Nitrates are salt made from nitric acid. Nitrates can be lethal to infants if ingested in too large amounts and can cause illness in adults if too much is taken. However, a small amount of nitrates can be beneficial to your heart and they are used in some heart medicines. They are also used to preserve many foods. If you wish to either avoid nitrates, it’s important to know what foods contain nitrate.
Curing meats is a preservation process that allows the meats to be edible long after their normal rotting cycle. Meats are cured in many different ways. Meat is cured by salt, sugar, nitrites, smoking and nitrates. Naturally, the amount of nitrates used in curing the meat is small enough not to be poisonous to humans. However, eating too much cured meat can lead to nitrate problems. As a result, infants should be fed cured meat as little as possible. Try to buy fresh meat from a butcher or from a high quality grocery store. If you must preserve your meat, put it in a freezer or refrigerator.
Chocolate is a very popular snack. There are some chocolates that are even low in fat and even somewhat healthy. However, chocolate does contain a small amount of nitrate. The amount of nitrates in chocolate is not incredibly large, but it is present. You would need to eat a truly gigantic amount of chocolate in your lifetime to get nitrate poisoning from chocolate. However, it may be a good idea to avoid chocolate in your baby’s diet.
Peanut butter is a popular sandwich topping. It contains high amounts of protein and potassium. It also contains a small amount of nitrates. The nitrates are put in to help preserve peanut butter. This is one of the reasons peanut butter has such a long shelf life. Again, the nitrates in the food are small enough to be safe but it should be noted they exist in peanut butter. There are ways to get peanut butter without nitrates. Buying organic peanut butter will avoid this problem, but it should be noted, that organic peanut butter will not have the same shelf life as nitrate-preserved peanut butter.
Onions are used in many ways. Their flavoring effect is used in everything from pizza, cheeseburgers, salads and soups. There is, however, a small amount of nitrate in onion. Many vegetables contain nitrates if they are grown too long. Soil has nitrates in it naturally. Some soils are more saturated than others. If plants are grown too long and lay on the soil, they will absorb some of the nitrates from the soil. Since onions are grown underground, they absorb more nitrates than the average vegetable. However, any vegetable grown underground will contain trace amounts of nitrates.
One of the earliest food preservation processes was the pickling process. Using the herb dill and water, any food can be preserved. The pickling process gives the food the flavor of the dill. Popular pickled foods include picked bologna, pickled pig’s feet and pickles. However, this pickling process will also give the food a small amount of nitrates. Dill is another plant that absorbs nitrates from the soil, and these nitrates will be absorbed into any food you pickle. The amount of nitrates in any pickled food is minor, but if you wish to avoid nitrates, you should avoid pickled food as well.