Skip to Content

Publications

Nutrition tips: how to avoid nitrates in meat

Focused on Health - July 2013

These tips are part of the Healthy Bites challenge, developed to help you eat the right foods and lower your cancer risks!

nutrition-labelFollow these easy tips to successfully complete the “avoid processed meat” challenge.

Nutrition Tip 1: Read the label. Check the ingredient list for words like nitrate, nitrite, cured or salted. If you spot these words, it’s a processed meat.

Nutrition Tip 2: Be an educated buyer. Even meats labeled “uncured” still can have nitrates and nitrites in them.  

What about nitrate-free meats? These meats may have less nitrates and nitrites. But, they’re not completely nitrate-free. When you eat nitrate-free food, your stomach actually turns some nitrates into nitrites. And, some of these nitrites can then form cancer-causing substances in your body.

So eat these meats in small quantities, too.

Nutrition Tip 3: Think outside the box. Eating less processed meat is easier than you think. Here are some healthy swap tips to get you started.

  • Add grilled chicken, hard-boiled egg, beans, tofu or flaked tuna to your salad instead of cubed deli meat.
  • Order a grilled chicken or fish sandwich instead of a deli sandwich.
  • Add vegetables to your omelet instead of bacon, ham or sausage. 

READ ALSO: Your guide to eating less processed meat

READ ALSO: Recipes: Mexican food, wraps and rolls

Subscribe to our newsletter

Get the latest on protecting your body from cancer. 

     

Get Cancer Prevention Tips

Sign up for our newsletter, Focused on Health, to receive tips you can use to protect your body from cancer.  


© 2014 The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center