For years I’ve bought into the idea that meats (especially bacon) cured with sodium nitrite were terribly dangerous to one’s health.
As is so often the case these days, however, upon additional research thanks to the Internet, my beliefs regarding sodium nitrite are changing.
You’re going to flip when you hear this, but many vegetables actually contain hundreds of times more nitrites than cured meats.
Don’t take my word on this. Instead, look at the research cited in Does Banning Hot Dogs and Bacon Make Sense, a fascinating article by Sandy Szwarc, BSN, RN, CCP…
They compiled 41,969 analytical results from 20 member states and Norway examining the nitrate levels in produce. Nearly every vegetable tested contained measurable amounts of nitrates, with averages varying from 1 to 4,800 ppm. For example, average levels were:
- arugula 4,677 ppm
- basil 2,292 ppm
- butterhead lettuce 2,026 ppm
- beets 1,279 ppm
- celery 1,103 ppm
- spinach 1,066 ppm
- pumpkin 874 ppm
This compares to standard hotdogs or processed meats with average nitrite levels of 10 ppm.
Now if the above FACTS don’t make you perk up and take notice, you need an injection of adrenalin to restart your heart.
Okay, I’ll stop at this point because there’s no way I could cover this topic half as well as Sandy Szwarc’s article.
After you finishing reading the article, go buy some bacon with sodium nitrite because it’s conceivably more healthy for you than arugula and God knows it tastes a LOT better.
[Oh, a quick addendum to this post. On Wednesday, April 14, 2010, Mark Sisson of Mark’s Daily Apple posted yet more informative reading material on why you should be eating bacon, which you can read by clicking here.]