6 Things You MUST Know About Bacon
You can stuff bacon into practically any food and end up with a more delicious version of that food. From chocolate to skewered chicken, bacon makes almost everything better (bacon jam, anyone?).
And yet, you’ve probably heard for most of your life that bacon is a heart attack waiting to happen. Luckily, we now know that’s just not true.
But the real question…
Is Bacon Actually Healthy?
Bacon is made from pork belly, which (if you couldn’t guess) is the underside of the pig. Before the strips are cut off the pork belly, the whole piece is cured; this can be done in a variety of ways.
The two most common methods of curing are creatively named ‘dry curing’ and ‘wet curing.’ If bacon is dry cured, it’s rubbed with salt and whatever blend of spices the preparer desires, then kept cool to prevent spoiling. If wet cured, the bacon is soaked in brine. Whichever way it’s cured, after the process is done, the pork is smoked for a few days, then sliced up and it’s good to go!
Bacon is a versatile and nutritious food when prepared right, but be sure to follow the same guidelines as other meat—ideally, get pork that’s raised naturally, away from a diet of grains, and not treated with antibiotics. In fact, it’s pretty easy to make your own home-cured bacon (and you don’t need to raise the pigs yourself!), so you might opt for that as well.
Why Bacon is Healthy
1. Because bacon is made from one of the fattiest parts of the pig, it’s consequently one of the most nutritious forms of pork you can eat. And that shouldn’t be surprising, since fat-soluble vitamins like A, D, E, & K are stored in…you guessed it – fat.
2. Bacon is packed with choline, which studies show is a powerhouse for reducing the occurrence of Alzheimer’s and other diseases of the brain. In fact, subjects who consumed bacon showed not only reduced mental illness but increased ability to learn, and consumption of adequate choline, as one study says, “lead[s] to slower extinction.” That can’t be a bad thing!
3. You can get more than half of your daily amount of thiamin (that’s vitamin B1) from a serving of bacon. Thiamin is responsible for helping your muscles work like they should (and really important things like your heart are muscles too!), but B1’s most important job is to help your body convert carbohydrates into energy. If your body can get the energy it needs, not only will you feel more invigorated, your brain and nervous system will get the energy they need to work at top quality.
4. Bacon contains nutrients that are natural mood enhancers. What’s not to like about that? Eat that bacon and feel awesome.
How to Eat Bacon
1. With Paleo breads, especially pancakes. And I don’t mean eat bacon with pancakes, I mean eat bacon with pancakes. Pop that juicy meat right into the batter and cook yourself a nice meal! Why spend the time eating your Paleo pancakes, putting down your fork, and then eating bacon when you could just turn it into a one-step deal?
2. With vegetables and herbs. It might not seem like the best pairing ever, but wrapping things like Brussels sprouts, watercress, and mushrooms in bacon makes for one delectable treat! Not to mention that the two foods’ nutrients complement each other, making for easy absorption and maximum health benefits.
3. With other meat! Filet your chicken and tuck some bacon inside. Wrap your oysters in cozy blankets of smoked pork belly. Or check out some bison bacon sushi! The possibilities are only limited by your imagination, and one of the great things about bacon is that it keeps other meats moist when cooking.
As you can see, bacon’s got a lot of great nutrients and is a versatile food that complements most everything it’s put with. But let’s be honest – you didn’t really need a reason to eat bacon, right?
Here are some recipes using bacon
Images: Copyright (c) TADDEUS from Fotolia