Processed meats like salami, sausages, pepperoni, bacon, preformed ham and hot dogs are a common part of lots of people’s diets. These foods are often full of sodium chloride and some flavor enhancers for a stronger taste.
Many people know that these foods are not quite good for their health, but also there are people that are not informed well about the risks of consuming such foods.
According to some researches processed meat consumption has been associated with somewhat higher risk of dangerous diseases like cancer.
The World Cancer Research Fund suggests avoiding processed meat totally, because it increases the risk of certain types of cancers.
When processed meat products are manufactured there is one substance that is extensively used to work as a colorant and preservative. That is sodium nitrite, which actually helps keep the meat from turning gray or brown. At high temperatures this sodium nitrite combines with amines, substances found in proteins and form toxic chemical compounds called nitrosamines. Most nitrosamines are carcinogenic and it’s believed they may increase your risk of colon, pancreatic and stomach cancers. Knowing this you definitely would like to minimize these compounds in your body.

processed meat cancer risk

Could Vitamin C provide protection from nitrosamines?
While the best suggestion is to cut down processed meat consumption, some studies have shown that vitamin C can maybe provide certain protection from the dangerous nitrosamines formation.
Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant and it’s been shown that when you take it at the same time with processed meat it can limit the formation of nitrosamine in your stomach. However, this is not suggested completely effective and definitely shouldn’t be an encouragement to consume processed meat.
Processed Meat Alternatives
The problem with sodium nitrite is only related to processed meats from pork or beef so wild salmon, grass fed steak, organic chicken and other healthy meats bring no danger for you. If you choose to include meats in your nutrition then these are the best kind to be consuming.
Cutting Down on Processed Meats
No matter if you can reduce the formation of carcinogenic nitrosamines with some good natural choice of vitamin C, the best thing for your overall health is to cut back on processed meat. If you could somehow see how these products are made and what kind of “meat” is in them, you will most definitely never want to eat them again.
The high levels of harmful sodium chloride, nitrosamines, sodium nitrite and the cancer risk related to processed meat consumption should be very good reasons to make some healthier lifestyle choices.