The Canadian Meat Council is reaching out to consumers with new messaging about the benefits of prepared meat proteins, in addition to new facts to dispel misperceptions about nitrites.

“Summer is in full swing and families and people from coast-to-coast are gearing up to take advantage of the beautiful weather by heading outdoors and getting active,” says the council. “To help keep energy levels at a maximum, a balanced diet including lean proteins, healthy fats and whole carbohydrates are key to sustaining energy and enjoying the long days of summer.  High quality proteins are an essential part of powering through busy days with sustained energy.”

"High quality proteins have the right balance of essential amino acids to power your muscles throughout the day," says Hélène Charlebois, a registered dietitian. "Protein is a macronutrient, an important source of energy and nutrition that helps people of all ages get through an active day, keep their energy levels up and stay fuller, longer."

Charlebois notes foods with high quality protein include meat and poultry, including prepared meats, also referred to as deli meats, cold cuts or lunch meats, as well as eggs, fish and dairy products.

"Prepared meats are a good quality protein and make a great choice for an on-the-go, ready to eat meal or snack when paired with whole grains and seasonal fruits and vegetables," adds Charlebois. "There are often misconceptions about nitrites in prepared meats. Families can rest assured that nitrites used in prepared meats are essential for food safety, and new research suggests that nitrites have important health benefits, including improving cardiovascular performance."


Know your nitrates, nitrites

Charlebois says new research indicates that nitrates—once converted to nitrites and nitric oxide in the body—act as a vasodilator (help to manage better blood flow), which can improve cardiovascular performance, regulate blood pressure and maximize athletic performance among many benefits.

Charlebois encourages consumers to visit and learn more about the health properties of nitrites. The site notes that…

  • nitrites and nitrates are naturally-occurring molecules that are everywhere in our environment
  • green leafy vegetables, beets, celery and radishes contain the highest levels of nitrites
  • choosing foods like celery, beets and spinach can help consumers increase overall cardiovascular health and reduce blood pressure according to recent studies.