Today I want to discuss an important topic with you – How to protect yourself from food with the high content of nitrates.
I have recently moved to Cyprus and here I like to get my fruits and vegetables directly from farmers, who assure me that their products are fully organic, free of nitrates, etc.
Yes, they really taste much nicer than the supermarket stuff and they have rich smell.
However, I started to ask myself a question if I’m really making a safe choice and how healthy are these fresh fruit and vegetables I get every day?
It is common knowledge that different chemicals, fertilizers and pesticides are used for growing fruits and vegetables. The increased concentration of fertilizers in the soil can lead to the severe damage of your health. Out of all chemicals nitrates are the most harmful and if they are consumed by you daily, it can be bad news for your organism and will bring to developing serious diseases.
What are nitrates?
Nitrates are nitric acid (HNO3) compounds which plants (fruits, vegetables) extract from the soil. Nitrates are harmless by themselves, but as soon as they get into our bodies, they are transformed into the poisonous nitrites.
Example of diseases caused by the high level of nitrates:
I think all of you know personally people who got food intoxication after consuming watermelons, cucumbers and mushrooms. Apart from the food intoxication, vomiting and diarrhea, the high level of nitrates can lead to such serious diseases as:
- Methemoglobinemia (baby blue syndrome). It is blood disorder at which the insufficient level of oxygen is delivered to the cells. Usually hemoglobin carries oxygen through your blood, but in case of methemoglobinemia, the specific type of hemoglobin (called methemoglobin) is produced by your body. Methemoglobin carries the oxygen through your bloodstream, but it doesn’t bring it to the cells. If produced in excessive quantities methemoglobin starts replacing your normal hemoglobine which leads to hypoxia and its consequences such as headache, nausea, shortness of breath, rapid heart rate and fatigue. Even loss of consciousness in the most severe cases.
- Cancer. After being consumed nitrates are converted to nitrites. After the reaction with natural and synthetic compounds nitrites produce N-Nitroso compounds, many of which are in fact, carcinogenic.
- Birth Defects. It is possible that nitrites and N-Nitroso compounds are connected with birth defects.
- Disruption of thyroid function.
So are we being exposed to dangerous chemicals while buying our fruits and vegetables from farmers? Unfortunately, the control over nitrate levels in fresh fruits and vegetables is neglected in most places. It is not a secret that many farmers use too much fertilizers and this will result in the dangerous level of the nitrate content in fruits and vegetables produced by them.
Is there a way to protect ourselves?
Yes, there is. There are special devices called nitrate testers, eco-testers or green-testers. They are small and portable. They are meant to quickly determine the level of nitrates in fruits and vegetables you are about to buy.
Eco-testers are suitable for farmers, distributors, shop owners, restaurant owners, in fact, for all those people who want to protect their own health and the health of their customers/consumers.
In just three seconds you can make the decision whether you have made the right choice about the food you are going to get.
What are the dangers of green-testers?
You can become obsessed with measuring whatever food you are getting 🙂 Like I ended up doing )))
Apart from this humorous remark, there are no other dangers, only profits. And yes, don’t forget to wash your eco-tester probe after every use.