Organic. Farm-fed. Clean eating. Now that you’re taking charge of your health by making positive changes, you’re more familiar with these kinds of terms. But lately you may have been hearing more about nitrates and their potential impact on health. What are they? Do they really damage the body? Here are the facts about nitrates that you need to know.
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5 Facts About Nitrates
1. Nitrates are found in nature, processed products, and fertilizers. Nitrates, along with nitrites, are chemical compounds that occur naturally in the environment. Food manufacturers also add them as preservatives to products like hot dogs, salami, deli meats, and pickled foods. In addition, they’re found in crop fertilizers, meaning the chemicals leach into the crops and nearby water supplies.
2. These substances interact with other body compounds. Within the body, nitrates react with other compounds to potentially create cancer-causing substances. This reaction is more likely to happen when protein, including animal protein, is present in the system.
3. Some studies have linked cured meats to a higher cancer risk. Do nitrates cause cancer? Researchers are trying to find a definitive answer. Some studies suggest a link. For example, one trial showed that children who ate three or more hot dogs per week had higher rates of leukemia than those who didn’t consume as much. However, other research offers evidence of no such link.
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4. Cooking processed meats using high heat produces carcinogens. When bacon, hot dogs, and other processed meats are cooked over high temps, a chemical reaction creates nitrate-based carcinogens. Reduce your family’s exposure by cooking the meat slowly over low heat.
5. Eating veggies reduces the impact of nitrates. Vegetables contain antioxidants, which are believed to stop the transformation of nitrates into carcinogens. If you’re serving cured meats, be sure to also serve a generous helping of vegetables. Another way to add nitrate-fighting veggies to the diet is by enjoying a tasty smoothie. Try our Superfoods Smoothie or Big 5 Superfood Smoothie.
Now that you know the facts about nitrates, you’re able to make healthier choices about what you and your family consume.
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