There is much confusion about deli meat. And there is really so much to know about deli meat, and the debate on the salt content and nitrates seem unending. The truth is, we are just asking the wrong questions.
What is inside a sandwich anyway? Some deli meat, such as freshly baked turkey and roast beef, are deli meat that are made of pure meat and are cooked with salt and a few more spices. Other deli meat, like chicken and bologna, come from strips of meat shaven from the bone and chunks of it are compressed and with a binder, molded in a casing and smoked for hours. The very processed deli meat is a mixture of various kinds of meat mixed together and a binder is used to mold together. Spices and preservatives are included in the meat combination. Meats like salami, kelbasa or mortadella, are fermented and smoked for a couple of days.
What makes the deli meat so controversial is the use of preservatives, especially nitrates, which is used to control the growth of Clostridium botulinum, the organism that causes botulism. Nitrates, when decomposed by the body, produce nitrosamine, which can cause cancer. However, there are contentions over the consumption of nitrates, and its conversion, can be stopped by loading up with vitamin C. Also, as any health buff will tell you, a successful health regimen will never succeed unless you eat up on fruits and vegetables. Aside from sodium nitrate, other additives present in your cold cut is BHT, BHA, & Tocopherols, chemicals that control the oxidation process, as well as citric acid, gelatin, corn syrup and food starch.
Of all deli meats, the healthiest would be the turkey meat. A slice of turkey only has 51 calories per ounce and 213 milligrams of salt. Each ounce of sliced turkey contains 6 grams of protein. You can go as much as four slices a day. Turkey meat is derived from domesticated turkeys, and may or may not be organically fed. Aside from the ever-famous turkey sandwich, turkey is great with salad, casseroles or with pasta.
Chicken breast is great with only 29 calories per ounce. This very versatile meat can be transformed into soups, sandwiches, wraps, or simply sautéed with tomatoes and basil The salt content is very low as well at 374 milligrams. You can try out of the box recipes like wrapping it in lettuce and sesame seed dressing. Grilled chicken breast can also be great in Bulgogi sauce and rice.
Another super healthy cold cut is the salami. This lean piece of meat comes so close to chicken breast as calorie content is concerned, with only 1.63g of total fat. It’s great if you can make a healthy pizza with it, but a delicious salami sandwich with a generous amount of tomatoes and basil. Salami sandwiches with watercress is also a nice with rye bread. Lettuce and a generous amount of cream cheese compliment with the salami’s sour and salty tastes as well.
Ham is also a good and healthy option for a cold cut meal. Aside from being tasty as a melt with cheese, ham is great as a soup topping or served with pineapple relish and toast. Fat content of ham is only 2.41 grams of fat. Ham only has 46 calories per ounce. Salt content is also low at 365 milligrams.
For other cold cut options, Safeway and Walmart have selections that will suit your taste and health preferences. Always remember that cold cuts are only good for three days, and discard the leftovers after this time frame.
What a lot of people do not realize is that deli meat actually contains a lot of protein, and is lean enough as to not overdose you with fat. A slice of chicken breast, for example, contain 5 grams of protein. A slice of salami has the most protein at 6.68 grams. All in all, deli meat is packed with protein without loading you up with fat.
Try deli meats and be at the top of your diet plan. Make sure that you carefully look at the nutritional content of each type of meat, and make careful considerations with portions.
Deli meat might be processed and mostly misunderstood. It’s time that you looked more closely.