Processed meat has been shown to be associated with certain detrimental health outcomes, including an increased risk of gastrointestinal cancer. The reason for this is understood to be due to the presence of preservatives in the meat, which can include sodium nitrite and sodium nitrate. In the acid environment of the stomach, these compounds can result in the formation of nitrosamines, and it is known that nitrosamines are carcinogenic. Regular consumption of processed meat therefore increases the concentration of nitrosamines that come into contact with intestinal cells, and this can be a cause of cancer. Antioxidants are able to prevent the formation of nitrosamines in the stomach, and in particular vitamin C may be effective in this role. Antioxidants in fruits and vegetables may also prevent the formation of nitrosamines. Consuming antioxidants whenever processed meat is consumed, may therefore negate some of the detrimental effects, and may protect from the formation of gastrointestinal cancer.
Eat Well, Stay Healthy, Protect Yourself