Processed Meat Alert: Eating Ham Or Bacon 4 Times Weekly Worsens Asthma

The dangers associated with eating processed meat regularly just never ends.  A recent study shows eating four portions a week increases the risk for asthma.  Researchers say that a preservative called nitrite could aggravate the airways.

Processed Meat Plays A Potential Role In Lung Function And Health

The study, which was conducted in France, looked at 971 adults, almost half of them are men, whose dietary intake was measured using frequency questionnaires encompassing 118 items in 46 food groups.  The results show that cured and processed meat plays a potential role in lung function and health.

The researchers found that higher cured meat, like ham or bacon, was linked to worsening asthma symptoms over time.  The study also suggests that processed meats can cause asthma symptoms in those who never had the disease, but further studies are needed to confirm this.

The research team from Paul Brousse Hospital in Paris concluded that after taking account influential factors such as smoking, physical activity and age, those who ate the most cured meats were 76 per cent more likely to experience worsening asthma symptoms than those who ate the least.

Cured Meat Can Cause Cancer

It has already been established that eating processed meat regularly increases cancer risks.  A previous study shows that cured meat, which has added salt and preservatives or is otherwise modified to change its taste or keep it fresh for longer, can cause cancer.  The World Health Organisation said that eating 50g of processed meat a day - about one sausage or two slices of ham - increases the risk of developing colon cancer by 18 per cent.

Although there are health risks, there are also health benefits in eating red meat, WHO stressed.  Cancer Research UK suggested that instead of giving up red meat, people should just cut down on their intake and added that an occasional ham or bacon sandwich would do little harm.

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