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Topic summary contributed by volunteer(s): John

Nitrosamines are one of the carcinogenic agents present in cigarette smoke. Nitrosamines are formed from nitrites (those good compounds that dilate blood vessels) in the absence of phytonutrients found in plant foods.

Nitrosamines are found in processed meats (smoked, canned, and preserved) and grilled meats. Just a few hot dogs may contain the carcinogenic nitrosamine load of a pack of cigarettes. In fact, just the smell of frying bacon even contains nitrosamines.

Vitamin C is one of the phytonutrients that can help prevent the body from converting nitrites to nitrosamines. This may be why the nitrites found in vegetables and other plant foods are not converted to carcinogenic nitrosamines.

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