Are nitrates good or bad for health? Why? – Online International News Network Pipa News

Are nitrates good or bad for health? Why? – Online International News Network

Islamabad, May 26 (Online): Nitrates are compounds made of nitrogen and oxygen atoms. They are commonly found in vegetables, meat and drinking water.
In 1976, two studies showed that nitrates can form N-nitrosamines, which are highly carcinogenic in laboratory animals and also linked to cancer in humans. These studies and others have formed the basis for guidelines on monitoring nitrate intake.
However, other research suggests that vegetables high in nitrates may protect against heart disease.
Studies also show that some sources of nitrates can inhibit the production of N-nitrosamines. One study found that nitrates from vegetables containing vitamin C or polyphenols can inhibit its production, meaning consumers can enjoy the benefits of the nutrient while avoiding its negative consequences.
Further study on the health effects of nitrates may lead to the development of healthier diets and prevention strategies for a variety of conditions.
Nitrates: Good or Bad?
Recently, a team led by researchers from Edith Cowan University, Australia, reviewed studies examining the health benefits and harms of dietary nitrates.

They concluded that the evidence is insufficient to say that nitrates in food and water are carcinogenic and that more study is needed to understand the scale of their effects.
“About 80% of our dietary nitrate comes from vegetable consumption,” Dr. Kelly Johnson-Arbor, medical toxicologist, co-medical director, and interim executive director of the National Capital Poison Center, who was not involved in the study, told Medical News Today.
“When food sources of nitrate are consumed, the nitrate is absorbed by the salivary glands, where it is converted to nitrite. From there, the nitrite is absorbed into the bloodstream and converted to nitric oxide.” Nitric oxide plays an important role in many functions within the human body, including the regulation of blood pressure and heart health.
The study was published in Trends in Food Science and Technology.
Which foods are sources of nitrates?
Current guidelines suggest a nitrate intake of 0–3.7 milligrams per kilogram (mg/kg) of body weight — or about 260 milligrams (mg) for an adult weighing 70 kilograms (kg).

Plants are the major sources of nitrates. Leafy vegetables such as arugula, Chinese spinach, and butterhead lettuce contain the highest levels of nitrates at over 2,500 mg/kg. Fruits such as nectarines and peaches contain the lowest amount of nitrates, less than 25 mg/kg.
Nitrates are found in small amounts in animal-based food products. Most animal-based products, such as red meat, poultry and fish, contain less than 50 mg/kg. Dairy products also contain low levels, with less than 0.5 mg/kg in skimmed milk.
Processed meat products contain high levels of nitrates because sodium and potassium nitrates are often used as additives. For example, chorizo ​​contains an average of 101 mg/kg, and fresh sausage averages 77 mg/kg.

Dr Johnson-Arbor told MNT: “Nitrates and nitrites are added to processed meats to reduce bacterial contamination and prevent foodborne diseases such as botulism. This process is called ‘curing’. Since cured meats Many people choose to avoid the consumption of ham, bologna, bacon or other processed meats in an effort to avoid nitrate consumption and reduce cancer risk.
“Some people choose to eat ‘unprocessed’ or ‘naturally cured’ meat products instead. These meat products are cured with celery or other vegetable juices instead of nitrates and salt. While a good source, ‘naturally cured’ or ‘uncured’ meats still often contain significant amounts of nitrates, and there is likely to be little health benefit from consuming those products.
– Dr. Kelly Johnson-Arbor
Nitrates are also found in both surface and groundwater. The World Health Organization (WHO) guideline value for nitrate in drinking water is 50 milligrams per liter (mg/L).
A European Commission report in 2021 found that 14% of groundwater monitoring sites had above 50 mg/L, although the majority had 25 mg/L or less of nitrate.
health benefits of nitrates
Several comprehensive reviews have found that dietary nitrates improve cardiovascular function and health and reduce the long-term risk for heart disease. Most of these studies examined the effects of nitrate intake from plant sources.
In addition, dietary nitrate intake can increase levels of nitric oxide, a molecule involved in regulation of the central nervous and cardiovascular systems, both of which affect cognition and brain function.
The researchers note that nitric oxide inhibits phosphorylation of the protein tau, which may be relevant because Alzheimer’s disease is associated with hyperphosphorylation of tau.
They noted that seven out of 12 clinical trials looked at whether dietary nitrate from beetroot juice was associated with improved cognitive function and cerebral blood flow. However, four studies found that nitrate had no effect on cognitive function.
Studies also show that nitrates taken as supplements or from dietary sources:
• Increase muscle function and strength
• Increase exercise time to exhaustion, power output and distance covered
• Benefits to eye health and reduced risk of age-related macular degeneration
• has anti-inflammatory effect
• May reduce the risk of diabetes.
Few trials have explored direct effects of nitrates on type 2 diabetes. However, a trial of beetroot powder as a source of dietary nitrate found no significant effect on glucose or insulin parameters.
Doctor. Dana Ellis Hunnes, a senior clinical dietitian at UCLA Medical Center and an adjunct assistant professor at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health in Los Angeles, who was not involved in the study, told MNT.

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