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Nitrates in Vegetables

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created March 25, 2013 at 11:15 AM

Hi there,

I have a question about the level of nitrates in vegetables. I've recently read that the levels of nitrates in vegetables can be up to 100 times higher than bacon, which is now apparently fine.

Like most Paleo people I eat a LOT of vegetables and I try to buy organic when possible, but I'd say probably about 50% of my veg intake ends up being non-organic.

Forgive if I'm misinformed but I was under the impression vegetables were actually GOOD for you! What the hell is all this talk of nitrates in vegetables and the whole host of health problems they can cause? Cavemen ate vegetables right?

BTW a lot of the veg I eat is in the form of root vegetables, as I'm a ''hard-gainer'' and I need the extra starch/carb value.

Thanks for answers.

F823371a5c530abf36eab29b7ce3ee2a

(50)

on March 25, 2013
at 09:02 PM

Secondly, do you think the presence of nitrates in vegetables, organic and non-organic, supports the theory that cavemen didn't actually eat that many vegetables high in nitrates and, at least in the Northern hemisphere, only really ate leaves and berries as their source of vegetable matter? Of course, I understand they did not know what nitrates were.

F823371a5c530abf36eab29b7ce3ee2a

(50)

on March 25, 2013
at 08:56 PM

This is an incredibly interesting fact and I'll certainly be eating a bit of ginger with every meal from now on. How come we're not advised to do this though and the common advice is 'vegetables contain vitamin C so that blocks any harmful effects of the nitrosomines'?

4781cf8ae1bfcb558dfb056af17bea94

(4359)

on March 25, 2013
at 02:24 PM

Adding vitamin C can actually increase the concentration of nitrosamines in the stomach. This is likeley because vit C causes more NO to be formed which disolves in the faty/oily components of the stomach contents (and vit C is lipophobic) where it forms nitrosamines. Try a water soluble antioxidants (like lemon juice) AND a low-dose fat soluble antioxidant (like ginger, turmeric, rosemary or oregano) TOGETHER.

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3 Answers

2
A2c38be4c54c91a15071f82f14cac0b3

(12682)

on March 25, 2013
at 11:44 AM

Nitrates in vegetables should be of low concern. Well established toxicology reports have generally found that it should be safe to eat the nitrate equivalent of about one and a half pounds of spinach (an especially nitrate rich food) every day:

http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/02652039009373938

And the potential negative role of nitrates on cancer (and other supposed nitrate induced health problems) is not, in opinion, nearly as strong as the potential positive role of nitrates on cardiovascular health:

http://journals.lww.com/co-lipidology/Abstract/2011/02000/Nitrite_and_nitrate__cardiovascular_risk_benefit.4.aspx

"The collective body of evidence suggests that foods enriched in nitrite and nitrate provide significant health benefits with very little risk".

0
32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on March 25, 2013
at 01:40 PM

Nitrate/ites are the reason why vegetable intake is associate with lower blood pressure. NO2/NO3 converts to nitric oxide, a known vasodilator. Nitrates/ites aren't necessarily a bad thing I think.

0
1d1a1aa53ec46345db814f2e5bc03838

(108)

on March 25, 2013
at 11:23 AM

I learned that the nitrates can be reduced by adding a bit of lemon juice (pressed out of fresh lemons) to the vegetables. That's at least what they said on TV.

F823371a5c530abf36eab29b7ce3ee2a

(50)

on March 25, 2013
at 09:02 PM

Secondly, do you think the presence of nitrates in vegetables, organic and non-organic, supports the theory that cavemen didn't actually eat that many vegetables high in nitrates and, at least in the Northern hemisphere, only really ate leaves and berries as their source of vegetable matter? Of course, I understand they did not know what nitrates were.

4781cf8ae1bfcb558dfb056af17bea94

(4359)

on March 25, 2013
at 02:24 PM

Adding vitamin C can actually increase the concentration of nitrosamines in the stomach. This is likeley because vit C causes more NO to be formed which disolves in the faty/oily components of the stomach contents (and vit C is lipophobic) where it forms nitrosamines. Try a water soluble antioxidants (like lemon juice) AND a low-dose fat soluble antioxidant (like ginger, turmeric, rosemary or oregano) TOGETHER.

F823371a5c530abf36eab29b7ce3ee2a

(50)

on March 25, 2013
at 08:56 PM

This is an incredibly interesting fact and I'll certainly be eating a bit of ginger with every meal from now on. How come we're not advised to do this though and the common advice is 'vegetables contain vitamin C so that blocks any harmful effects of the nitrosomines'?

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