Study: Processed Meat and Hypertension

Does eating red meat hurt your heart? My research into cholesterol and heart disease is not yet adequate for me to start writing about it, but I thought I would share this article I happened on earlier this week.

This observational study followed 44,616 women over 15 years and found a correlation between processed red meat (think deli meats) and hypertension, but no correlation between hypertension and unprocessed red meat (think beef, pork, and lamb). The suggestion is that the nitrates and salt in processed meats are what contribute to the increased rates of hypertension.

Without doing any more research,  I would guess that traditionally made processed meats are not as bad for you because they lack the industrial chemicals. The food industry is bent on selling us preservatives and salt (as well as sugar and fat), whereas homemade sausages and other cured meats likely don’t have as much salt. Of course, the key phrase was “I would guess.”

But based on the paper (and none of my guessing-games), I think  the take-aways are (1) unprocessed red meat is not a source of hypertension in women and (2) processed meats are generally not good for you. The bad news? Bacon is considered a processed red meat.

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