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Why are nitrates bad?

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
Okay, so I remember from when dd was a babe that I'm not supposed to feed regular carrots or spinach to the babies because they might contain nitrates. For those, I'm supposed to buy jarred babyfood since they are somehow screened, right? But I can't find any information about why nitrates are bad, what they do, at what age are they okay (if ever)? Anyone care to share some info or links? Thanks!
post #2 of 12
They are hard on the liver and kidneys.
post #3 of 12
I read this too, but I had also read that they are not 100% nitrate free in baby food either.

Not sure.

Our DD is into finger food and I would love to feed her soft carrots that were not jarred food.
post #4 of 12
how long does this apply? At what age can you start with cooked carrots as finger food?
post #5 of 12
The body doesn't produce the enzyme to handle nitrates at first. they should be fine, in reasonable quantities after about 8mos.
post #6 of 12
I have read that you only have to really worry about nitrates before 6 months, and since you probably wouldn't be feeding your dc anything before then The nitrate content has to do with where the food was grown... so if you grow your own or get your veggies from a local farm you should check out the levels in your local soil.

love and peace.
post #7 of 12
Thread Starter 
Still seems a bit unclear exactly what is the issue & for how long...but thanks everyone for the info.
post #8 of 12
The name “Blue Baby Syndrome” stems from the fact that nitrites hinder proper oxygen transportation in the red blood cells. “Once in the blood, nitrite oxidizes iron in the hemoglobin of red blood cells to form methemoglobin, which lacks hemoglobin's oxygen-carrying ability.”1 Without proper oxygen saturation in the blood, the body’s cells become oxygen deprived and the skin takes on a blue or purple hue. This oxygen deprivation may lead to the slow asphyxiation of the person poisoned.

Hope that helps.
post #9 of 12
Thread Starter 
Thank you MITB!! That article answered all my questions. Like this:

"Because the intake of naturally occurring nitrates from foods such as green beans, carrots, squash, spinach, and beets can be as high as or higher than that from well water, these foods should be avoided before 3 months of age, although there is no nutritional indication to add complementary foods to the diet of the healthy term infant before 6 months of age" http://pediatrics.aappublications.or...full/116/3/784

and this:

"Around the age of three months, an increase in the amount of hydrochloric acid in a baby's stomach kills most of the bacteria that convert nitrate to nitrite. By the time a baby is six months old, its digestive system is fully developed, and none of the nitrate-converting bacteria remain. In older children and adults, nitrate is absorbed and excreted, and Methemoglobinemia is no longer a concern." http://ohioline.osu.edu/b744/b744_2.html

and this:
If you prefer to make your own homemade baby vegetables, an alternative is to choose organic produce. Organics do not use commercial nitrate fertilizers and thus the risk of nitrate contamination/concentration is minimized, but not eliminated. The AAP suggests a very cautious and conservative waiting period, 8 months or older, to make homemade leafy vegetables that may contain nitrates. While this sounds frightening, the fact is that nitrate poisoning comes from contaminated drinking/ground water before it ever comes from vegetables.
post #10 of 12
Just to be clear, it's nitrItes that are bad, not nitrAtes. Let's not give nitrates (a completely different chemical make up) a bad name now, shall we? :
post #11 of 12
wow just another reason to delay the solids until baby is truly ready!
post #12 of 12
Originally Posted by Joannarachel View Post
Just to be clear, it's nitrItes that are bad, not nitrAtes. Let's not give nitrates (a completely different chemical make up) a bad name now, shall we? :
Sorry! I hadn't noticed that. Thank you!
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