Top 10 foods to boost your nitric oxide levels

Nitric oxide has a number of crucial purposes in the body, including assisting with blood pressure reduction, enhancing blood flow, and enhancing exercise performance. 

Although nitric oxide supplements are available, it is simplest to consume the precursors as part of a regular diet to reach the required levels.

Why do you need nitric oxide?

The body spontaneously produces the chemical nitric oxide (NO), which is essential for many physiological activities [1].

Because it is a vasodilator, it aids in enlarging blood vessels, improving blood flow and oxygen delivery to different parts of the body.

Nitric oxide is necessary for the following reasons:

  1. Cardiovascular health: Nitric oxide contributes to improved cardiovascular health by regulating blood pressure, preventing blood clots, and reducing inflammation in blood vessels.
  2. Immune function: Nitric oxide supports immune system control and can offer protection from some infections and illnesses.
  3. Brain function: Nitric oxide has an impact on how neurotransmitters are released and how nerve cells communicate, which can enhance memory and cognitive performance.
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A crucial chemical with several key functions in the human body is nitric oxide. Nitric oxide levels should be kept at their ideal levels to promote heart health, exercise performance, sexual function, immunological function and cognitive function.

In general, nitric oxide is a significant chemical essential to overall health. Therefore, taking steps to ensure optimal NO levels through food, exercise, or supplementation may have various advantages.

However, it’s crucial to consult a medical expert before beginning a new supplement regimen.

Foods to boost nitric oxide

Here are 10 food sources that can help boost nitric oxide production in the body:

1. Beets

Nitric oxide is produced by the body from the abundant nitrates found in beets. Several vegetables contain nitrates, a compound that when consumed produces nitric oxide, which aids in relaxing blood vessels and boosting blood flow [2]. 

Nitric oxide, which is created when nitrates are consumed, can aid elevate athletic performance, lower blood pressure, and increasing cardiovascular health.

One of the finest food sources of nitrates is beets, and frequent consumption of them can assist increase the body’s synthesis of nitric oxide.

The best methods to include beets in your diet and benefit from nitric oxide are to drink beet juice or consume cooked beets.

Beets

2. Spinach

Spinach contains nitrates, a chemical that, when taken, is transformed into nitric oxide, which aids in relaxing blood vessels and boosting blood flow.

The production of nitric oxide can promote athletic performance, lower blood pressure, improve cardiovascular health, and enhance cognitive function.

Regular consumption of spinach can help to increase nitric oxide production and improve overall health and fitness [3].

Spinach may be added to a number of recipes, such as salads, smoothies, and sautéed foods, and it can be consumed either cooked or raw.

3. Arugula

Leafy green vegetable arugula, often referred to as rocket or roquette, is frequently used in salads, sandwiches, and as a garnish for other foods.

It has a unique, somewhat bitter flavor and is an excellent source of minerals including calcium, potassium, iron, and vitamins A, C, and K.

Nitrates, found in arugula, function as the body’s building blocks for nitric oxide (NO). The chemical nitric oxide is crucial for numerous physiological activities, such as controlling blood pressure, blood flow, and immune system activity.

Antioxidants and anti-inflammatory substances found in arugula can help to protect the body from oxidative stress and lower the chance of developing chronic illnesses.

4. Citrus fruits

Oranges, lemons, limes, and grapefruits are examples of citrus fruits, which are distinguished by their vivid, juicy, and acidic flavor.

They are low in calories and high in fiber, as well as being a wonderful source of vitamins and minerals including vitamin C, folate, and potassium.

Citrus fruits don’t naturally contain nitric oxide (NO), but they could indirectly affect the body’s NO levels.

For instance, it has been demonstrated that the antioxidant vitamin C, which is plentiful in citrus fruits, helps to stimulate the synthesis of NO by maintaining the levels of the amino acid L-arginine, which serves as a precursor to NO [4].

A diet rich in fruits and vegetables, particularly citrus fruits, has also been linked to improved cardiovascular health by raising NO levels and encouraging vasodilation, or the widening of blood vessels, according to some research.

This can lessen the risk of heart disease and stroke by lowering blood pressure and improving blood flow.

5. Watermelon

A favorite fruit throughout the summer is watermelon, which is delicious and cooling. It is an excellent source of potassium, magnesium, antioxidants, vitamins A, C, and B6, as well as other vitamins and minerals.

Nitric oxide (NO) levels in the body can be increased naturally by eating watermelon. This is due to the fact that watermelon is an excellent source of the amino acid L-citrulline, which the body converts into L-arginine and eventually into NO.

Consuming watermelon or pills containing L-citrulline has been linked to higher NO levels and better cardiovascular health, according to studies.

Before exercising, drinking watermelon juice boosted NO levels and enhanced blood flow to the muscles, both of which can improve athletic performance.

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6. Pomegranate

This delicious fruit has ruby-red arils that are noted for its sweet-tart flavor. Watermelon is a Pomegranate. It is an excellent source of antioxidants, vitamin C, potassium and other vitamins and minerals.

Nitric oxide (NO) levels in the body have been demonstrated to be indirectly impacted by pomegranate consumption.

Several physiological processes, including the control of blood pressure, blood flow and immune system operation, depend on the molecule NO.

By raising NO levels and encouraging vasodilation, or the widening of blood vessels, several studies have discovered that pomegranate juice or supplements can assist to enhance cardiovascular health [5].

This can lessen the risk of heart disease and stroke by lowering blood pressure and improving blood flow.

7. Garlic

A fragrant, savory, and pungent plant, garlic is frequently used in cuisine all throughout the world. It is an excellent source of antioxidants, manganese, vitamins B6 and C, and other vitamins and minerals.

Antioxidants included in garlic can boost the synthesis of NO and protect the body from oxidative stress. Allicin, one of the chemicals found in garlic, has been found to have anti-inflammatory characteristics.

By lowering oxidative stress and inflammation, these substances can also assist to enhance cardiovascular health.

8. Walnuts

A variety of tree nuts used frequently in baking and cuisine is the walnut. They are a wonderful source of protein, vitamins, minerals, and healthy unsaturated fats including omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin E, and magnesium.

L-arginine, an amino acid that serves as a precursor to NO, is abundant in walnuts [6]. The body may produce NO from L-arginine when it is eaten.

Walnuts are also a strong source of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory substances, which can aid in reducing inflammation and defending the body against oxidative stress.

This can increase NO levels and encourage vasodilation, or the widening of blood vessels, which can stimulate NO production and enhance cardiovascular health.

9. Dark chocolate

The ingredients used to make dark chocolate include sugar, cocoa butter, and cocoa solids. Dark chocolate, as opposed to milk chocolate, has a greater percentage of cocoa solids, making it a good source of flavonoids, antioxidants and other minerals.

By raising NO levels and encouraging vasodilation, or the widening of blood vessels, the consumption of dark chocolate or cocoa powder can assist to promote cardiovascular health.

Additionally, dark chocolate is a good source of antioxidants, which can support NO production and shield the body from oxidative stress.

Dark chocolate contains flavonoids that have been found to have anti-inflammatory characteristics.

By lowering oxidative stress and inflammation, these flavonoids can also assist to enhance cardiovascular health.

dark chocolate

10. Salmon

The rich flavor and great nutritional content of salmon make it a popular fish to eat. It is an excellent source of protein, vitamins, and minerals like vitamin D, B vitamins, and omega-3 fatty acids.

Salmon is a strong source of antioxidants, which can boost the synthesis of NO and protect the body from oxidative stress.

Salmon’s omega-3 fatty acids have been found to have anti-inflammatory qualities, and through lowering oxidative stress and inflammation, they can also aid in improving cardiovascular health.

Should you take nitric oxide?

The body naturally produces the chemical nitric oxide (NO), which is essential for numerous physiological activities including controlling blood pressure, blood flow, and immune system operation.

Although NO is a crucial molecule, taking NO supplements is typically not advised because the body is able to produce enough NO on its own.

Some patients, such as those with particular medical conditions, may benefit from taking NO supplements to support cardiovascular health and enhance blood flow.

However, as NO supplements can interact with other medications and may have side effects, this should only be done under the guidance of a doctor.

It is typically advised to concentrate on having a healthy lifestyle that includes a balanced diet, consistent exercise, stress management, and enough sleep instead of consuming NO supplements. This may enhance general health and assist the body’s natural synthesis of NO.

In conclusion, it is always advisable to consult with a healthcare expert before using any NO supplements to ascertain if they are right for you and to discuss the potential dangers and advantages.

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[1] https://academic.oup.com/jn/article/137/6/1650S/4664939
[2] https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/how-to-increase-nitric-oxide
[3] https://nutrigardens.com/blogs/blog/how-red-spinach-supplement-will-boost-nitric-oxide
[4] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3249911/
[5] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5563971
[6] https://academic.oup.com/jn/article/137/6/1650S/4664939

Photograph: GalAmashukeli/Envato
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