15High Nitrate Foods- Leafy Greens!
Nitrate is a salt of nitric acid and is actually found naturally in fruits and vegetables that are grown closer to the ground, like leafy greens for instance. Not to make things too complicated, but simply put, the nitrate can go through a conversion process (nitosamines) in the body which
can have some negative effects on the baby’s health.
Excessive nitrate in a baby’s system can cause what experts call “Blue Baby Syndrome” (BBS). BBS hinders the normal transportation of oxygen to the red blood cells, thereby giving baby’s skin a blue hue. In more extreme cases the lack of oxygen may lead to gradual asphyxiation, and urgent medical care may be required. However, most cases are caused by the combined use of well water and vegetables high in natural nitrate, when preparing homemade baby food.
Interesting fact: On the other hand, because nitrate also causes low blood pressure, the following vegetables are actually highly recommended against hypertension and heart disease for adults!
Can you think of any veggies that grow close to the ground? Yup….all of them!
The ones that stand out the most, as they are often used in the preparation of baby food are:
For spinach and other leafy greens like kale, or collard greens, nitrate levels may actually increase with improper storage. It is best to introduce babies to these vegetables after 6 months of age.
As most of the warnings about nitrates in baby food are related to homemade preparations, as long as you carefully prepare and store the food you make, there is an extremely low chance your baby will ever have BBS.
Here are some tips you can follow to avoid excessive nitrate in baby's food:
- prepare and freeze vegetables immediately after purchase
- avoid using vegetables frozen for over 4 months (id with date)
- don’t thaw vegetables at room temperature
- do not use well water
- use organic as much as possible as these have been proven to contain less nitrates
Also, you should not feel guilty if you use store bought baby food on occasion, as companies that manufacture these do screen for high nitrate concentrations. There is also a safety standard they have to abide to by law.