Don’t reach for that salami and Swiss until you read this. Find out the good and the bad when it comes to eating salami.
Is your idea of heaven a salami sandwich with hot mustard and melted Swiss cheese? A salami sandwich is a treat for the taste buds, but are you doing yourself harm when you eat it? Is salami healthy?
What is Salami?
Salami is made from an assortment of meats including game meats, but usually contains some pork and beef. To make salami, the meats are ground into a paste and salt and spices are added. “Good” bacterial cultures are thrown in along with nitrites and nitrates to prevent spoilage before the meat is allowed to ferment. Once fermented, the meat is stuffed into casings which are incubated in a warm environment for a day or so before they’re dried to yield the final product.
Is Salami Healthy? Is It a Cancer Risk?
Salami is processed meat at its worst. You really don’t know what combination of meats you’re getting when you bite into a slice of salami. It could be anything from lamb parts to venison – plus, it’s processed. Studies show that people who eat processed meats have a higher risk of certain types of cancer – particularly colon and prostate cancer. Nitrites and nitrates are usually added as preservatives to processed meats, and these compounds produce cancer causing chemicals when they react with contents in the stomach. Eating salami isn’t the best choice if you’re concerned about your cancer risk.
Is Salami Healthy? Is It Heart Smart?
You’ve probably guessed by now that eating salami isn’t heart healthy. Not only is it high in artery clogging saturated fat, it contains too much salt to please a cardiologist. To find out for yourself just how much fat is in a slice of salami, place a piece on the grill and watch how much fat it oozes as it heats up. You’ll never look at salami the same way again.
Is Salami Healthy? Is There Anything Good About It?
Salami is a decent source of two B vitamins – vitamin B12 and thiamine and it contains a modest amount of the antioxidant vitamin selenium, but there are healthier sources of all three of these nutrients. It’s also a good source of protein.
The Bottom Line?
Eating salami has few upsides nutritionally – and too many downsides. Use it as a special treat, but don’t make it the workhorse of your diet.