It’s baseball season, and that unique, mouth-watering aroma of hot dogs wafts in the air. What could be more American than watching your favorite MLB team while sinking your teeth into a wonderful hot dog and washing it down with a nice cold drink? There is no doubt that hot dogs have remained popular throughout the centuries. But their nutritious value has often been underestimated.
Like other meats, hot dogs can be part of a healthy diet as outlined in the U.S. Dietary Guidelines. Hot dogs are not only good for the muscles and brain, but they are also an energy booster and can make you feel good. Today, there are an array of hot dogs and sausages available to suit everyone’s dietary goals.
Are you an excited hot dog fan eager to learn everything there is to know about the advantages of hot dogs? Well, read on to discover all the benefits that hot dogs offer!
1. Provides Protein
One of the most significant benefits gained from chowing down that tempting hot dog is that you receive a good amount of protein. A typical hot dog gives you about 5 to 7 grams of protein, which is around 15% of the daily recommended value.
Your body needs protein to function the way it should and to stay fit and healthy. It’s vital for developing, repairing, and maintaining strong muscles. Protein-rich foods are beneficial for proper growth in children and reducing muscles loss as you age. Additionally, protein helps optimize muscle training both during exercise and afterward in the recovery stage.
Yes, that yummy hot dog sizzling on your grill is a complete protein powerhouse. It contains all the nine essential amino acids that your body cannot produce on its own.
2. Source of Minerals
A hot dog is also a source of many essential minerals and micronutrients.
Selenium. One hot dog provides 11% of your daily value (DV) for selenium. Selenium is a trace mineral that helps improve cognition, immune system function, and fertility.
Zinc. One hot dog fulfilled 11% of your DV for zinc, which helps the immune system, metabolism function, wound healing, and the sense of taste and smell.
Phosphorus. Hot dogs are also a source of Phosphorus (6% DV) needed to build strong, healthy bones and keep your body healthy.
Potassium. Potassium (4% DV) regulates the heartbeat, ensures proper function of the muscles and nerves, and is crucial for the normal functioning of all cells.
Iron. Fulfilling 4% of the DV, the iron in hot dogs is an important nutrient that provides oxygen and produced hormones for the body.
Copper. In one hot dog, you get 3% of the DV for copper. Besides pairing with iron to form healthy red blood cells, this nutrient helps maintain healthy bones, blood vessels, and a robust immune system.
Unlike minerals from grains and vegetables, these nutrients from meat are more “bioavailable,” – which means the body more readily absorbs ad uses them.
3. Contains Vitamin B
Eating hot dogs is a great way to get your dose of Vitamin B12. Just one hot dog can provide about 30 % of your daily recommended value.
Vitamin B12 is a group of vitamins vital for normal metabolism, brain development, and mental clarity. Additionally, it helps make DNA and prevents megaloblastic anemia, a blood condition that causes tiredness and weakness.
4. Has Lower Calories Than Other Popular Options
A typical six-inch beef hot dog contains around 150 calories. This is less than 10% of the daily recommended calorie allowance. Paired with a plain bun and toppings of ketchup, mustard, and relish, you will be in the 300 to 350 calorie range.
Compared to a hamburger, hot dogs have far fewer calories. For example, a 4-ounce beef burger alone contains 300 calories. A plain bun and slice of cheese add up to around 500 calories.
5. Supports Brain Health
Did you know what the selenium found in hot dogs has been linked to better brain health?
Selenium is a vital nutrient in metabolism, reproduction, DNA synthesis, and protection against oxidative damage and infection. Selenium deficiency results in brain declines in the elderly and a higher risk of cognitive decline over time.
Fortunately, a single dog can cover approximately 11% of your daily recommended allowance of this vital nutrient.
6. Provides Iron
Iron is integral to muscle metabolism because it helps red blood cells to carry oxygen to every part of your body. Iron deficiency can cause anemia, resulting in weakness, fatigue, immunity issues, gastrointestinal distress, and impaired cognitive function,
The two primary forms of iron are non-heme and heme. While non-heme comes from plant-based foods, heme is found in animal products such as beef.
By providing you around 4% of the daily value, that yummy beef hot dog not only gives you joy but also helps you reach your daily dose of iron!
7. It’s Energy Dense
Are you short on time today? Meetings, deadlines, new opportunities, kids, and exams can often take over the day. If you need to eat on the go, just grab a hotdog and continue with your day!
Since a dog and bun contains around 300 grams of calories, eating this meal can give you that much-needed boost of energy. These precious calories will supply you with enough strength to keep you going through a busy day.
8. It’s Versatile
Some people are totally against anything that has to do with a hot dog. However, there are healthier ways to eat a hot dog that can help change their mind.
You can get as creative as you want to tailor your hot dog to your diet. Go for a whole wheat bun to wrap your hotdog. Check the labels for organic meat low in sodium. Dress up your dog with plenty of veggies, onions, and tomatoes to add nutrients. Sauerkraut is a great topping. This fermented food is really good for the gut! Similarly, you might also want to skip the cheese to reduce fat. Or, if all else fails, you can even get yourself a veggie hot dog!
9. It’s Actual Meat
Then some spread internet rumors that hot dogs are made from lips and snouts and clippings off the floor. But are they true? Thanks to the USDA‘s hot dog food safety guidelines, we can rest assured that our hot dogs are made of real beef, pork, chicken, or turkey. Also, thanks to America’s laws, making hot dogs out of floor clippings is prohibited, and government inspectors are stationed in every factory to make sure that quality meat is used.
10. It’s Healthier Than You Think
Hot dogs are healthy – as long as you top them with healthy ingredients! Hot dogs by themselves contain around 150 grams of calories, 5 grams of protein, and almost no carbs. So, eating a dozen hot dogs may not be acceptable, but just one won’t harm your no-junk diet!
You may have heard that hot dogs are unhealthy because of the nitrates used to keep meat safe. However, nitrates are naturally occurring. You get more nitrates in spinach, celery, or beets than in a hot dog! Its also believed that nitrates could be good for the heart.
11. Gain Quick Calories
A hot dog by itself is less than 200 calories. But you probably eat it wrapped in a regular white refined flour hot dog bun, which adds around 100 calories and a little bit of fiber (0.81g). This may not be good news for everyone. But if you are a picky eater or having trouble taking in calories, hots dogs can help you quickly add up those much-needed calories.
12. It’s Inexpensive
On top of that, hotdogs are an inexpensive meal. Although social media constantly tells us to show off our fancy meals and luxurious vacations, everyone still likes a deal. Even the rich and famous don’t mind getting down and homey at times. So even when going for expensive dogs and buns, you can make yourself a meal under less than an average meal.
13. Benefits Of Mustard
The yellow paste you squirt into your juicy dog may have more health benefits than you imagined. Mustard has been proclaimed a superfood since it is rich in protein, fiber, vitamin C, and many B vitamins. In addition, it provides relief from muscular pains, ringworm, and respiratory disorders and helps treat cancer and diabetes! However, it’s always good to be cautious about overloading mustard in your dog as it can be pretty high in sodium.
14. It’s Easy To Make
If you’re looking for an easy and quick meal, hot dogs can be perfect. Hot dogs are precooked and smoked, which means you don’t have much left to do! A quick boil or warm-up in the microwave with an extra 5-minute toss in the frying pan is all it takes.
15. They’re Yum
That unique blend of bread and meat with savory spices – always makes a delicious meal. Toppings can always be adjusted to suit your preference – from a sweet relish to fresh tomatoes, pickles, onions, or even ketchup!
16. It’s a Part of American History
Last but not least, eating hot dogs is proudly American; it’s a historical activity! Along with many other foods, sausages, called frankfurters or wieners, were brought over to America during the mass immigration during the 1800s. It didn’t take long for hot dogs to be a standard food item at sporting events, colleges, and fairs throughout the whole country.
Hot dogs became an American icon in 1939 when President Roosevelt served hot dogs to King George VI. It was the first time a British ruler came to meet an American President in the United States!
On a Final Note
The hot dog has earned its place as a part of American culture, and it’s not going anywhere. Despite changing times, fads, and tastes, hot dogs have only remained to adapt themselves to people’s different preferences.
The grocery stores are riddled with hot dog choices such as turkey, chicken, and even tofu for veggie lovers! Moderation is the key, and if you look at the labels, there’s nothing to lose with an occasional dog. So, drizzle that mustard on your hot dog and feel good about it!