Are you a fan of Boar’s Head ham?
If so, you may be wondering if it contains nitrates.
Nitrates are a common preservative used in many cold cuts to prevent the growth of bacteria.
However, they have been linked to health concerns such as cancer and heart disease.
So, is Boar’s Head ham free of nitrates?
The answer may surprise you.
In this article, we’ll take a closer look at Boar’s Head ham and its ingredients to determine whether or not it contains nitrates.
Let’s dive in!
Does Boar’s Head Ham Have Nitrates?
Boar’s Head is a popular brand of deli meats known for their high-quality ingredients and delicious taste.
When it comes to their ham, the answer to whether or not it contains nitrates is a bit complicated.
According to the Boar’s Head website, their ham does not contain any added nitrates or nitrites.
However, there is a caveat.
The website states that “No Nitrates or Nitrites added except for those naturally occurring in cultured celery powder and sea salt.”
This means that while Boar’s Head ham does not have any added nitrates, it may still contain small amounts of nitrates that occur naturally in the ingredients used to make it.
Celery powder and sea salt are often used as natural alternatives to synthetic nitrates in deli meats.
While these natural sources of nitrates are generally considered safer than synthetic ones, they can still pose health risks if consumed in large amounts.
It’s also worth noting that Boar’s Head offers a line of “All Natural” deli meats that are free from artificial preservatives, including nitrates and nitrites.
If you’re concerned about the potential health risks of consuming nitrates, these products may be a better option for you.
What Are Nitrates And Why Are They Used In Ham?
Nitrates are chemical compounds that are commonly used in the food industry as preservatives. They are created during photosynthesis when nitrates combine with certain bacteria and break down into nitrites. Sodium nitrate, a salt created from nitric acid, is often used in cold cuts and processed meats to prevent bacterial growth and give the meat its distinctive color and flavor.
In the case of ham, nitrates are used to preserve the meat and prevent the growth of harmful bacteria. Without nitrates, ham would quickly spoil and become unsafe to eat. Nitrates also contribute to the pink color of ham, which is considered more visually appealing than gray meat.
However, there is some concern about the potential health risks associated with consuming nitrates. High levels of sodium, which is often used in conjunction with nitrates, can contribute to hypertension and increase the risk of heart disease. Additionally, there is some evidence linking high consumption of processed meats, which often contain nitrates, to an increased risk of colorectal cancers.
To address these concerns, some companies have begun using natural alternatives to synthetic nitrates in their deli meats. Celery powder and sea salt are two common sources of natural nitrates that are considered safer than synthetic ones. Boar’s Head offers a line of “All Natural” deli meats that are free from artificial preservatives, including nitrates and nitrites.
The Potential Health Risks Of Consuming Nitrates
Nitrates are a type of inorganic, water-soluble chemical that can be found in various foods, including deli meats like ham. While nitrates are not harmful on their own, they can be converted into nitrites by the gut biome, which can lead to health complications such as an increased risk of cancer.
Consuming added nitrates through processed meats like ham has been linked to several health risks. For instance, infants who consume high levels of nitrates may develop methemoglobinemia, also known as blue baby syndrome. Pregnant women who consume high levels of nitrates may also experience complications during pregnancy. Furthermore, studies have shown that consuming high levels of nitrates can increase the risk of cancer.
It’s worth noting that not all sources of nitrates are harmful. In fact, some natural sources of nitrates, such as those found in vegetables and beetroot juice, have been linked to health benefits like lower blood pressure and enhanced exercise performance. Additionally, nitrates are used as the active ingredient in some medications for angina.
However, when it comes to consuming nitrates through processed meats like ham, it’s important to be mindful of the potential health risks. While Boar’s Head ham does not contain any added nitrates or nitrites, it may still contain small amounts of naturally occurring nitrates from ingredients like celery powder and sea salt. Opting for all-natural deli meats that are free from artificial preservatives may be a safer option for those concerned about the potential health risks of consuming nitrates.
Boar’s Head’s Stance On Nitrates In Their Products
Boar’s Head takes a cautious approach when it comes to nitrates in their deli meats.
According to their website, they believe in using natural ingredients and avoiding artificial preservatives whenever possible.
While they do use celery powder and sea salt as natural sources of nitrates in some of their products, they state that they do not add any synthetic nitrates or nitrites to their meats.
They also offer a line of “All Natural” deli meats that are free from artificial preservatives, including nitrates and nitrites.
Boar’s Head is committed to providing high-quality, delicious deli meats that are safe and healthy for their customers.
If you have concerns about the potential risks of consuming nitrates, it’s worth checking out their “All Natural” line or speaking with a healthcare professional for guidance.
Examining The Ingredients Label Of Boar’s Head Ham
To get a better understanding of the ingredients in Boar’s Head ham, let’s take a closer look at the label.
The ingredients listed on the Boar’s Head ham packaging are: Ham, Water, Cultured Dextrose, Contains Less Than 2% of Salt, Vinegar, Cultured Celery Powder, Sodium Phosphate, Cherry Powder, and Natural Flavorings.
Firstly, it’s important to note that the ham is the main ingredient and that water is added to help keep it moist.
Cultured dextrose and cultured celery powder are both natural sources of nitrates and are used as alternatives to synthetic nitrates.
Sodium phosphate is a common food additive used as a flavor enhancer and to help preserve the meat. It is generally considered safe in small amounts but can be harmful in large quantities.
Cherry powder is used for flavor and as a natural preservative. It is also a source of antioxidants.
Finally, natural flavorings are added to enhance the taste of the ham.
Overall, while Boar’s Head ham does contain some naturally occurring nitrates from cultured celery powder and cherry powder, it does not have any added synthetic nitrates or nitrites.
It’s important to remember that consuming nitrates in moderation is generally safe but excessive consumption can lead to health risks. If you’re concerned about your nitrate intake, consider opting for Boar’s Head’s “All Natural” deli meats or limiting your consumption of processed meats altogether.
Alternative Options For Nitrate-free Ham Lovers.
For those who are looking for nitrate-free options for their ham, there are several alternatives available.
One option is to look for uncured ham, which is not treated with nitrates or nitrites during the curing process. Boar’s Head offers an “All Natural” line of deli meats that includes uncured ham, which is slow-cooked to perfection.
Another option is to look for charcuterie meats that are free from nitrates. Parma Ham, Finocchiona, and Capocollo are all examples of uncured meats that can be found without nitrates. However, it’s important to note that some meats marketed as “nitrate-free” may still contain vegetable-based nitrates such as celery powder.
If you’re concerned about the potential health risks of consuming nitrates, you can also try making your own cold cuts by roasting chicken, turkey, or beef and slicing them yourself. This way, you can control the ingredients and ensure that no nitrates are added.
Lastly, if you’re dealing with a picky eater who insists on traditional deli meats like bologna or pepperoni, you can pair the sandwich with an orange or other fruit high in vitamin C to help counteract the nitrates. While a little bit of pepperoni or ham is fine, it’s important to remember that moderation is key when it comes to consuming processed meats.