Bacon is a Hot, Sizzling, Tasty Trend
As the sexy ’70s commercial said, we want to “bring home the bacon and fry it up in a pan.” Flash-forward to 2015, when bacon permeates mainstream American culture like never before: There are now over-the-top, bacon-themed weddings; the guy in line next to you is snorting up a “wake up and smell the bacon” app on his smartphone like it’s some kind of drug; and primetime TV is stuffed with commercials for edible bowls made out of bacon. One thing is certain: Delicious, savory bacon is more popular than ever — and that’s enough to make devotees squeal with joy.
Bacon is a meat product prepared from a pig — usually from the side and back cuts of pork except in the United States, where it is almost always prepared from pork belly (typically referred to as “fatty” or “American style” outside of the U.S.). It is usually cured using large quantities of salt, either in a brine or by a dry packing process; the result is fresh bacon (also known as green bacon). Fresh bacon may then be further dried for weeks or months in cold air.
Bacon can be eaten smoked, boiled, fried, baked or grilled, or used as a minor ingredient to flavor dishes. Bacon is also used for barding (cooking meats with bacon) and larding (weaving bacon through meats) roasts, especially game, including venison and pheasant. The word is derived from the Old High German bacho, meaning “buttock,” “ham” or “side of bacon,” and similar to the Old French bacon.
Meat from other animals, such as beef, lamb, chicken, goat or turkey, may also be cut, cured or otherwise prepared to resemble bacon, and may even be referred to as “bacon.” But for the purist, the U.S. Department of Agriculture defines bacon as “the cured belly of a swine carcass.” (Such a distasteful description for something so delectable!)
For the health-conscious food shopper, bacon isn’t likely the first thing on your grocery list. But if you like to bet, pork belly is not a bad one. Bacon alone is so high in demand, it has put pork on the market map, so to speak. With bacon practically a delicacy, prices have soared, but it’s still a bargain when you consider its flavor-boosting power. And with low-sodium and veggie versions, and lean cuts weighing in at just 39 calories per slice, even dieters can dine on swine and not sweat it.
Top 10 Reasons
Why Bacon Is Best for You
You’ve seen the commercials demanding us to “Eat more chicken” and asking “Where’s the beef?” and “Got milk?” Well, maybe it’s time to pour on the praise for pork by cheering for the benefits of bacon. Here is a list of 10 reasons why bacon is actually healthy for you!
- Protein Power The protein found in bacon is extremely valuable in maintaining energy levels and a fully functioning, healthy body, with a minimum of the c-word, carbohydrates.
- Bacon’s Blood-Balancing Bounty Several university and medical-center studies have shown that, eaten in moderation, bacon can actually lower blood pressure and blood sugar levels, helping to prevent and/or alleviate the effects of diabetes, as well as heart disease, stroke and heart attack.
- Just the Fats, Ma’am Bacon helps to fully satiate our appetite with high-protein/low-carb energy, helping the body lose weight, increase metabolism and build leaner, stronger muscles. In fact, bacon actually has less total fat, saturated fat and cholesterol than many popular cuts of beef and chicken. While some fish has less fat and cholesterol than bacon, bacon has more protein power and doesn’t contain toxic substances such as mercury.
- Bacon on the Brain Bacon is brimming with an important nutrient called choline, which helps increase our intelligence and memory. University studies show that as we age, choline can help fight off the debilitating effects of Alzheimer’s disease and other chronic mental impairments.
- Pig Out … It’s Good For You Bacon provides substantial amounts of vitamins and minerals our bodies need to function healthfully, including 65 percent of our recommended daily intake of thiamin, 47 percent of our niacin, 38 percent of B12, 36 percent of zinc,
- 24 percent of vitamin B6, 22 percent of riboflavin,
- 22 percent of phosphorus, 10 percent of pantothenate, 10 percent of magnesium and 9 percent of iron. Plus, the protein-to-fat balance in bacon is actually 4 to 1, one of the highest found in most meat, fish or fowl.
- Bacon Bliss Bacon makes you feel happy, satisfied and blissful, which greatly reduces stress.
- Nix the Nitrates and Nitrites The fact is, while it is true that nitrates and nitrites are unhealthy for your body, they are easily avoided by simply not burning, charring or overcooking your bacon, or by baking your strips in the oven.
- Bacon Power In the United Kingdom, TMI Foods has figured out how to use bacon fat to manufacture a powerful, low-emission, environmentally friendly, all-natural biodiesel fuel that can be used to run everything from motor vehicles to turbines effectively and inexpensively.
- Better with Bacon Think of all the healthy food you can’t wait to dive into when it’s wrapped, sprinkled or topped with bacon.
- Bacon ⁄ Our Heart Several studies show that the omega-3 fatty acids and choline found in bacon can actually protect the heart from developing detrimental problems, as well as actually help heal such anomalies after they have occurred.