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Nitrites and nitrates and your blood pressure

What are nitrites and nitrates? Aren’t they the same thing, except that one is spelt incorrectly? Turns out that nitrites AND nitrates are very important in relation to our blood pressure.

Nitrites and nitrates are compounds found in many foods (like vegetables) and added to others (like meats) to be used as a preservative. They can also be found in drinking water as well as being produced by our own bodies.

So, what’s the difference?

The difference between them is this – a nitrite has two oxygen atoms and one nitrogen atom. A nitrate has one nitrogen atom and THREE oxygen atoms. Simple chemistry really.

Nitrates are the main thing we are going to look at. When nitrates are inside your body they are turned to nitrites by enzymes or bacteria in your mouth.

How do they impact me?

Studies show that nitrates in your body can turn into nitric oxide, which helps to maintain vascular function and blood flow. How? Nitric oxide tells the muscles around our arteries to relax, helping them to dilate and allowing our blood pressure to go down.

However, when nitrites are ADDED to meat as a preservative, it can have negative effects. Some studies suggest that when these nitrites are exposed to a high amount of heat (when you cook the meat) and in the presence of amino acids (found in high protein foods like meat) they turn into nitrosamines, many of which are bad. They ‘bad’ nitrosamines are carcinogenic, meaning they can cause cancer.

So, while vegetables contain nitrites and nitrates they are rarely exposed to the same level of heat as meat, meaning less chance of nitrosamines forming.

I personally have found that sodium nitrate, the preservative added to meats like ham, bacon, corned silverside and hotdogs raises my blood pressure. And eating foods with natural nitrites and nitrates lowers my blood pressure.

What should I eat to help decrease by blood pressure?

Vegetables are a large source of nitrates in our diet and increasing the amount we eat can have a beneficial impact on our blood pressure.

We all know that vegetables are good for us, but some are better for certain conditions than others. Many people experiencing problems with blood pressure can change their diet to include more vegetables with higher levels of nitrates, including:

  • celery
  • leafy greens
  • beets
  • parsley
  • leeks
  • endive
  • cabbage
  • cress
  • chervil
  • lettuce
  • spinach
  • rocket
  • kohlrabi
  • parsley

These vegetables absorb high levels of these nitrites and nitrates through their roots.

Eat better, feel better

Studies have shown that drinking just a glass of beetroot juice per day can help to lower your blood pressure. Why not make it fun and use the list above to create a menu of juices to choose from each day!

Try to limit the amount of processed foods you consume. Buy local or from a farmers market. When you do eat processed meat – like bacon – try cooking it for longer at a lower heat. This will limit the number of nitrosamines (and hence carcinogens) produced during the cooking process.

If you would like to know more about improving your blood pressure, please contact me for a consultation.



Julie Lewin – a world renowned Medical Intuitive started her journey into the art of intuition in 1984. She appeared in four episodes of the TV show “The Extraordinary” which was syndicated to 22 countries.  She’s a published author, Amazon #1 Bestseller and has a Bachelor in Metaphysical Science. Julie won the Our Internet Secrets Business Builder Award 2013, has founded a charity, and teaches her healing modality.