Ever heard of nitric oxide? If you have, did you know you can boost your levels naturally through nitric oxide foods?
It may sound like something found in a mad scientist's laboratory, but this tiny, naturally-occurring molecule packs a punch when it comes to your heart and overall health.
Below, we'll give you a rundown of what it is, why it's good for you, and how to naturally boost your levels with the top foods high in nitric oxide.
Quick Recap: Why is Nitric Oxide Good for Me?
Produced in your blood vessels, this molecule works to promote healthy dilation of the veins and arteries, which in turn leads to better blood circulation.
Basically, good circulation = a happy heart. And a happy heart, with improved circulation, can lead to an abundance of benefits.
- Healthy blood pressure
- Improved blood flow throughout the body
- Higher energy levels (due to better oxygen circulation)
- Better workout performance and recovery
- Healthy brain function
How Can I Naturally Increase My Nitric Oxide Levels?
To increase your levels of nitric oxide (NO), studies show it’s best to consume nitrate-based foods with plant-based proteins.
When you consume foods high in nitrate, the compound is eventually converted into nitric oxide in the blood, which helps to relax blood vessels, bringing more oxygen to the brain, and thus boosting its functionality.
To maximize the benefits, one study has shown that consuming foods high in nitrates right before working out, has led to increased long-term brain functioning and can also reverse the signs of mental aging.
By also eating more nitric oxide foods, you’ll find you work out better and your body will recover faster than if you didn’t increase your levels of nitric oxide.
So, what exactly are these magical, brain and endurance-boosting, foods?
The Top 10 Nitric Oxide Foods:
1. Leafy Greens
While this may be a no-brainer for a number of health reasons, leafy greens like arugula are the number one food by weight for nitrates (480mg per 100mg).
Other greens like spinach and spring greens come in at a hot second and third place. Add any of these powerhouses to a salad and you’ll increase your levels of nitric oxide significantly.
Known for major heart-health benefits, beets are another key food for increasing Nitric Oxide levels.
While beet juice is one of the easiest ways to spike your NO levels, you can also cook and toss them into a warm bowl or salad for lunch.
If you do decide to go the juice route, be sure to watch out for added sugar content and artificial additives.
3. Green Herbs
Up your meal’s flavor profile and nutrient density, without adding calories, by throwing in fresh herbs.
Cilantro, one of the most underrated herbs, is not only a rich source of nitrates (247mg per 100g), but also contains quercetin, which lowers bad cholesterol like LDL, and can stimulate digestion and support detox.
We all love ourselves a rhubarb pie. So, it’s a treat to learn that rhubarb is actually packed with a ton of healthy nitrates - 281mg per 100mg to be exact.
The tart taste can be off-putting to some, so it’s a good idea to cook it down and add something sweet like strawberries and a drizzle of organic honey to make a healthy pie-filling or morning oatmeal addition.
We love adding this superfood to smoothies, which is packed with healthy nitrates and plant-based protein.
Spirulina is chock full of vitamins and minerals, as well as cell-protecting chlorophyll and nitric oxide-producing amino acid L-arginine. What we’re trying to say is, you can’t go wrong with spirulina.
6. Dark Chocolate
Dark chocolate in the form of raw cacao is not only loaded with antioxidants but also high amounts of nitric oxide.
This superfood lowers blood pressure and inflammation in the body.
Be careful not to consume it in chocolate form, as it tends to be high in sugar. Instead, try adding cacao powder to your chia pudding with a drizzle of organic honey for a major flavor boost.
Fruits high in Vitamins C like oranges, lemon and grapefruit are rich in nitric oxide. They work to raise levels of nitric oxide syntheses and protect your NO molecules from free radical damage.
Simply add the zest from a lemon or lime to your meal and you’ll up your nitric oxide intake significantly.
Pomegranates offer a rich source of nitric oxide as well as anti-inflammatory properties.
This fruit helps to reduce oxidative stress, which is a leading factor in the production of coronary artery disease.
Pomegranates also work to block the formation of disease-causing molecules that recruit inflammatory cells to the blood vessel lining. Talk about hard-working.
Walnuts are another great source of nitric oxide and Vitamin E, which is good for strong immunity, as well as healthy skin and eyes.
The high amount of L-arginine in walnuts converts into nitric oxide which keeps blood vessels running freely.
This wonder food is filled with the amino acid, L-citrulline, which transforms into our favorite molecule, nitric oxide.
Watermelon has been raved about as a key recovery fruit for athletes, as it can reduce post-workout muscle soreness.
Regardless if you buy a whole one from the store or opt for a freshly pressed juice, you’re guaranteed to reap the benefits of this delicious fruit.
In conclusion - it's easier than you think to reap the benefits of nitric oxide without taking supplements. However, if you are finding it difficult to fit any of these nitric oxide foods into your diet, Ora's vegan pre-workout may be the solution for you!
Organic Pre-Workout Powder contains nitric oxide-filled ingredients like organic beet root juice, leafy greens, and pomegranate. Not to mention a blend of adaptogenic and performance-boosting herbs.