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The hidden dangers of hot dogs, salami, and beef jerky!

Let’s face it, we already know that eating a plant-based diet is one way to better health. However, it’s worth understanding some of the undeniable dangers of eating processed food, in particular, meat products. Snacking on things like hot dogs, salami, and beef jerky could be worse for you than you might expect.

According to a new study from Johns Hopkins Medicine, found a striking link between mania and consuming these types of meat products. The analysis of more than a thousand people found that those who were hospitalised for an episode of mania were also three times more likely to have eaten eaten nitrate-cured meats. The research compared this group of people to those with no significant mental health issues.

“Future work on this association could lead to dietary interventions to help reduce the risk of manic episodes in those who have bipolar disorder or who are otherwise vulnerable to mania,” explains lead author Robert Yolken, M.D., the Theodore and Vada Stanley Distinguished Professor of Neurovirology in Pediatrics at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

The fact that those suffering from mania had eaten cured meats was significant since there were no other surprising facts about their daily diet. “We looked at a number of different dietary exposures and cured meat really stood out. It wasn’t just that people with mania have an abnormal diet,” explains Yolken.

The results of the research suggest that there is a link between consuming processed meats and having bouts of mania. Of course, it’s worth noting that there could be a wide range of reasons that someone may suffer from mania. Variables such as family history, lifestyle, and their support network should also be taken into consideration.

The worrying thing about cured and processed meats – aside from the obvious health issues here – is the fact that many of them contain nitrates. These preservatives have previously been linked to cancer, neurodegenerative diseases, and now mania and erratic moods. While it’s not fair to suggest that eating cured meat causes mania, the experts say that it could mediate this mood problem.

“It’s clear that mania is a complex neuropsychiatric state, and that both genetic vulnerabilities and environmental factors are likely involved in the emergence and severity of bipolar disorder and associated manic episodes,” says M.D./Ph.D. student Seva Khambadkone, Johns Hopkins. “Our results suggest that nitrated cured meat could be one environmental player in mediating mania.”

The new research – combined with what we already know about cured and processed meats – shows many of the foods we once took for granted could carry serious health concerns. Being mindful of the food that you eat is the only way to make sure that you’re getting the healthiest, most nutritious meals. Of course, we believe that the most effective way to do this is to eat more plants and cut back on other, less healthy products.

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