Nitrates and Nitrites are used in most cured meats in the form of sodium nitrate or sodium nitrite. The sodium part adds to the flavor of the meat, and nitrites can inhibit enzymes that cause the meat to break down over time; this can make meats look and smell fresher than they really are and increase their shelf life. Nitrates are added because they break down to form nitrites. Food producers have all kinds of tricks like this which is why it’s always important to check the expiration date as well as your own senses. But that’s not the problem.
While being cooked at high temperatures or digested, nitrates can recombine to form nitrosamines. In the wrong doses nitrosamines are known to be very carcinogenic (cancer causing) and dangerous to one’s health in a number of colorful ways. As always, infants and pregnant women are at the highest risk. The list of potential dangers include:
· Blue Baby Syndrome (which damages the blood’s ability to carry oxygen and can lead to coma or death)
· Birth defects, including heart problems and an increased risk for brain tumors or SIDS
· Bladder or colon cancer
· Childhood diabetes
· Spleen hemorrhaging
Nitrates are also found naturally in several vegetables, such as green beans, carrots, squash, spinach and beets, which is why these foods are not recommended for very young babies. However, these vegetables are also packed with antioxidants like Vitamin C and Vitamin E, which prevent the nitrates from recombining into dangerous nitrosamines. Most cured meats, however, are severely lacking in these protective nutrients, and can therefore pose a greater risk to developed digestive systems.
At Topline Foods, we never use sodium nitrates, nitrites, or any dangerous artificial preservatives. If you and your family love hot dogs, lunch meats, and sausages, but don’t love cancer, you can find what you’re looking for right here.
Call us 480-799-2624
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