I’ve told you in the past that the nitrites in cured meat are actually good for you. Many doctors believe they cause cancer and other health problems. But newer and better studies have shown just the opposite. However, a new study suggests you can get too much of a good thing — especially if you have COPD.
According to a study by researchers from the Centre for Research in Environmental Epidemiology (CREAL) in Barcelona, Spain, cured meat can cause problems for people with lung disease. But you have to eat a lot of cured meat to experience the trouble.
The researchers followed 274 patients after their first hospital admission due to their respiratory condition. The researchers recorded cured-meat consumption for an average of two years. They wanted to see if eating these meats leads to more hospital admissions. It did.
The researchers found that eating cured meats regularly did lead to more hospitalizations. However, it did so for those who ate a slice of ham (or equivalent) every day. I don’t know too many people who eat this much ham or other cured meats, but some people do. And it can lead to inflammation in the lungs, which exacerbates COPD.
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The researchers speculated that the cause was the nitrites in the meat. They mentioned the poor studies I’ve debunked, which say “nitrites produce reactive nitrogen species that damage tissue in the lungs.”
However, nitrites don’t cause the inflammation that makes COPD worse. Many foods high in nitrites are anti-inflammatory. This protects tissues. Plus, many other, very healthful foods, such as fruits and vegetables have more nitrites than cured meat. And they don’t cause this inflammation. So what would?
I think it’s the fat content of these meats. We know that excess fat in your diet causes excess inflammation. And inflammation can cause a severe bronchitis or asthma attack.
So if you have COPD, pass on the ham and bacon. Eating cured meat daily can send you to the hospital.
Instead, eat plenty of dark green leafy vegetables and other fresh fruits and veggies and let those healthful nitrites keep your lungs in great shape. If you struggle with COPD, you may also want to consider taking Reduloxin, which can help reduce inflammation throughout your body, including your lungs.
Your voice of reason in Women's Health,
Dr. Janet Zand
European Lung Foundation. "Risk of Hospital Readmissions for COPD Patients Increased By Excessive Cured Meat Consumption." Medical News Today. MediLexicon, Intl., 9 Mar. 2012. Web. 10 Mar. 2012. <http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/242636.php>
Nutritional epidemiology in the context of nitric oxide biology: A risk–benefit evaluation for dietary nitrite and nitrate, Andrew Milkowski a, Harsha K. Garg b, James R. Coughlin c, Nathan S. Bryan b,d,*