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I have a spinach smoothie every day. Am I getting too much nitrate?

  1. Dear Patricia, I take a smoothie that contains spinach every day. Is the amount of nitrate harmful? And is it bad if I prepare half a liter in one go and divide it over two or even three days?

  1. Patricia Schutte, nutritionist There are no limits for eating nitrate-rich vegetables. It is therefore best to have some spinach every day. For your health it is important to vary and eat many different types of vegetables. This way you get different healthy nutrients from each type of vegetable. It is also better to eat fruits and vegetables instead of drinking. Because you unnoticeably take in many calories by drinking a smoothie, smoothies are not included in the Wheel of Five.

Nitrate especially in leafy vegetables

  1. Nitrate is a substance that occurs naturally mainly in leafy vegetables. In addition to spinach, nitrate is also found in: endive, beetroot, chard, celery, Chinese cabbage, kohlrabi, bok choy, purslane, turnip greens, watercress, lettuce, pointed cabbage and fennel.

Risks negligible Nitrate can be converted into nitrite during the preparation and storage of these vegetables. Nitrosamines can be formed from nitrite in combination with proteins from food. This process takes place in the acidic environment of the stomach or the colon. Nitrosamines are potentially carcinogenic substances. Research by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) shows, however, that the risks to health are negligible. There are therefore no limits for eating nitrate-rich vegetables. You can also safely eat nitrate-rich vegetables in combination with fish and shellfish and other products that contain a lot of protein. There are, however, two points for attention regarding the intake of nitrate. Do not use nitrate-rich sports supplements such as beet juice (concentrates) on a daily basis. And for babies, do not bottle-feed water from private sources. This water can contain a lot of nitrate. Read here why vegetables are healthy. Do you also have a question? Ask one of our experts. Always go to your doctor with urgent questions, the experts are not the right person for that. They also don't make diagnoses. You can find the other conditions here. Patricia Schutte has been working for more than 25 years as an information officer at the Netherlands Nutrition Center in The Hague. She answers questions about healthy, sustainable and safe food. Also read This is how you make the perfect smoothie Why you should always have spinach at home Bean burger with spinach, tomato and avocado Don't miss anything anymore?

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