Increase Health With Foods That Boost Nitric Oxide Levels
Age, diet, and fitness are the factors that determine your nitric oxide (NO) production levels. Food in particular plays an important role in keeping up NO levels, especially as we age and NO levels decline. Going beyond the basics of carbohydrates, calories, and vitamins, let’s talk about your food choices and how they impact your nitric oxide levels.
But first, what is nitric oxide? And why is it important to consider when making food choices?
Nitric oxide, or NO, is a gas that is synthesized within our body at maximum capacity when we are young, and as we age it declines nearly 10% every decade. NO is synthesized from the precursor amino acid, L-arginine. NO plays an important role in vasodilation and blood flow.
Restoring healthy levels of NO is important in relaxing the smooth muscle of our blood vessels and arteries, as well as maintaining good health. There are certain foods that deliver higher concentrations of nitrate. When nitric oxide levels decrease (which happens with age, poor diet, and lack of exercise), that’s usually when we start paying attention to this important gas. It becomes imperative to make smart food choices that help supply the missing nitric oxide.
What Foods Boost Nitric Oxide?
Eating nitrate rich foods is an easy way to boost NO levels and achieve NO homeostasis. But not all foods are created equal when it comes to nitrate intake. Plant-based foods are the best choice for increasing nitrate levels. Some particular plants pack a powerful nitrate punch and additional antioxidants and vitamins that aid in the synthesis of nitric oxide. Eating nutrient-dense leafy greens and cruciferous vegetables are perhaps one of the simplest ways to restore some balance to the body, and nitric oxide is no exception. However to reach effective levels of dietary nitrate in the body for health and performance, you need literally pounds of those leafy greens.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at some nitrate rich foods you can add to your breakfast, lunch, and dinner menus.
Top Nitric Oxide Foods, Ranked
Approximately 80% of dietary nitrates are derived from vegetable consumption. Let's get into the nitty-gritty, and yes that’s a hint that soil quality is an important factor. Here are some of the foods richest in nitric oxide.
Leafy & Cruciferous Greens
Leafy and cruciferous greens, such as arugula, kale or cabbage are some of the main sources for boosting your nitric oxide levels.
Red spinach is a high nitrate source, which helps loosen up your body and keep your energy pumping.
Red Beetroot is rich in dietary nitrates and antioxidants. When ingesting your beets (or any other nitrate rich foods), helpful oral bacteria that hang out at the back of your tongue reacts to convert nitrates into nitrite, which then get synthesized into nitric oxide.
However you decide to consume your beets, consider adding beets to your weekly diet, and as an after workout snack. Here’s a quick and delicious beet recipe from @hannah.guthman.
Or you can toss some Beet Boost in your favorite juice, we love adding it to Pineapple juice.
Tart cherries and brightly colored berries are some of the top fruits that help increase nitric oxide levels. In addition to increasing nitric oxide levels, tart cherries (due in large part to anthocyanin) have protective properties against oxidative stress that contribute to cognitive declines which happen as we age.
Garlic is another way to boost nitric oxide levels naturally. By adding garlic to your diet, you will be activating your body in nitric oxide synthase. So while garlic isn’t technically rich in nitrates, it works to activate production of nitric oxide, in some cases as high as 40%.
So, for dinner tonight, consider a hearty salad with nutrient-dense vegetables, a base of spinach and arugula, and some violet beets on top for color and purpose. Not only is it healthy, but it's tasty, too.
Other Methods of Boosting Nitric Oxide
So, you've meal-prepped with the foods above and figured out how to get nitric oxide into your diet in simple ways. What else can you do to maintain those healthy levels of NO?
Functional Foods that boost nitric-oxide levels often include ingredients that help synthesize the production of nitric oxide in the body, such as L-arginine and L-citrulline.
Exercise is an excellent way to restore nitric oxide levels. Physical activity improves endothelial function, which produces nitric oxide, keeping blood vessels relaxed, healthy and happy.
Antioxidants can help combat free radicals that degrade nitric oxide production. You can find many antioxidants in the foods listed above.
Try These Foods That Boost Nitric Oxide Today
Mixing up your diet and focusing on nitric oxide rich foods is an excellent first step in your journey to increasing vitality and homeostasis.
Now that you know some of the foods that boost nitric oxide, what will you do to stay healthier?
For those who need an increased boost of dietary nitrate, we can help. Whether you're elderly, an athlete, or need a quicker solution than cooking a meal, NutriGardens has clean, plant-based, effective solutions for you.
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