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J Agric Food Chem. 2019 Jul 3;67(26):7205-7222. doi: 10.1021/acs.jafc.9b01194. Epub 2019 Jun 24.

Nitrate and Nitrites in Foods: Worldwide Regional Distribution in View of Their Risks and Benefits.

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Istanbul Technical University , Department of Chemistry , Maslak, Istanbul , Turkey.


Nitrate and nitrite ions are used as food additives to inhibit the growth of microorganisms in cured and processed meats. Vegetables contain significant quantities of nitrate and nitrite. Actually, the vast majority of consumed nitrate and nitrite comes from natural vegetables and fruits rather than food additives. For years, the cancer risks of these two ions have been discussed, since they potentially convert into the carcinogenic nitrosamines. However, recently, these two ions have been considered essential nutrients which promote nitric oxide production and consequently help cardiovascular health. It seems that the role of these two ions in our diet is important now from a different point of view. In this review, the nitrate and nitrite contents of food products from different countries are displayed globally in order to reinterpret the risks/benefits of our consumption quotations. This review article is based on Science Citation Index (SCI) articles reported between 2008 and 2018.


food; health benefit; health risk; meat; nitrate; nitrite; vegetable

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