Sausage links are available of types, featuring different kinds of meat. Links made from beef sausage, Italian sausage, turkey or pork all vary slightly in their nutritional value and contents. The one thing that unites all these sausage links is a high sodium content. Another link between these sausage links is the United States Department of Agriculture definition of a single serving. The actual number of links in a serving can vary, but they all weigh between 1.5 and 2.5 ounces per serving.
Fresh Pork Sausage
A breakfast consisting of a couple of servings of fresh pork sausage can provide you with your entire daily allowance of vitamin B12, which assists in digestion and metabolizing carbohydrates and fats. Lesser amounts of the B vitamin thiamine helps protect the body from the effects of aging. Fresh pork sausage links are high in saturated fat which stimulates production of cholesterol in the body, but also contains low levels of niacin which helps to lower cholesterol according to “The UC Berkeley Wellness Self Care Handbook.”
Smoked Pork Sausage
Smoked pork sausage links is higher in both fat and sodium than fresh pork. Smoked links often contain preservatives called nitrites that are proven to prevent botulism, but may potentially contribute to cancer. The University of Minnesota Extension declares that despite this risk, the evidence indicates that smoked pork sausage links containing nitrites are safe for consumption. Smoke links feature slightly more vitamins B12, thiamine and niacin and more zinc and iron than fresh pork. Some smoke links contain an amino acid called tyramine that poses a threat of high blood pressure to anyone using MAO inhibitors, according to virtualtrials.com.
Beef Sausage Links
The presence of nitrites, excessive sodium and both saturated and monounsaturated fat in smoked beef sausage links makes them nutritionally suspect for anyone on a high blood pressure diet. Smoked beef links also may contain tyramine and have the potential to trigger migraines in anyone with a sensitivity to nitrites. The vitamin B12 and iron content is similar to pork sausage, though beef links offer less niacin and zinc. Beef sausage links can provide more of a boost to your immune system than pork sausage due to a substantially higher level of vitamin C, according to “Prevention Magazine’s Nutrition Advisor.”
Italian Sausage Links
A good alternative to those who must avoid sausage links containing tyramine is Italian sausage. Italian sausage links contain as much vitamin B12 as fresh pork and twice as much niacin as beef sausage. Like beef and pork sausage links, Italian sausage offers no nutritional advantage through the presence of fiber, but it does contain more protein than similar sausages like kielbasa.
Turkey Sausage Links
Turkey sausage provides an alternative for enjoying links that are lower in calories, fat and sodium. Perhaps surprisingly, turkey sausage actually contains more cholesterol than beef or pork. Although lower than pork and Italian sausage, turkey links offer 9g of protein per serving. Where turkey sausage really excels ahead of other links is in its 19mg of choline, which is a vitamin that facilitates transmission of nerve impulses from the brain throughout the central nervous system. Choline also helps maintain efficient metabolizing of fat and cholesterol, according to “Prescriptions for Nutritional Healing.”