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Nitrates in meat are harmful, but in plants it is beneficial

Images: Canva

Images: Canva

Megan Rossi, a gut nutritionist expert, said that according to a study after study has convincingly linked the frequent consumption of processed meats such as bacon, sausages, hot dogs, corned beef and salami to cancer, in particular colon cancer.

Images: Canva

While we still don’t know definitively what this link is, there’s strong evidence that at least part of the issue is the added chemicals (nitrates and nitrites) used to process or preserve these meats.

Images: Canva

These additives stop bacteria growing in the meat, keeping it “safe” to eat and looking pink for much longer than normal.

Images: Canva

But the combination of additives, protein, iron and high cooking temperatures facilitate the conversion of nitrites to cancer-causing nitrosamines (also one of the many toxic chemicals found in cigarette smoke).

Images: Canva

Nitrates can also be found in plants, such as spinach, beetroot and carrots, and in much higher quantities.

Images: Canva

However, our oral microbiota (the microbes in our mouth are able to convert these nitrates > nitrites > nitric oxide, which helps dilate our blood vessels. This is good for lowering blood pressure, a risk factor for heart disease, as well as athletic performance.

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