Health Benefits of Bacon

For many families, Saturday morning breakfast wouldn't be the same without the scent of bacon wafting through the air. But did you know that the term bacon refers to a very specific cut of meat? The term bacon refers specifically to cured meat from the belly of a pig.

While people have enjoyed bacon for years, bacon has recently experienced a cultural explosion in many parts of the world. But while you may think of bacon only as fatty, greasy food, there are some health benefits to eating bacon in moderation.

Health Benefits

While bacon should only be eaten occasionally and in small amounts, due to its high levels of fat, cholesterol, and sodium, there are some health benefits to eating bacon. These health benefits may be important for people with certain medical conditions.

Water Retention

You may have been cautioned to avoid salt, but there are a few people who don't get enough salt in their diets. Athletes, for example, may sweat out so much salt that they cause an electrolyte imbalance. A high-sodium diet can also help people with Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS) manage their symptoms.

In these cases, high-sodium foods like bacon can help people get enough salt in their diet, especially if they don't like the taste of table salt added to their food.

Brain Development

Many people think that all fat is unhealthy, but that’s not entirely true. While some types of fat are healthier than others, everyone needs some fat in their diets. Fats are even more important to young children, as dietary fat helps with brain development in early childhood. So, it’s okay to let your child indulge in a strip or two of bacon every once in a while.

Hangover Help

Bacon and other greasy foods have often been used as home remedies to help with hangovers. While the high concentrations of salt and potassium in bacon could help replace electrolytes lost due to dehydration and relieve some hangover symptoms, there’s no scientific evidence that bacon will actually treat or cure a hangover.

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Nutrients per Serving

A serving size is equal to about 1 medium strip of bacon. That small serving will provide you with:

  • Calories: 43
  • Fat: 3 grams
  • Cholesterol: 9 milligrams
  • Protein: 3 grams
  • Sodium: 185 milligrams

Compared to other meats, bacon is relatively low in vitamins and minerals, but it does contain small amounts of the following nutrients:

  • Iron
  • Magnesium
  • Phosphorus
  • Potassium

How to Prepare Bacon

These days, there's no shortage of ways to prepare bacon. Many people still enjoy grilled bacon cooked alongside their eggs and toast for a hearty breakfast. But bacon isn't just a breakfast food anymore.

Pairing a little bit of bacon with healthy vegetables and other nutritious items can help you use bacon as a way to accentuate flavors and get a little extra fat and sodium in your diet without overdoing it. The key to enjoying bacon as part of a healthy lifestyle is to eat it occasionally, not every day.

Here are some ideas for bacon pairings that are healthy and delicious:

  • Bacon, lettuce, and tomato stuffed avocado.
  • Crumbled bacon over garden salad.
  • Wilted spinach salad with hard-boiled eggs and bacon.
  • Zucchini noodles with alfredo sauce and candied bacon.
WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Arefa Cassoobhoy, MD, MPH on August 18, 2020

Sources

SOURCES: 

Ask US Department of Agriculture: "What is bacon?"

Foundation for Economic Education: "15 Economic, Historical, and Health Facts about Bacon."

Harvard Health: "Are fats so bad?"

Journal of Nutrition. "The Role of Dietary Fat in Child Nutrition and Development: Summary of an ASNS Workshop."

Cleveland Clinic: "Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS): Management and Treatment."

ESHA Research, Inc., Salem, Oregon.

© 2020 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.

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