This image shows a stack of packaged meats. Sodium, nitrates and more.Avoiding processed meats — These foods have been modified by smoking, curing, salting, or adding preservatives. Examples of processed meats include bacon, ham, salami, hot dogs, and sausages. Several studies have found that eating more processed meats may shorten your lifespan by increasing your risk of death from all causes, especially cancers and cardiovascular disease.

Processed meats have about four times more sodium and 50% more nitrate preservatives than their unprocessed counterparts. Other research suggets that consuming processed meats can result in a higher risk for colon cancer.


An image of the symbol for Sodium (
Why avoid processed meats?
  • Processed meats can contain high amounts of sodium, which can raise blood pressure and damage your blood vessels.
  • They have nitrites and nitrates, which can form carcinogenic nitrosamines when they react with other compounds in the body.
  • They contain heme iron, a promoter of oxidative stress and inflammation in the body.
  • They are often cooked at high temperatures, which is known to generate harmful chemicals such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and heterocyclic amines (HCAs).
How can I reduce the negative effects of processed meats?
This image shows prepared meat products that are labeled indicating their preservatives


  • Limit your intake to no more than one serving per week, or avoid them altogether.
  • Choose leaner and fresher cuts of meat, such as chicken, turkey, or fish.
  • Replace processed meats with healthier sources of protein, such as beans, nuts, seeds, eggs, or dairy products.
  • Cook your meat at lower temperatures and avoid charring or burning it.

Keep your body healthy by choosing more natural forms of protein – fresh fish, poultry, and grass-fed beef, for example. Aging isn’t optional, but staying healthy while you age is!

Dig deeper into the subject at the Progress Report at

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