Otto in my I love bacon blanketI do love me some good bacon, which I think most of you will agree with me. Salty, a touch of sweetness, crunchy, or chewy, fatty, and the smell... I can taste it's yumminess as I type. But wait, aren't the nitrites and nitrates really bad for you so you should avoid bacon?
Did you know your body actually makes nitrites? Yup, it does. You produce more in your salivary glands than you could ever consume from food. Either nitrites must be healthy for us or you need to stop swallowing your spit.
Vegetables contain far far more nitrites than any cured meat, including hot dogs. Things such as a single serving of kale, celery, beets, Swiss chard can have more than 10 times the amount of nitrites as a single serving of bacon. You consume most of your nitrites from food from your veggies. These have to be worse for you than bacon and cured meat!
When meats say "naturally cured" they use celery seeds due to the enormous amounts of nitrites in them to cure the meat.
Here is one way in which these are healthy for us:
- You consume nitrates
- On the back of your tongue is beneficial bacteria, do not kill these off with too much alcohol based mouth wash
- When the nitrates hit the saliva and the bacteria, they are converted into nitrites
- Down the hatch this goes into the stomach, which should be good and acidic, keep that stomach acidic
- Once the nitrites hit the stomach acid, some of this turns into nitric oxide. Why is this important? We use nitric oxide to build muscles. You can take supplements for this. It is beneficial to the heart. It is important for cellular signaling and many more things
I hope you can see nitrites and nitrates are actually very good for us and something we need. They are naturally occurring. Not something to fear. For more in depth information on the topic, here is a great article from Chris Kresser.
Saving the world one stick of butter at a time and some yummy bacon.