Nitrates vs Nitrites

Alrighty BBQ weather, even though I love the char and smoke, I have a responsibility to inform.


Here's the nitty gritty on Nitrates/Nitrites/Nitrosamines:

NitrATES & NitrITES are almost identical in their impact on the body, and aren't harmful on their own.

Processed meats are the main source in the SAD diets of both nitrates & nitrites - they are added to ensure safety & preserving, keep meat looking red/pink.

To recommend overall reduction of Nitrites & Nitrates is controversial as:

1. They keep risky food from spoiling, &

2. They are also naturally occurring in many vegetables and delicious healthy foods. (See the awesome table in my previous post).


BUT Added Nitrites and naturally occurring nitrites can turn into Nitrosamines under high heat (not so good for you).

The health concern is mostly in the body's accumulation of converted nitrosamine which can cause DNA damage.

Smoked & BBQ meats are the major source of nitrosamine in our diets.

Nitrates & Nitrites however - in vegetables like rhubarb, arugula, beets and lettuce - when:
1. Consumed on the daily
2. Are combined with the amazing BACTERIA in your spit
3. And the acid in your stomach churns it

Turn from Nitrates -- Nitrites --> Nitric Oxide (NOX)

(Not the laughing gas and not Nitrosamines).


NOX helps with vessel relaxation

- helps with blood pressure, and does wonders for some men's erectile issues. It's also a bunch of other things that make you happier and healthier, but these two seem to get people motivated.

In this study, it was shown that one cup of beet juice daily can reduce BP by 7.7 mmHg. That's staggering!

And - it only works if you keep eating it. This study found that if you stop eating your vegetables, within 2 weeks your benefits have disappeared.


It could be called a bandaid solution, or it could be called health in a harvest.


Eat your vegetables (Beets & Greens)
Don't use mouthwash. 
Smokies don't count as your NOX intake.