The fact is, most nitrate we consume comes from vegetables. Nitrate we consume coverts to nitrite in our body, which is a anti-microbial agent in our guts. Sodium nitrite in bacon cures the bacon (more info in my safety concerns for charcutepaloozians) and then converts to nitric oxide, so, while I’m not chemist, I have heard others suggest that you’re not actually consuming any nitrite by the time the bacon gets to you. Again, almost all the nitrate and nitrite in your body comes from veggies. It’s an anti-oxidant. Studies are coming out now saying it’s good for the heart.
A study in the Journal of Food Protection put it this way: “Since 93% of ingested nitrite comes from normal metabolic sources, if nitrite caused cancers or was a reproductive toxicant, it would imply that humans have a major design flaw.”