NUTRITION 31st May 2017

For optimal health, pick bacon over berries

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Berry season has arrived, but before you partake in a parfait, this may change your mind. Bacon is healthier than berries. In fact, bacon contains more nutrients than any plant-based food.

If you’re scratching your head right now, that’s because, for decades, we were conditioned to believe foods high in saturated fat triggered cholesterol and heart disease, based on a single study by the American doctor, Ancel Keys, in 1958. 

The study, criticized for misleading the public due to its glaring oversights and inaccuracies, shifted scientific focus on to sugar.  Just as well really, it’s time we paid bacon some nutritional respect.

The benefits of bacon

Vitamin B12

Bacon contains high amounts of vitamin B12 (38% of our daily requirement). B12 is necessary for the formation of red blood cells which deliver oxygen around your body. On average, red blood cells perish after 120 days, so foods high in B12 provide the necessary recharge to keep your cells breathing. By contrast, plant-based foods do not contain B12.

B12 is also a key factor in the maintenance of your nerve cells. Nerve cells are the link between your brain and body and B12 maintains the protective coating surrounding them. Inadequate B12 levels can expose your nerves to damage, putting you at risk for chronic fatigue, depression, stress, joint pain and so on.

Unfortunately, two-fifths of Americans are deficient in B12, marking a trend that seems to be on the rise. Bacon is an easy, delicious way to ramp up your levels.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is royalty when it comes to your health. Low levels put you at risk for osteoporosis, bone loss, heart disease, autoimmune disease, multiple sclerosis, high blood pressure, diabetes, and cancer. Yet, a recent study conducted by The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association concluded that one billion people worldwide are deficient.

The most common source of vitamin D comes from natural sunlight, but bacon actually provides 1/6th of your daily needs.

Choline

Choline is an essential nutrient – it is critical for a healthy brain, nervous system, and metabolism. Despite a small amount formed in the liver, choline is not adequately produced by your body, so it must come from external sources. Bacon is chock full of choline which means it can help increase intelligence and memory whilst regulating your body’s metabolic functions. Likewise to B12, choline is difficult to source from plant-based foods.

The list goes on

Here’s a rundown of other nutrients bacon provides (as a % of the recommended daily allowance).

  • Thiamin (Vitamin B1): 65%
  • Niacin (Vitamin B3): 47%
  • Zinc: 36%
  • Vitamin B6: 24%
  • Vitamin B2: 22%
  • Magnesium: 10%
  • Iron: 9%

Nutrient uptake from bacon is better than plant-based foods

This is because bacon is fat-soluble, meaning you need fat to absorb certain nutrients and this fat comes naturally in bacon, not in plant-based foods. 

Types to buy

Uncured / Nitrate free

Most commercially produced bacon is cured, meaning it is preserved using salt and nitrate. Nitrate poses serious health risks to infants and babies and is linked to cancer, thyroid dysfunction, and birth defects. Look for ‘uncured varieties’ free of nitrates.

Organic,  hormone-free, and a vegetarian diet

As with all meats, go organic where possible, but ensure your bacon has no added hormones and the pigs were raised on a vegetarian diet.

 

As always, pushing for health