Is your ‘smoked meat’ really healthy?
SHILLONG: Nutritional, they say, are all indigenous food items. The first thing that strikes us with the word indigenous is 'authentic' but how far is such food actually good for the health?
One cannot deny the fact that many indigenous food items are a way out of many diseases like obesity, diabetes and the likes. However, if one considers 'Smoked meat' or 'Dohthad' (Khasi) in the same list. Then you are wrong.
A popular cuisine in the state of Meghalaya, especially amongst the Khasi, the 'Dohthad' is an indigenous cuisine, of course! But it is not healthy.
For sure, smoking your meat gives it a mouth watering flavor. Beneath this flavor, however, there are dangers associated with the smoke. Although smoke is a good anti-oxidant and anti-microbial agent, over-indulging in smoked meat can cause unwanted effects on your health.
'Excess of everything is bad', the saying fits perfectly well in this case. As studies has revealed that too much consumption of smoked meats are associated with an increased risk for certain cancers due to the presence of cancer-causing substances — carcinogens. For example, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons such as benzopyrenes from wood smoke are toxic.
Experts in the field like Rahul Antao, the Consultant on Slow Food Issues, NESFAS agreed that a smoked meat is not healthy. An alumnus of the University of Gastronomic Sciences, Italy, Antao however, said that smoked meat, if processed properly, will not cause harm to the body. "It is indeed tasty but I also believed that too much consumption of smoked meat is bad for health," he added.
While there is a dearth of definitive study results concluding that smoked meats contain cancer-causing chemicals, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) reports that many epidemiological studies exist that connect high consumption of smoked, grilled or barbecued meat with increased risk of prostate, colorectal and pancreatic cancers.