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Aug 17, 2020

What Are Nitrates & What Foods Contain Them?

Why You Should Avoid Foods With Nitrates

Nitrates are a naturally occurring substance found in some foods. Unfortunately, just because they are natural that doesn’t mean that they are good for you. In this article, we will tell you how to avoid nitrates and shoot for healthier alternatives.

Effects of Nitrates

The main issue with nitrates is that they have been linked to the development of some forms of cancer. Bacteria in the mouth and enzymes in the body can interact with them to form nitrites, compounds that could be harmful. In some cases, the development of nitrites can lead to the formation of bowel cancer or other forms of cancer. There is also a potential link between nitrates and pregnancy complications. For that reason, some people understandably want to cut down on nitrates and eliminate the foods that contain them from their diet.

Foods that Contain Nitrates

Bacon: This might be the most famous of the nitrate-rich foods, with many people thinking of it first when nitrates come to mind. The curing process creates nitrates, and too many of them can be bad for your health.

Other cured meats: As we mentioned, the curing process is the culprit when it comes to nitrates in bacon. As a result, other types of cured meats also end up containing nitrates in most cases. We’re talking about ham, salami, corned beef, hot dogs, and others.

Canned meat: Vienna sausages, dried fish, and other meat commonly found in cans can also contain nitrates.

Jerky: Dried meat can contain nitrates due to the preservatives used.

A Note About Nitrates in Vegetables

There are also a variety of vegetables that contain nitrates, but we didn’t mention them above for a reason. Many of the previously mentioned foods contain synthetic nitrates that are added during processing. These are a bigger problem than naturally occurring nitrates.

The vegetables that contain nitrates, like beets, turnips, and watercress, also contain plenty of other nutrients that protect you from adverse health effects. As a result, these vegetables containing nitrates are actually healthy for you because they contain vitamins and minerals that are crucial for your overall health and ones that help you fight back against certain forms of cancer.

Healthier Alternatives

Nitrate-free products: Due to the attention that nitrates have received in recent years, some food companies have begun to come out with nitrate-free versions of some of the most popular nitrate containing foods, including bacon. If you’re concerned about nitrates they could be worth a purchase.

Beans: As you may have noticed, meat products are a primary carrier of nitrates. Cutting out those products can leave your diet with a protein deficiency that beans could help solve. Soybeans, black beans, pinto beans, and many others contain the protein you need with none of the nitrates.

Dried fruit: If you’re really missing that jerky, dried fruit is a filling snack with a similar texture and plenty of nutrients to offer.

For More Organic Food and Natural Ingredients Ideas

If you’re looking for more ways to incorporate healthy and organic food into your diet, we can help Visit the Organic Restaurants website to learn more about natural ingredients and healthy restaurants in your area today!


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