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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

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