Summer Headache?

Recent research shows that a preservative in hot dogs may be causing your headaches. Nitrites are used to preserve processed meats including hot dogs, bologna, ham, sausage, bacon and other luncheon meats. Nitrites are known to dilate blood vessels and cause headaches in those sensitive to nitrites. Not only are hot dogs associated with headaches but research published in the June 1995 issue of Cancer Causes and Control, found that hot dogs were the culprit in the higher incidence of leukemia among 232 children in Los Angeles. The children, 10 years and under, with leukemia were matched with a control group of children who were healthy. Those with the highest incidence of leukemia regularly ate more than 12 hot dogs per month. Two other reports published in the same issue found that children born to mothers who eat just one hot dog weekly during pregnancy or fathers who ate hot dogs regularly before conception have double the normal risk of developing brain tumors. The researchers suggest that the trigger is the highly carcinogenic nitrosamines, metabolites of nitrites used in processed meats. Switch to tofu or veggie dogs this summer and reduce your consumption of processed meats or better yet eliminate them altogether.

Pediatr Neurol. 2003 Jan;28(1):9-15. The diet factor in pediatric and adolescent migraine.

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