Loading...
Bless the heart of the stormwater advisory group that suggested to raise the stormwater fees to record levels. I wonder...

Kathy Kolassa: Nitrates and a healthy diet

KolasaKathy

Kathy Kolasa

Loading…

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Dear readers, in time for you to read and think about before making New Year’s resolutions, find your personal physical activity recommendations at https://health.gov/paguidelines. Only 2 in 10 Americans get the physical activity needed to manage their weight, reduce risks for some chronic diseases and to feel great. The guidelines are clear that doing something is better for your health than not moving at all. You don’t have to belong to a gym or have fancy exercise clothes to move. Some is better than none, but adults obtain the maximal benefits of physical activity by regularly performing 150 to 300 minutes per week of moderate-intensity or 75 to 150 minutes of vigorous-intensity activity.

Q Why are nitrate rich green leafy vegetable like arugula, spinach and collard greens considered to be good for heart health, but bacon and other processed meats with added nitrates are considered to be unhealthy? WR, Greenville

A That’s a great question. Brooke Dempster, an ECU dietetic student worked hard to answer your question. Here is what she wants you to know.

The food that we eat is made up of a lot of chemicals and it can sometimes be confusing to figure out the risks or benefits of them to our health. In a food science class, you would learn that nitrates and nitrites are naturally occurring compounds commonly found in vegetables and in additives in processed meats. These two compounds are different based on the number of oxygens attached to the central nitrogen with nitrate having three and nitrite having two.

I won’t try and give a chemistry lesson, but when nitrates are consumed, they are converted to nitrites by bacteria and enzymes produced by salivary glands in your mouth. Further into digestion when nitrites reach the stomach, they have the ability to convert into either nitric oxide or nitrosamines.

The source of the food we consume determines the pathway of the conversion it will take within the body. Nitrates derived from plant products are converted to nitric oxide, a signaling molecule that has many beneficial properties including the protection of cells and the control of cardiac rhythm.

Nitric oxide promotes good heart health because it is a strong vasodilator, meaning it improves the amount of blood flow to and from the heart by increasing the width of blood vessels. This helps improve health conditions like prehypertension and hypertension, also known as high blood pressure by lowering blood pressure resistance. Nitric oxide also protects against plaque build-up in arteries, strokes, and heart attacks. Improving blood flow allows the body to deliver oxygen and nutrients to the body’s many tissues and organs while removing carbon dioxide and waste products. Dietary sources with a considerably high amount of nitrates for the production of nitric oxide include lettuce, spinach, arugula and beets.

On the other hand, nitrites derived from processed meats have the ability to convert to harmful nitrosamines when mixed with stomach acid or when they come in contact with high temperatures. This conversion occurs due to the proteins and iron found in the meat. Nitrosamines are considered carcinogenic due to their association with gastrointestinal, colorectal and rectal cancers and also because of their capability to produce tumors in high amounts.

Nitrates are added to the meat for the purpose of fixing the color and contributing to the overall flavor. They also increase the shelf life of meat by inhibiting the growth of microorganisms within the meat. Nitrates control the oxidation of fat, which means they prevent the meat product from becoming rancid and developing a spoiled off taste and an ammonia like smell.

Nitrites derived from vegetables have the ability to inhibit the conversion to nitrosamines that can promote cancer because they contain a variety of antioxidants, including Vitamin C, Vitamin E, and phytochemicals. This is why it is important to consume fruits and vegetables high in nitrates in order to promote good heart heath and the lower the risk of cancer.

I want to give a shout-out to Dr. Mike Wheeler, chair of ECU’s Department of Nutrition Science who helped us get the message right.

Professor emeritus Kathy Kolasa, a registered dietitian, nutritionist and Ph.D., is an Affiliate Professor in the Brody School of Medicine at ECU. Contact her at kolasaka@ecu.edu.

Loading…

Humans of Greenville

@HumansofGville

Local photographer Joe Pellegrino explores Greenville to create a photographic census of its people.

Look

December 09, 2018

A Stokes resident and retired public school teacher recently published a novel based on a larger-than-life friend engaged marijuana smuggling in the 1960’s abd 1970s.

Life and Times in the Sierra Madres: An American Smuggling Story is written by Michael Biondi. It was published in November…

Michael Biondi

December 09, 2018

 

In the Spring of 1986 I was invited by the deputy chief of staff for Vice President George H. W. Bush to a meeting with the vice president in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building across from the White House. At the time, I was a young executive in the U.S. Department of Commerce working…

David Edgell

December 09, 2018

“There should be an historic plaque in Chapel Hill honoring George Bush.”

On the day after the former president’s death, Chapel Hill lawyer and chair of the town’s historic district commission, Bob Epting, was making opening remarks at a public seminar on preserving historic…

9780812979473.jpg

December 08, 2018

It’s an odd-ball sort of bush.

It’s a native species — nothing odd about that — and it was originally restricted entirely to the coast, from North Carolina all the way to Mississippi.

Now, though, it is common well inland within all of these states, and beyond, and appears…

120818mysteryplant.jpg

December 07, 2018

In the annals of potentially disastrous spinoffs, "Creed" surely stands as an all-time champion. Directed with finesse and sensitivity by Ryan Coogler — who famously went on to make the blockbuster "Black Panther" — the 2015 drama had it all: a classically contoured boxing story, a…

FILM-CREED-REVIEW

December 07, 2018

Over nearly three decades of “The Nutcracker,” it is hard to imagine that anyone saw the Dance Arts Theatre production more than Jeane Welch.

She watched the first performance in 1985 when her daughter, Marty, was a dancer. She was in the audience when her granddaughter, Holton, twirled…

120718gonutcracker1

December 05, 2018

Members of the cast of Magnolia Arts Center's “Elf Jr.” are too young to remember when Will Ferrell starred as Buddy the Elf on the big screen. The beloved 2003 movie, which cost $33 million to make, grossed more than $220 million at the box office.

The musical version, which opens…

December 05, 2018

Wasabi 88 Asian Bistro Sushi & Bar located at 1605 E. Firetower Road in Greenville is the place to go when you’re seeking fresh and flavorful sushi and a multitude of Asian favorites. Front house manager Shawn Grazier invites customers to come and taste the sea at Wasabi 88. They offer…

Crab Wonton.jpg

December 04, 2018

Dear readers, in time for you to read and think about before making New Year’s resolutions, find your personal physical activity recommendations at https://health.gov/paguidelines. Only 2 in 10 Americans get the physical activity needed to manage their weight, reduce risks for some chronic…

KolasaKathy

December 02, 2018

“Because he was a traitor and a pirate,” East Carolina University professor and leading North Carolina public historian, Larry Tise, explained to his sons why Sir Walter Raleigh spent 15 years in the Tower of London and was then beheaded.

In the Nov. 1 News & Observer, Tise wrote…

DGMartin.jpg
197 stories in Look. Viewing 1 through 10.
«First Page   «Previous Page        
Page 1 of 20
        Next Page»   Last Page»