Three celebrities of the ancestral nutrition world posted fantastic resources today, for free! The first one that I spotted was Dave Asprey’s infographic, Why Butter Is Good For You. In the graphic, he lays out some of the nutritional benefits of high-quality butter from grass-fed cows. For example:
- Protects against mental illness
- Decreases intestinal permeability
- Is anti-inflammatory
- Protective against heart disease and cancer
Chris Kresser was the second paleoebrity that popped up on my Facebook feed this morning. His post, The Nitrate and Nitrite Myth: Another Reason not to Fear Bacon answered some lingering doubts that I had. Years ago, I read about studies that showed a carcinogenic effect of nitrites in rats. I tended to avoid them for a while. Later, those studies were discredited, and I read an article about the high nitrite concentration in human saliva. After that, I didn’t worry about nitrites for years. But then again recently, an MD who I respect, an expert in integrative medicine with a lot of nutritional knowledge, made a disparaging remark about nitrates that again called my beliefs about them into question. With this new article, Chris has reinforced my confidence that they’re OK:
In fact, nitrites are produced by your own body in greater amounts than can be obtained from food, and salivary nitrite accounts for 70-90% of our total nitrite exposure. In other words, your spit contains far more nitrites than anything you could ever eat.
When it comes to food, vegetables are the primary source of nitrites. On average, about 93% of nitrites we get from food come from vegetables. It may shock you to learn that one serving of arugula, two servings of butter lettuce, and four servings of celery or beets all have more nitrite than 467 hot dogs. (2) And your own saliva has more nitrites than all of them!
The information in this article in congruent with what Chris says. It also elaborates on the difference between nitrites and nitrates:
One of the things that happens when sodium nitrate is used as a curing agent is that the sodium nitrate is converted to sodium nitrite. It’s sodium nitrite that actually possesses the antimicrobial properties that make it a good preservative. Interestingly, the sodium nitrate that we consume through fruits, vegetables and grains is also converted to sodium nitrite by our digestive process. In other words, when we eat fruits, vegetables or grains, our bodies produce sodium nitrite.
Last but certainly not least, the superhero of the paleo world, Robb Wolf, posted a multi-page infographic on troubleshooting health and fitness issues on the Paleo Diet. Check out his blog post about it.
Although the flow charts in the PDF are highly simplified and easy to understand, I know from listening to Robb’s podcast over the past few years that the information it contains hides a complex body of knowledge that Robb has built up over years of helping people with a huge variety of health and fitness concerns. I highly recommend that you check it out!