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Monday, February 22, 2010

Nitrates...Diving In

After my Dr. Oz post the other day, I came to the realization that I need to learn more about nitrates.  By web-surfing, I was able to find a lot of information...

  • What: Nitrates Many foods, especially cured meats use nitrates to preserve color and maintain microbial safety. Nitrate is harmless, but it can convert to nitrite, which can form nitrosamines, a powerful cancer-causing chemical, in your body. Whenever possible, look for nitrate-free preserved meats. 

Nitrates are naturally occurring nitrogen/oxygen salt compounds found in almost every vegetable that we eat and the soils they are grown in. Nitrates are also laboratory formulated and used in fertilizers. Nitrates are ingested either from vegetables or drinking water. Nitrates/nitrites have been found to be responsible for "Blue Baby Syndrome." Adults are not affected by nitrates or nitrites because their stomachs produce acids that fight the bacteria that help convert nitrates into nitrites.

  • Examples of Meats with Nitrates: This includes foods that are typically pink in color like bologna, salami, pepperoni, hotdogs, corned beef, pastrami, bacon, and cured ham. The Cancer Blog


  •  Examples of Veggies with Nitrates: spinach, beets, cabbage, carrots, broccoli Wholesome Baby Food 

Apparently, organicly-grown veggies may not have nitrates but it's not 100%.

Also from The Cancer Blog, Children are especially susceptible to nitrite poisoning. These carcinogenic compounds have been associated with cancer of the oral cavity, urinary bladder, esophagus, stomach and brain and child leukemia. One study found that children eating more than 12 hot dogs per month have nine times the normal risk of developing childhood leukemia. So take the time to help your children eat right and set good eating habits from the beginning. If you just have that uncontrollable craving for a hot dog, be sure to buy a brand of hot dogs that do not contain nitrates. Or when the pizza craving hits, order a veggie pizza and learn to leave off the pepperoni and ham and other processed meats with nitrates.

  •  What to look for: Natural, nitrate-free meat.  According to message boards I have seen, Hormel and Boars Head might be good to start with, just be careful, because not all products are nitrate-free, so read before you buy.  Trader Joes and Whole Foods seem to be recommended a lot for their availability of nitrate-free meats.

More Info:
TLC: What is it and is it harmful?
MSNBC: The 5 things you need to know about deli meats
EHOW: How to avoid nitrates in babyfood 
Wholesome Babyfood: Nitrates and Babyfood 



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