It is common for food producers to add both nitrates and nitrites to processed meats in order to add flavor, prevent the growth of bacteria, and improve the color of the meat. While both nitrates and nitrites occur naturally in vegetables, it is thought that artificially adding these compounds can increase the risk of cancer in the digestive tract.
There are actually some benefits of nitrates when you ingest them from natural sources such as beets. It’s important to understand the difference between naturally occurring nitrates and nitrates and those that are added as a part of food processing.
We all know that healthy eating is an important part of maintaining general health and high quality of life. If you want to prevent cancer and other distressing conditions, it’s a good idea to research the benefits and risks of different types of foods.
With the WHO designating processed and cured meats as one of the major causes of cancer alongside tobacco, understanding the potential benefit of eating nitrate-free deli meat is a worthwhile endeavor.
1. Nitrates in Meat May Increase the Risk For Cancer
There are a number of health conditions and issues that might be caused by ingesting dietary nitrates that are added to foods. One of these risks is that eating meat with nitrate additives is linked to an increased risk of colorectal cancer and gastric cancer.
2. Nitrates Might Raise Blood Pressure
People are increasingly realizing that eating processed foods doesn’t come without some downsides. In general, eating a lot of processed foods can impact your blood pressure. When you have high blood pressure, it can damage your arteries by making them less elastic.
What this can do is decrease the flow of both blood and oxygen to your heart. Over time, this can turn into heart disease. High blood pressure can also lead to angina, which is another word for chest pain.
3. Nitrates Might Not Be Safe For Pregnant Women
Eating too many nitrates can lead to a condition known as methemoglobinemia. This is a condition that can happen to babies that are younger than six months old. Also known as blue baby syndrome, this condition makes it so some of a baby’s red blood cells aren’t able to transport oxygen.
The symptoms of this health condition can range from totally absent to mild to potentially life-threatening.
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Should You Switch to Nitrate Free Deli Meat?
As you can see, there are some compelling reasons to go nitrate free when it comes to deli meat. Of course, it’s always a good idea to talk to your doctor if you’re thinking of changing your diet significantly.
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