Oh bacon, loved by the masses and a breakfast/brunch staple that you can’t live without! Bacon has garnered a pretty bad reputation as most people believe it’s not that great for your heath, but maybe it’s time we give bacon the benefit of the doubt.
Bacon is made from cuts that usually comes from the pork belly, shoulder or loin. It gets ‘cured’ with sugar, salt and a bit of preservatives (nitrates) before getting dried or smoked and finally landing on your plate, smelling like heaven .
Here are 6 reasons why your body would love bacon:
1. It can be heart-friendly
Saturated fats are not as bad as you think. The saturated fats in bacon help to increase HDL blood levels aka good cholesterol in your body. This helps to transport cholesterol from your arteries to your liver to be reused or excreted [2, 3]. The higher the HDL levels in your body, the lower your risk of heart disease. But that’s not to say you can gobble down loads of bacon in one sitting, you have to bacon up moderately to reap its health benefits.
2. It’s good for your brain
Bacon, liver and even broccoli contains choline which is said to improve your memory . Research has shown that pregnant and lactating mothers should include choline in their diet to help in their baby’s brain development too .
3. It helps to regulate your blood sugar levels
Bacon has Niacin, a water-soluble vitamin B3 that helps your body to process fats, lowers your cholesterol and regulates your blood sugar levels . Want healthy skin, hair and liver? The niacin in bacon can help with that too .
4. The preservatives aren’t exactly evil
The nitrates and nitrites that are usually found in bacon, ham and other preserved meats are added as a preservative, to maintain the meat’s pink colour (because meat will turn brown over time) and stop the growth of bacteria . You tend to avoid bacon and other preserved meat because of these preservatives but actually bacon contains just a small amount of them. Vegetables have the highest percentage of nitrate and even our bodies produce nitrate (it is in our saliva) . Nitrates provide cardiovascular benefits and protect your cells from harmful agents so they are not harmful as you think they are .
You just have to be careful when you are cooking bacon. If exposed to high heat, the high content of sodium nitrite in the bacon may be converted to nitrosamines, which consists of harmful carcinogens .
So, cook your bacon at a low heat and don’t burn them to avoid ingesting carcinogens.
5. Bacon helps maintain your immune function
You need iron in your body to regulate your body’s temperature, maintain your immune function, provide more red blood cells and for brain development , In just 3 slices of bacon, you get 0.33 mg of iron, which is 2% of the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for women and 4% of the RDA for men .
6. It helps build body tissues
Protein is made up of amino acids and since our bodies can’t produce amino acids, we get them from eating food such as steak and bacon . Bacon has one of the highest amount of amino acids so the protein in it can help your body to build and repair tissues .
The Bottom Line
- Don’t make it a daily indulgence or a main meal
- Keep serving size small
- Choose the right cuts (get lean bacon strips, center cut bacon instead of the usual fatty ones. Turkey bacon is great.)
- Baking, microwaving and frying in low heat will keep your bacon’s health benefits intact.
- Eat it as a side with loads of vegetables and fruits as the main to control the portion so that you get a balanced meal.
How do you choose good bacon? Check out the ingredients list. The less ingredients it has especially those without chemicals that you can’t pronounce will be a better choice.
What do you think about bacon now?
Related: What Science Says About These Myths