Nitric Oxide: Foods & Juices to Boost Nitric Oxide in Your Blood
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Nitric oxide (NO) is one of the important molecules for blood vessel health in the human body. It is a major vasodilator, i.e., it keeps blood vessels open and flowing. Medical practitioners have always prescribed nitroglycerin to patients with chronic chest pain.
Nitric oxide is mostly good at preventing cardiovascular disease by improving the flow of blood. As a result, nitric oxide can help in erections, and it can help the effectiveness of your workout as your muscles will receive more oxygen and nutrients due to enhanced blood circulation. Thus, it plays an important role in cardiovascular health.
What are the symptoms of low nitric oxide?
Most people suffering from nitric oxide deficiency will experience fatigue, tired by midday. They feel as if they are getting older and lack the energy to perform physical activities. Other symptoms are less stamina, erectile dysfunction or decreased libido, irritability, Depression, insomnia, high blood pressure and decreased heart function.
How to boost nitric oxide naturally?
The human body can generate nitric oxide in two ways. When food sources of nitrates are introduced into the body, they get subsequently converted into nitric oxide. Nitrate is a polyatomic ion (covalent bond of nitrogen and oxygen) found in many sources in nature. In the other way, nitric oxide is synthesized from the amino acids L-arginine, L-citrulline and oxygen by an enzyme known as nitric oxide synthase (NOS). Nitric oxide can then impact vasodilation, blood pressure regulation, and platelet aggregation.
Foods and juices for nitric oxide
Like mentioned before, foods rich in nitrates can help in increasing nitric oxide in your body. The nitrate concentration in the food list below is cited from the journal 'Nitrate in Vegetables' published by the European Food Safety Authority.
Beets have around 150 mg nitrates/100 g while beet juice has over 250 mg/100 g. The research conducted at the University of Exeter concluded that the nitrates in beets could widen blood vessels. In addition to lowering your blood pressure, it also increases stamina significantly.
The concentration of nitrate in lettuce varies as per its varieties. Ordinary lettuce has nitrates around 130 mg/100 g while oak-leaf lettuce has 150 mg/100 g. Butterhead lettuce has nitrates around 200 mg/100 g and curled lettuce has about 160 mg/100 g. Chop those lettuces down and mix it with your salad or you can blend and drink it.
You might remember that Popeye takes spinach and he becomes miraculously powerful within seconds. Although it's not an accurate depiction of spinach's abilities, it is safe to say that it shouldn't be avoided in a man's diet. Spinach has nitrates between 130-300 mg/100 g. In addition to zinc, spinach also holds many other vitamins and minerals.
There are 110 mg nitrates per 100 grams of celery. Make sure you consume organic celery as it is found that most of them available in the market are affected by pesticides.
Arugula, also known as rucola or rocket is known to be rich in nitrates. According to a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Arugula or Rocket has over 480 mg of nitrates per 100 g. It has the most concentration of nitrates in any food source in the world.
Rhubarb is a stem vegetable that is rich in nitrate over 290 mg/100 g. Make sure to consume the stems instead of the leaves. You can have it among salads and smoothies.
Silverbeet or chard has nitrates around 170 mg/100 g. It's kind of leafy vegetable just like spinach.
There are over 140 mg nitrates per 100 grams of white radish while black radish has nitrates about 120 mg/100 g.
Coriander, also known as cilantro or Chinese parsley has nitrates around 250 mg/100 g. You can use the fresh leaves in salads and sandwiches.
11. Dark Chocolate
Dark chocolate contains zinc that boosts testosterone levels and magnesium which hinders estrogen levels. A study published in the Journal of Clinical Biochemistry and Nutrition suggests that flavanols in cocoa may help your body establish optimal nitric oxide levels. Another study comes to a conclusion that the flavanols in dark chocolate can directly amplify nitric oxide-mediated vasodilation which can subsequently benefit the circulatory system and blood pressure.
Although garlic doesn't contain many nitrates, however, it can increase nitrate production by boosting the enzyme nitric oxide synthase (NOS). As mentioned earlier, NOS converts L-arginine into nitric oxide in the presence of other cofactors such as vitamin B2 and B3. Furthermore, there are many studies that show the property of garlic in the proliferation and restoration effects on testosterone levels. It’s thought that this is due to a chemical in garlic known as diallyl sulfide. A study published in The Journal of Nutrition proves this fact.
This study explains that watermelon is a rich source of citrulline, an amino acid that can be metabolized to arginine. Don't forget. arginine is the nitrogenous substrate used in the synthesis of nitric oxide.
Pomegranate possesses countless benefits for health. It contains antioxidant, antiviral and anti-tumor attributes. It is also a fine source of vitamins such as vitamin A, C, and E as well as folic acid. A study published in Clinical Nutrition comes to a conclusion that consumption of Pomegranate Juice improves sperm quality and anti-oxidant activity. Further, this study published in "Nitric Oxide" states that that pomegranate juice possesses potent antioxidant activity that results in marked protection of nitric oxide against oxidative destruction, thereby resulting in augmentation of the biological actions of nitric oxide.
15. Citrus Fruits
A study published in "Circulation Research" claims that vitamin C treatment increases nitric oxide synthase activity. Where else to get vitamin C than citrus fruits such as oranges, lemons, and grapefruits? These also protect your valuable nitric oxide molecules from free radical damage. Consuming these fruits as juices will boost nitric oxide in your body.
Drinks that will directly boost nitric oxide
- Watermelon juice
- Pomegranate juice
- Orange juice
- Lemon juice
- Grape juice
- Beet juice
There are supplements available out there that help to increase nitric oxide. But if you introduce the above mentioned natural foods and juices to your diet, you can increase nitric oxide without the help of any l-arginine supplements. Taking vegetables for nitric oxide will give you the advantage of added minerals and vitamins that naturally occur in them as well.