Thursday, March 21, 2013

Meatheads

I've known for a long time that processed meats are extremely unhealthy, but now a study involving over half a million men and women, published in the journal BMC Medicine, shows a strong correlation between eating processed meats and developing heart disease and cancer.

The study demonstrated that the risk of dying prematurely from any cause went up with the amount of processed meat eaten, but the risk of dying earlier from cancer and cardiovascular disease increased with the amount of processed meat eaten. Professor Sabine Rohrmann, who led the study’s analysis, remarked, “Overall, we estimate that three percent of premature deaths each year could be prevented if people ate less than 20g of processed meat per day.”
I would take that a step further and say to avoid all processed meats. Why? It’s dangerous to your health.

Another recent study published in Nutrition and Cancer, points out that increased exposure to chemicals in processed meats, including nitrites and nitrates, “is a plausible mechanism by which [conventional] red and processed meat may increase colorectal cancer risk.”

Along these same lines, research presented at the American Association for Cancer Research showed that those who regularly consumed processed meats had a whopping 67 percent higher risk of developing colon and pancreatic cancer. The Cancer Prevention Coalition directly implicated nitrites, suggesting that during the cooking process, nitrites combine with amines to form carcinogenic compounds.

Speaking of nitrites—and nitrates—they’ve been used as preservatives in processed meats since the late 1800s, but they can be poisonous. For instance, a lethal dose of sodium nitrate is estimated at 1 gram, or ¼ of a teaspoon. Over time, even smaller, regular levels of sodium nitrate can be hazardous to human health.
And let’s not forget about the so-called flavor enhancer, MSG in processed meats. It can trigger nervous system problems, migraine headaches, diabetes, asthma, atrial fibrillation and depression.

Additionally, studies show a high level of the harmful bacteria Listeria on processed meats. Pregnant women, particularly, need to stay away from processed meats, since Listeria can be fatal to a developing child.

So, stay away from processed meats. Instead, go with truly healthy meat choices: grassfed organic meats.

For starters, when you choose and eat grassfed organic meats, you’re not ingesting the toxins that come along with processed, conventional meats. Instead, since grassfed organic meats are raised purely, so you’re not putting toxins directly into your system, thereby preserving the integrity of your cells. And when your cells are healthy, you are healthy. Unhealthy cells, however, become toxic, setting the stage for activating bad genes and triggering disease.

What you are getting, however, when you eat grassfed organic meats—particularly properly raised beef—are the right fats in the right ratios (including omega-3s and CLA), the right fat-soluble vitamins—including vitamin K2, vitamin D and vitamin A, and much more. These help to support healthy inflammation levels and healthy cells, which helps to keep your body in the healthiest state.

The bottom line? Don’t be a meathead. Avoid processed meats, and choose grassfed organic meats instead.