Bacon is one of the most popular breakfast foods in America.
Heck, it’s one of the most popular foods for any meal of the day.
Simply put, bacon is popular because it tastes great and hits all the right spots.
One of the things about bacon is it’s been demonized for years because of its fat content. When you open up a package of bacon you can see at least half of your bacon is fat.
Well as I’ve written about in previous articles, fats from healthy and sustainably raised animals are not things you should avoid.
But that’s not the only reason not to be scared off by bacon.
There are actually quite a few other reasons which I think you’ll be excited to read about.
7 Reasons to Enjoy Bacon
- It keeps your brain healthy: Bacon is loaded with an important nutrient known as choline. Choline has been the subject of numerous research studies and its ability to influence your brain in healthy ways is quite encouraging.In fact, low levels of choline are actually shown to be detrimental to brain health. “Choline is a precursor to the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, which is not only key for muscle movement, but sensory perception, sustaining attention, and decision-making.”
Studies show choline has been associated with improving the pace at which people learn, helping people improve their memory, increasing brain cell size, and even possibly helping ward off the formation of Alzheimer’s disease. And, as bacon is an incredibly rich source of this important nutrient, it stands to reason you should eat bacon if you want to be smarter.
- It can help keep raise levels of good cholesterol: There are two kinds of cholesterol in the body. There’s LDL and HDL cholesterol. LDL is the “bad” cholesterol. LDL stands for “low-density lipo-protein.” The reason it’s bad is because it sticks to the wall of your arteries which can lead to a host of cardiovascular problems.Then there’e HDL, or hight density lipo-proteins. This is the one that eating bacon can help out with. When you eat bacon, it raises HDL levels. For the most part, the higher your HDL levels, the healthier you and your heart are. The opposite is also true. The lower HDL levels, the unhealthier you are (generally speaking). The way bacon accomplishes the boost in HDL is because of how its composition of saturated fat influences HDL levels.Quite a few studies have shown the consumption of saturated fats from animals/nuts are going to boost HDL levels.
And bacon is mostly saturated fat, so eat it for your cholesterol health.
- Bacon’s packed with protein: You might be surprised to know this, but bacon’s actually got a fair amount of one of the essential building blocks of life sitting inside of its crispy goodness.A thick slice of bacon is estimated to have around 4-5g of protein. And, in this isn’t any old regular protein, this protein is loaded with the amino-acids essential for muscle growth and tissue repair. Unlike proteins found in plant products, the protein in bacon is the kind you need if you’re really trying to acquire lean mass or gain muscle. Additionally the “protein to fat balance in bacon is actually 4 to 1, which is one of the highest protein to fat balances found in any meat, fish or fowl found on Earth.”
- Bacon’s loaded with healthy vitamins and minerals: While it’s not a multi-vitamin, bacon does have a ton of valuable nutrients and minerals in it.Bacon Today writes: “Bacon provides us with substantial amounts of the important, necessary vitamins and minerals our bodies need to function healthfully. From bacon, we receive: 65% of our Recommended Daily Intake of Thiamin (Vitamin B1) as well as 47% of our Niacin (Vitamin B3), 38% of our Vitamin B12, 36% of our Zinc, 24% of our Vitamin B6, 22% of our Riboflavin (Vitamin B2), 22% of our Phosphorus, 10% of our Pantothenate, 10% of our Magnesium, 9% of our Iron.”
- Bacon can help regulate healthy thyroid function: That’s because bacon also contains selenium. 100 grams of bacon contains around 62 mcg of selenium. Here’s why bacon containing selenium matters…Selenium plays a role in helping convert T4 to T3.The enzymes that remove iodine atoms from T4 during conversion are called deiodinase enzymes, and these enzymes are dependent on the presence of selenium to carry out their function.
Since T3 is the active form of thyroid hormone and low T3 can cause hypothyroid symptoms, it means, if you don’t have enough selenium for the conversion process, it can produce unwanted interference with the your thyroid’s function.
- It enhances flavor: Now this hasn’t been scientifically proven, but I think (and I know a lot of people agree with me) including bacon with foods you don’t normally like is a good way to improve your diet with minimal effort.Bacon expresses a flavor called “umami” which is a Japanese term for savory. The umami of bacon is what allows it to mix with foods like broccoli or brussel sprouts and make them more palatable.So if you mix bacon with veggies you can’t normally stomach then it means bacon can help you eat healthier.
Important Notes about Bacon’s Safety
Now that you’ve read all that, there are a few things to note about bacon’s safety.
Most bacon is loaded with sodium. That’s why it’s so salty and tasty. This means if the rest of your diet is also high in sodium you might want to consider going easy on the bacon.
Elevated sodium levels aren’t exactly good for you, so make sure your diet isn’t excessively high in sodium before pigging out (no pun intended) on bacon.
Keep in mind if you’re extremely active then you can stand to have higher than normal sodium levels. So long as you stay properly hydrated you’ll sweat out a good deal of that sodium, meaning a few extra pieces of bacon won’t hurt.
The other thing to keep in mind is the use of nitrites and nitrates in bacon.
While there’s a growing body of research that shows these two items alone won’t hurt you, when they’re cooked at high temperatures they run the risk of becoming carcinogenic.
So please keep that in mind.