New research shows that eating a cup a day of high-nitrate vegetables may lower your risk of cardiovascular disease. Nitrates are compounds naturally produced in certain foods, primarily in green vegetables like spinach, arugula, and celery. But other vegetables like beets also contain nitrates.
You have plenty of choices when it comes to what to eat for your nitrate fix. Beetroot has the highest nitrate amount, but other options include arugula, pak choi, endive, and radish greens, as well as your typical dark leafy choices. Even dried cranberries and nuts can contribute some nitrate to a meal.
Just a cup leafy
“People don’t need to be taking supplements to boost their nitrate levels,” Dr. Bondonno said, “because the study showed that one cup of leafy green vegetables each day is enough to reap the benefits for heart disease.“
Our bodies depend on many chemicals to function properly. And our heart health can be supported by chemicals that help relax blood vessels. This allows them to widen, which increases blood flow throughout the body. More efficient blood flow means more oxygen can reach vital organs to support their functions. Nitric oxide is a chemical known to help dilate blood vessels. Nitrates are converted to nitric oxide in the body, thus supplying the body with this key chemical. Adequate levels of nitric oxide are linked to benefits such as lower blood pressure.
Best Foods to Boost Nitric Oxide Levels
- Beets are rich in dietary nitrates, which your body can convert to nitric oxide. According to one study in 38 adults, consuming a beetroot juice supplement increased nitric oxide levels by 21% after just 45 minutes.
- Garlic can boost nitric oxide levels by activating nitric oxide synthase, the enzyme that aids in the conversion of nitric oxide from the amino acid L-arginine.
- Meat, poultry and seafood are all excellent sources of coenzyme Q10, an important compound believed to help preserve nitric oxide in the body.
- Dark Chocolate is loaded with flavanols — naturally occurring compounds that boast an extensive list of powerful health benefits.
- Green vegetables like spinach, arugula, kale and cabbage are packed with nitrates, which are converted to nitric oxide in your body.
- Citrus fruits like oranges, lemons, limes and grapefruit are all excellent sources of vitamin C, an important water-soluble vitamin that plays a central role in health.
- Pomegranate is loaded with potent antioxidants that can protect your cells against damage and preserve nitric oxide.
- Nuts and seeds are high in arginine, a type of amino acid that is involved in the production of nitric oxide.
Nitric oxide is a crucial compound involved in many aspects of health, including the regulation of blood pressure, athletic performance, and brain function. Making a few simple changes in your diet can be an easy and effective way to naturally increase your nitric oxide levels. Eating plenty of fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and healthy protein foods can optimize nitric oxide levels while promoting better overall health in the process.