What is processed meat and what’s not?
When we say ‘processed meat’, we mean any meat that has been preserved by curing, salting, smoking, drying, and/or canning.
Meat that’s been cut, sliced or subjected to any kind of mechanical process and frozen is still unprocessed.
What makes processed meat bad for you?
Nitrites, Nitrates, and Nitrosamines:
Sodium and Potassium Nitrites or Nitrates are commonly used in processed meats as preservatives. They help prevent the growth of bacteria, maintain the pink/red color, and improve flavor.
However, under highly acidic conditions, like in our stomach, these nitrates or nitrites combine with amines (found in protein) to form Nitrosamines. Nitrosamines are known carcinogens, and can lead to cancer.
Processed meat is also notoriously high in sodium content which is bad for your skin and overall health. Refer to out section on salty foods.
Other inflammatory additives:
Any artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives that are added can be inflammatory and lead to break down of collagen and elastin in the skin, leading to saggy skin and wrinkles.
What to do about it?
Choose meat that’s unprocessed – preferably grass fed and organic.
Watch for artificial ingredients and sodium content in all the foods you buy.
When you eat meat (and vegetables), combine it with foods rich in Vitamin C like lemon, tomatoes, etc. Ascorbic acid in citrus fruits inhibits the conversion of nitrates and nitrites into nitrosamines. Daily anti-oxidant rich diet is beneficial in many ways.