result in weakness in the body. Bacon contains a substance named selenium, which prevents the deficiency of red blood cells in the body, preventing anemia. Selenium works by boosting hemoglobin functioning, maintaining proper circulation of blood in the body.
Even though bacon has the potential to cause cancer, it can also play a role in preventing it due to some of its components like selenium and zinc. Selenium can stop the growth of cancerous cells, as it can destroy the free radicals and prevent unwanted oxidation and mutation in the body.
It can also prevent thyroid cancer by controlling its functioning. Zinc can also play a role in the prevention of cancer by stopping the growth of cancerous cells.
As discussed earlier, bacon contains vitamin A in it, which is good for eyesight. Vitamin A is an antioxidant that prevents eyes from any kind of bacterial and viral infection. The vitamin keeps the eye’s cornea (outer covering of an eye) clear. It is also a part of eye rhodopsin, which allows an eye to see clearly in low light.
As bacon contains a sufficient amount of protein, it can act as a good energy source. Energy is needed to perform all metabolisms of the body. Other components of bacon, including carbohydrates, fats, and all other minerals, can be used as a source of energy in the body.
A component of the bacon named collagen can cause the skin to glow. Collagen contains many amino acids that help to soothe the skin by keeping it hydrated. Collagen contains an amino acid, named hydroxyproline, which prevents the dehydration of the skin.
Collagen also helps the skin by preventing it from losing elasticity with age. It also works to remove scars and dark spots and to prevent or cure acne.
Fast Healing of Body
Bacon is cured or preserved by using salt. This salt can speed up the healing process for external injuries. As sodium in this salt can cause the regeneration of cells faster.
Components present in bacon can prevent the human body from some diseases like osteoporosis and Alzheimer’s disease (a condition characterized by memory and thinking problems, and behavioral changes). As bacon contains fat in it, this fat can help in the absorption of vitamin D in the body that enables the brain to work properly even with time. Calcium in bacon works by making the bones stronger and preventing osteoporosis (weakened bones prone to fractures).
How Bad Is Bacon For Your Health?
While bacon can have some health benefits, it is also associated with several negative health effects. Bacon can be bad for your health due to:
High Amount of Sodium In It:
Bacon is preserved by using salt or brine. This salt remains within the bacon during its consumption. Taking food rich in salt can cause many health disorders including kidney issues or even kidney failure, high blood pressure issues, and even damage to the stomach in the human body.
High sugar levels can also lead to heart diseases, including strokes. Further, it can cause a change in hormone production, affecting the normal metabolism of the body.
Nitrate And Nitrates As Additives In Bacon:
Nitrate and nitrites of sodium have been used as salt for the preservation and packaging of the bacon. The sodium nitrate and sodium nitrite can be proved as carcinogenic when entered into the body, thus causing cancer most commonly in the liver, and can be fatal.
Bacon is obtained from the pig, which is an extremely filthy animal. They love to eat fecal materials, rotten meat and wasted vegetables, etc., they can cause many diseases including many zoonotic diseases (a disease contracted through the transmission of an infection caused by a pathogen (such as bacteria, virus, parasite) from a vertebrate animal to a human.
These diseases can cause mental retardation, lungs bleeding, intestinal cancer, and even death.
Hard to Digest:
Bacon cannot be digested easily in the human body, as it contains a relatively large amount of fat and cholesterol in it. This high level of cholesterol can cause obesity and heart strokes. Arteriosclerosis can occur due to its consumption, causing plaque in the blood vessels and leading to a stroke.
Question: Is bacon a good source of protein?
Answer: Yes, bacon is a low-carb but protein-rich diet. You can fulfill half of your daily protein needs of the body by taking 100 grams of bacon.
Question: Is bacon processed meat?
Answer: Yes, bacon is processed meat. It is usually preserved by curing it with salt, commonly sodium chloride salt. Sodium nitrates and sodium nitrites are also used for processing bacon.
Question: What can be used as an alternative to bacon?
Answer: You can use eggplant bacon, turkey bacon (which is white meat, not red meat), mushroom bacon, tofu bacon, etc. They are a better option than that pork bacon as they contain relatively less amount of cholesterol in them.
So, if someone asks you, is bacon healthy? You can demonstrate to him that bacon can cause many side effects besides its nutritional aspects. It contains proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, and other essential minerals that are needed for the proper functioning of the body. But it also contains substances that can be carcinogenic and can cause many other severe disorders. You should use alternatives to pork bacon.