The foods a person eats can increase his or her risk of developing various types of cancer. Sodium nitrite and sodium nitrate are widely used as preservatives, antimicrobial agents, colorings, and flavorings in cured meats and many other products. Nitrates and nitrites are commonly found in hot dogs and lunch meats. Once they are consumed, nitrates turn into nitrites in the digestive system, and it is believed that nitrites react with certain bodily chemicals and turn into cancer-causing carcinogens known as nitrosamines. Green, leafy vegetables and root vegetables contain naturally occurring nitrites as well. However, it is believed that nitrites in vegetables do not have the same effect on the body as artifically added ones, so the benefits of eating vegetables outweigh these risks. But avoiding nitrites does not mean people have to give up their favorite foods. Many types of bacon, hot dogs, bologna, and other foods now come in nitrite-free varieties, which is possible by using salt, vinegar and sugar rather than sodium nitrite to cure the meat.