A new study shows that patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) who eat more than the equivalent of one slice of cured meat per day like ham, bacon or hot dogs were twice as likely to be readmitted to the hospital for COPD related issues. In part of the study, scientists found that rats consuming high concentrations of sodium nitrite, as found in the meats, was associated with the development of lung issues and this could be the link in humans as well.
Smoking is still the primary risk factor for COPD. In the study, smokers reported eating higher levels of cured meat than non-smokers reported.
The study also showed that those managing their disease through inhaled corticosteroids were less affected by the consumption of ham and other cured meats. Researchers found that the anti-inflammatory properties of corticosteroids could reduce the effects of the nitrites in the meat.