Food Preservation Techniques with High Health Risks
While storing food over the course of months or even years is a great way to stretch a budget and time, there is some health risks associated with several preservation techniques. Some are minor, while others can be serious.
Preservation with Salt
One of the oldest food preservation techniques in all of human history is rolling a meal in salt so that it does not spoil. Salt or a saline solution will keep germs and bacteria from developing in food so that it can stay fresh and unspoiled for several weeks. Most frequently, meats and fish are cured with salt. Commercial fishermen purchase salt by the ton in order to transport salmon, cod, mahi mahi and seafood. The health risks of eating too much salt from food preservation, however, become quite severe. Too much salt leads to high blood pressure that threatens the health of the heart and nerves. High sodium intake can lead to hypertension, strokes and coronary disease. You can minimize the intake of salt in preserved food by washing it before you eat it, but there will still be salt left within the food.
Sweet as Sugar
In the same manner as salt, sugar is a time-tested means of keeping foods (especially fruits) from spoiling. By preserving fruits in a sugary sap, the fruits may be kept good for months instead of spoiling in a matter of days. The damage that sugar intake does to the human body, however, makes high consumption extremely dangerous. Sugar is one of the major sources of calories for many Americans, especially in the form of high fructose corn syrup. The body cannot effectively turn this into energy unless a person immediately exercises after eating, meaning that the sugar quickly turns to fat. The burden of metabolizing sugar is harmful on the liver and kidneys, leading to organ failure and even cancers.
Allergies and Preservatives
While traditional drying processes of fruits and meats were simply to place them into the sun until the moisture evaporated, today food is dried using sulfites. These sulfites, chemicals like sulfur dioxide and sodium bisulfite, can have a major effect on the human body. For those with allergies, these can trigger a reaction that will close up the throat and lead to suffocation. Even if you do not have allergies, some sulfites are linked to cancer development.
Food storage can be beneficial, but some types of storage will increase the risk of health hazards. Make sure that you do not consume foods high in sodium, sugar, or sulfites.