There is a lot of diet information out there that can send conflicting messages about what the best foods to eat are, and which should be avoided. When it comes down to meat, the range of opinions stretches from complete avoidance to total embrace, but usually these diets recommend the least processing possible. Usually, most diets recommend staying away from too many additives as a rule. This is the case with processed meat, and here we’ll explore why.
Those who advocate for a meat-inclusive diet usually cite the readily available proteins, fats, and vitamins that beef, chicken, and fish provide. Balancing meat with the right amount of fruits and vegetables can help counter any oxidation or free radicals that come with meat consumption. Those who advocate against too much meat, or any animal-based foods in general, point to hormones that can encourage excess sebum production and cell turnover, which can cause problems from buildup throughout the body, including the skin, like causing acne or irritating other existing skin conditions like eczema or psoriasis.
Processed meats are smoked, cured, salted, or preserved, or altered to stay edible longer or be eaten in a new form. This can include bacon, sausage, jerky, and meat-based spreads. These might include organ meats as well as muscle, or other parts of an animal that needs to go through various steps to be made edible. While these foods can be delicacies, they can also carry health risks when too much is consumed, or if they aren’t part of a properly balanced diet.
Too many salts, sugars, and other preservatives can break down collagen through inflammation and dehydration. When processed meats are a factor in someone’s diet, the additives damage skin by dehydrating the body and weakening collagen. Water is pulled out of cells by salt and other preservatives when they are too highly concentrated in the blood. Processed meats with high sugar content raise blood glucose levels, which creates excess sebum. Weakened cells, excess buildup, and high-glucose blood levels contribute to a weakened and overactive immune system.
Paying attention to ingredients is one of the best ways of avoiding too many unwanted substances that can cause inflammation. The ingredients in processed meats don’t only cause skin problems like dehydration and outbreaks but can cause other issues like joint pains and arthritis, muscle stiffness, fatigue, and headaches. In some cases, hair loss or excessive sweating can be signs of inflammation related to too much processed meat.
To get the most out of foods, seek higher quality ingredients with lower processing and lower amounts of salts and preservatives. Try making meals at home more frequently, or choose vegetarian substitutes to decrease your exposure to inflammation-causing foods. As is always best for your skin, make sure to stay hydrated by drinking lots of water.
If you’re experiencing breakouts, dehydration, or other skin conditions that you think may be caused by your diet, schedule a consultation today to discuss your habits and have one of our dermatology specialists examine your skin.