The Link Between Nitrates and Alzheimer’s Disease
If your idea of a healthy lunch is a lunch meat (ham, turkey, bologna, etc.) sandwich, then you need to stick around and read this.
Now, you may be thinking well a turkey sandwich is much better than grabbing a hamburger and some fries. But actually, it can be just as bad for you.
Processed Lunch Meats
The more common choices of lunch meat (salami, bologna, and some smoked turkey breast) are processed. And when you eat processed foods, you’re ingesting harmful preservatives and fillers.
Not to mention that in 2015, the World Health Organization (WHO) classified processed meats as “carcinogenic to humans”.
Also, these processed cuts of meat tend to be more fatty and contain higher levels of salt, sodium nitrate and chemicals.
Sodium is about 400% higher, on average, in processed meats than unprocessed meats. “Too much sodium stiffens our blood vessels and stresses our heart and kidneys,” says Sam Teece, M.P.H., R.D., a chef and dietitian at Sam Teece Nutrition Consulting (source).
It’s important to remember that the American Heart Association recommends eating no more than 2,300 mg of sodium per day. And a turkey sandwich, including cheese and bread, can be over 1,000 mg of sodium!
** Remember that if you’re pregnant, you’re not supposed to eat lunch meats because of a risk of the bacteria, listeria.
Lunch Meat and Alzheimer’s
Researchers have discovered that high amounts of nitrates can lead to an increased chance of a heart attack, diabetes, cancer, and even Alzheimer’s. When you eat foods with sodium nitrate, over time it can cause your arteries to narrow and harden, leading to blood vessel damage and possibly heart disease. Nitrates also affect the way your body uses sugar, which can lead to diabetes. And according to Alzheimers.net, the chemicals in processed meats can “cause the liver to produce fats that are toxic to the brain.” So why do they add it to our yummy lunch meats? Well, that’s easy – without it, deli meat would be colorless, have a shorter shelf life and would not be as “flavorful”.
To play it safe, purchase lunch meat that is organic or labeled as having “no nitrates” or “low sodium”. Alternatively, you can cook fresh meat at home – like turkey or chicken breasts – and then slice it yourself. Do you have a lunch meat lovin’ family member? Protect their brain and share this article with them!
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