Health Hazards of Smoked Food – How Bad is it for you?

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It’s a no-brainer that in many parts of Africa (Nigeria especially) and across the world, smoking is the most important method for fish and game preservation. Right from the days of our forefathers, people have smoked food and it has become a traditional way of food preservation over the years. It’s the main form of food for consumption for some people.

You’d probably love smoked food because it adds some kind of unique flavour and taste to your delicacies. In fact, you consume them in some kind of way daily. They’re probably the “go-to” foods for those staying away from home. The burning wood scent, crunchy, and well dried characterics that compliment smoke food indeed, has made it the preferred source of food preservation and could make anyone crave for more, more and more!!!

But how bad is it for you? It’s a good method of food preparation(or preservation) and the easiest– yeah,no doubt, but what does making it a preferred option cause to your body in the long run?

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Research has shown that eating excessive amount of smoked foods can increase our risk of certain cancers, particularly of the stomach and colon. This is because all smoked food are made from the burning of fuel(wood specifically) and many chemical contaminants are formed during the combustion of fuel both in the smoking and direct process.

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Toxic chemicals like polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons(PAH), polychlorinate biphenyls(PCB) and dioxins are produced during this combustion of fuel. These are carcinogens and prolonged exposure(by consumption of smoked food) can cause cancer of the stomach, skin, and lungs.

Smoked foods are incredibly high in ordinary salt. They can sometimes contain up to 50 times more salt than their unsmoked version –totally bad for you if you ask me. Too much salt in your diet can increase risk of developing high blood pressure and heart diseases as well as increase in loss of calcium from the bones.

Take for example, fresh Salmon fish contains about 0.1g of salt per 100g, but when smoked, the quantity of salt increases to 4.7g of salt per 100g! Why is this so? Well, you probably cannot smoke your food without adding salt to it– it has to be there!

After salting, you need to put the food in a smoking oven usually using wood as a source of fuel, right? But do you know that this process produces nitrates and nitrites that are dangerous to your health, especially for pregnant women? It produces high levels of these salts which enhances cancers of the colon and stomach in the long run.

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It’s not to say that consuming smoked food is bad for the body– no! Infact, I don’t think it can be taken away from our lifestyle, do you? It’s traditional. But, perhaps you should take precautions in consuming them excessively as they can cause dangerous disease in the long run.

It’s advisable to take them once or twice a week – only!

Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below. Ensure you share with your friends and loved ones, so they can be educated too.

Stay healthy always!

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Akintunde Abiodun R.

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