8 essental steps for cardiovascular health

8 Essential Steps For Cardiovascular Health

As we get older, we become more susceptible to a multitude of illnesses such as heart disease, stroke, and other cardiovascular health problems. Aging is a natural and beautiful process but can become scary if you are not taking the necessary steps to stay healthy. Your heart health is vital to a happy and healthy existence. With this in mind, this article will explore actionable steps you can take today to improve your current cardiovascular health and live your best life.

What Is Cardiovascular Health?

Cardiovascular health refers to the overall health status of your heart and blood vessels. Your heart pumps blood and your blood vessels deliver essential oxygen and nutrients throughout the body. The efficiency of this blood delivery can affect your energy and stamina, your immune system function, your brain health, your lung health, and so much more. Therefore it is vital that you do what you can to keep your heart and blood vessels healthy and functioning optimally.

The Importance Of Cardiovascular Health

I feel like this should not have to be explained, but just in case I am wrong, here are some basic facts and statistics about cardiovascular health:

  • Cardiovascular disease (heart disease) is the leading cause of death for people in the U.S.
  • Roughly 1 out of 5 deaths in 2020 were from cardiovascular disease
  • Roughly one person dies every 34 seconds in the U.S as a result of cardiovascular disease.
  • The most common cardiovascular disease is coronary heart disease, which killed over 382,000 people in 2020 alone.
  • Someone suffers from a heart attack in the U.S. roughly every 40 seconds.

Risk Factors Of Cardiovascular Disease

Do these facts bother you? They should. These statistics are only likely to grow worse if people do not create changes in their daily habits and lifestyle to prevent the onset of risk factors of cardiovascular health problems from setting in. Risk factors of cardiovascular disease include:

You need to be taking steps to avoid these risk factors from developing to give yourself the best chance to avoid developing any cardiovascular health problems. What steps do you need to take? Let's explore those now.

8 Steps For Protecting Your Cardiovascular Health

I would like to say right out of the gate that these steps are not everything you can do to promote good cardiovascular health, but are merely a starting place to get you on the right path. With that out of the way, let's jump into 8 steps you can take today to improve your cardiovascular health and keep your heart and blood vessels functioning at maximum efficiency.

Step 1: Stop Smoking

The carcinogens and other chemicals found in cigarettes create an increased risk of developing cardiovascular disease. In fact, despite the almost common knowledge that smoking is bad for your health, millions of Americans still continue to smoke. If you want to protect your cardiovascular health, the best thing for you to do is quit smoking. Smoking tobacco can easily lead to addiction due to nicotine, so quitting is easier said than done. However, there are some healthier alternatives to reducing or quitting smoking altogether if you are willing to put forth the effort. Some options for those looking to quit include:

  • Counseling
  • Nicotine replacement therapy (patches, gum, lozenges, etc.)
  • Medication
  • Develop a support system for accountability
  • Avoid triggers
  • Keep your mind busy with new hobbies, activities, etc.
  • Develop a reward system for curbing the habit
  • Be patient with yourself because breaking long-term habits takes time.

Add some of these tips to your arsenal and quitting smoking will be a little easier. Trust me, it will be worth it when you're older and your heart and lungs are in good condition.

Step 2: Promote Cardiovascular Health By Eating Right

The foods you eat have the greatest impact on your overall health. Because of this, your diet is a double-edged sword that is either your greatest weapon or will kill you faster. However, eating a heart-healthy diet is not very difficult. A diet that would promote good cardiovascular health would consist of fruits and veggies, lean meats, fish, whole grains, nuts, and seeds. Foods to avoid would be heavily processed foods, excessive sugar, and foods high in saturated and trans fats. Below I will list a few diets that are great for promoting heart health.

  • The Mediterranean Diet
  • The DASH diet
  • Veganism
  • Vegetarianism
  • Variations of low-carb diets

All of these have different parameters but serve to limit processed foods and foods high in sugar, saturated fats, and trans fats while promoting whole grains, lean protein, healthy fats, and lots of fruits and veggies.

Step 3: Be More Active

Similar to diet, exercise is one of those tools that can benefit or harm you depending on how you use it. To promote cardiovascular health, you need to be more active. Unfortunately, we live in a modern world where we spend most days sitting at a desk, sitting in a car, or sitting on a couch. Obviously, you do not have to spend hours killing yourself in the gym to avoid cardiovascular disease, but you do need to sit less if you want to avoid some of the risk factors for cardiovascular disease development such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol.

Daily activity is all you need to offset those risk factors. It can be as simple as a 10-15 brisk walk every day. Another thing you can do to move more is when you are at home or anywhere where you are sitting for long durations of time, get up and move around every 15, 30, 45, or 60 minutes for 1-2 minutes. Some other life hacks for increasing your daily activity include:

  • Taking the stairs when possible
  • Parking farther away from the doors
  • Walk instead of drive whenever you can
  • Move during commercial breaks when watching TV

It is small steps like this done consistently over time that have an impact. Get moving, and stay consistent. Your heart will thank you later.

Step 4: Lose Weight

This step is very similar to step 3, but here the focus is on losing weight rather than just moving more. This will require a little more activity than just taking the stairs, but you still don't have to kill yourself for hours in the gym to see results here. Obesity is a big risk factor associated with heart disease, so losing weight will not only improve your cardiovascular health but also improve your quality of life. Here are some ways you can lose weight without killing yourself with intense workouts for hours at the gym:

  • Increase protein intake. Protein is very filling, so eating more protein will make you feel fuller longer, which will reduce your caloric intake over time and help you lose weight.
  • Hydrate. Drinking water regularly not only helps you feel full but also helps the body avoid retaining water weight. Drinking water should be something you do plenty of every day.
  • Eat smaller portions. Consuming fewer calories will lead to weight loss.
  • Move more. Increasing daily activity will burn more calories, increasing the amount of weight you can lose.

These are just a few tips you can implement today to help you on your weight loss journey. Healthy weight loss takes time, so avoid detoxes, juice diets, weight loss teas, and other "fast results" methods. Most of these are scams and the results are not permanent. The only truly permanent solution to losing weight is diet and exercise. Manipulate these to make sure you are burning more calories than you are consuming, and you will eventually lose weight and keep it off.

Step 5: Avoid Eating Too Much

We all tend to overindulge a bit during the holidays, and for most of us, that's okay. It's when this becomes a habit that your cardiovascular health becomes at risk. When you overeat, the heart has to push more blood to the digestive system to compensate for the extra work the stomach has to do to digest all that food. If this becomes a habit, there is less blood available for other organs. Another issue with overeating is this can lead to faster or irregular heart rhythm. This in turn can lead to an increased risk of a heart attack.

To avoid overeating, here are a few tips you can implement.

  • Eat slowly
  • Eat smaller portions
  • Have more protein with your meals
  • Limit distractions such as phones and TV during meals
  • Drink more water

These tips will help you limit your overeating and decrease the risk of developing cardiovascular problems.

Step 6: Less Stress = Better Cardiovascular Health

It should be no surprise that stress is bad for you. However, stress can be a silent killer that many do not expect. How is this? The body has literally hundreds of different responses to stress, and some of those responses are harmful to your cardiovascular health. A couple of responses to stress include increased heart rate, a spike in blood pressure, and rapid breathing. High blood pressure is a particularly harmful stress response. If you are consistently stressed, your blood pressure could remain high over time, increasing the risk of heart disease or other cardiovascular problems.

Learning to manage stress will help you avoid creating a stress cycle. Some helpful tips for managing stress include:

  • Nose breathing and other slow breathing patterns
  • Meditation
  • Mindfulness exercises
  • Yoga
  • Developing fun hobbies

Try a few of these today or do a little research and find some other ways to reduce stress that fit your lifestyle.

Step 7: Have An Attitude Of Gratitude

I know this step might sound cheesy, but just taking a few moments each day to count your blessings and be thankful for the good things in your life can improve your cardiovascular health. Some ways to practice gratitude include:

  • Start a daily gratitude journal
  • Verbally list 1-3 things you are grateful for each morning
  • Take a gratitude walk
  • Leave yourself notes around the house or office of things you are grateful for

As you can see, it does not take much to develop an attitude of gratitude. It can take as little as 10-15 seconds a day. Doing this can reduce blood pressure and stress by releasing positive emotions to counteract the negative emotions causing stress. This is one of those ways that we can see in action the old saying, "where the mind goes, the body follows."

Step 8: Boost Your Cardiovascular Health With Nitric Oxide

Nitric oxide is a powerful signaling molecule and vasodilator. This means it dilates the blood vessels, making blood flow more effective. This in turn lowers blood pressure and helps nutrients and oxygen get delivered more efficiently throughout the body. There are plenty of other benefits to boosting nitric oxide, but for today's topic, vasodilation is the one we want to focus on. Diet and exercise can both increase your body's natural nitric oxide production. However, if you are older, you might need a supplement. A supplement containing dietary nitrates or the amino acids L-citrulline and L-arginine will all convert into nitric oxide when consumed.

Some other ways to boost nitric oxide include:

If you need a bigger boost, consider looking into a supplement such as the Bionox Nox3 Greens or the M3 Ultimate Nitric Oxide Nutrition. Both of these are clinically tested and backed by tons of client testimonials proving it works to increase your nitric oxide levels and improve your cardiovascular health.

Final Thoughts

Aging can be beautiful and terrifying all at once. It is something that is inevitable and happens to us all. What we can do is take steps to ensure we are as healthy as possible as we age. For more healthy living tips, check out the rest of our blog.

6 more drinks to boost nitric oxide levels

6 More Drinks To Boost Nitric Oxide Levels

You didn't think there were only six options, did you? Well if you thought those were it, you were wrong. Just in case you did not read up on the last article, this article will briefly describe the importance of nitric oxide as well as cover six more drinks you can sip on to boost your nitric oxide levels.

What Benefits Does Boosting Nitric Oxide Have?

Nitric oxide(NO) is considered by many to be one of the most important molecules for overall health and wellness. I'm hoping by now many of you understand how vital NO is for your body, but just in case you don't, I will cover the basics here. Nitric oxide is a molecule naturally produced in the body. It is essential for a long list of body functions such as intracellular communication, acting as a neurotransmitter, and creating a strong vascular system. Most of the benefits derived from NO stem from its role as a vasodilator. Vasodilation is the process of relaxing the smooth muscles within the lining of vessels. As this occurs, the vessels expand and blood is able to flow more efficiently. This also allows more oxygen and nutrients to flow throughout the body effectively.

Because of vasodilation, we reap many benefits from boosting our nitric oxide levels. Some of those benefits include:

  • Better skin health
  • Faster wound healing
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Better breathing
  • More energy
  • Reduced muscle soreness
  • Better sleep

This list is far from exhaustive, but should clearly demonstrate the importance of boosting your nitric oxide levels.

Why Boost Nitric Oxide Levels If We Naturally Produce It?

Just in case you missed my last article, nitric oxide production declines as we age. After age 25 your natural NO production will begin to decline. By the time you are in your 50s, you will be producing only 50% of what you could produce at 25. Because of this, you want to get an early jump on supplementing your body with the tools it needs to keep your nitric oxide levels as high as possible. Furthermore, NO has a short half-life and gets depleted quickly, so we have to keep production high to offset the rapid depletion. One way we can do this is through what we put in our mouths. I am specifically talking about drinks right now. We will touch on foods later.

In the last article, we covered these juices as drinks that could boost your nitric oxide levels:

Today, we are going to look at six more drinks that can boost your nitric oxide levels.

6 More Drinks That Will Boost Nitric Oxide Levels

Hopefully, some of these drinks are already in your diet. If not, maybe this article will change that. I do want to preface this list by stating that these drinks will not all directly boost nitric oxide levels the same way as the last list. When I say NO booster, I also mean work to increase the lifespan of NO in the body. So drinks that include antioxidants or key nutrients that will slow down the depletion of NO due to oxidative stress are included as a nitric oxide boosting drink. Each drink on here will aid in boosting nitric oxide levels in some way, even if it is not immediately obvious as to how. Sow now, let's get into this list.

1. Milk

If you are a vegan or are lactose intolerant, this one might not be for you. However, if you can and like to consume milk, it can help boost your nitric oxide levels. How? Milk contains roughly 0.20 grams of arginine per serving. Arginine is an amino acid the body uses to produce nitric oxide. There are other foods you can eat that are higher in arginine than milk, but milk is still a great way to get more arginine in your diet for boosting nitric oxide production. If you do not like whole milk, plenty of other milk substitutes such as oat milk, almond milk, and cashew milk also contain arginine. Being a dairy product, yogurt also contains arginine, so if you do not like these as individual items, consider blending these with some fruits and veggies to make a delicious smoothie to boost your nitric oxide levels!

2. Cucumber Juice

Cucumbers are a great source of citrulline. Citrulline is an amino acid the body can use to produce NO. This works by converting citrulline into arginine, which is then converted into NO. Some argue that since citrulline just gets converted into arginine, it is better to just consume arginine-containing products, but some research suggests consuming citrulline creates more arginine bioavailability than just consuming arginine. However, since both are used to promote NO production, you should consume healthy amounts of both amino acids through your diet or supplements. Cucumber juice is not only a good source of citrulline, but also a good source of nutrients such as vitamin A, vitamin C, and vitamin K. These vitamins help slow down the depletion of nitric oxide. You can drink cucumber juice as it is, or add lemon and ginger for a zesty and hydrating drink.

3. Pomegranate Juice

Pomegranate juice is one of those things that does not directly lead to NO production but boosts nitric oxide levels based on antioxidant properties. Pomegranates are an excellent source of antioxidants such as vitamin C, vitamin K, and potassium. Antioxidants work by eliminating the free radicals in the body that create oxidative stress. Oxidative stress depletes NO faster and inhibits the body's ability to produce NO naturally, so we want to get rid of those free radicals. Pomegranate juice contains powerful antioxidants that will help nitric oxide stick around longer to give us all those wonderful benefits we need to stay healthy. Pomegranate juice is sweet, so it can easily be consumed by itself or added to a vegetable juice or smoothie to naturally sweeten it. If you have insulin sensitivity, be sure to check the sugar content to avoid unwanted spikes.

4. Blueberry Juice

This one may sound weird, but it's a thing. You can make this at home by pressing some blueberries or blending them with a little water. It is a little harder to find blueberry juice bottled, and it is usually mixed with other fruits and berries when you do find it bottled. For this, we want just the blueberries. Why is this? Blueberries are one of the richest sources of antioxidants you can get your hand on. One particular type of antioxidant blueberries has high concentrations of is anthocyanins, which are found in red, purple, and blue fruits. These antioxidants have anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory properties.

Blueberries also contain loads of other nutrients such as vitamin C, vitamin K, and manganese which all work toward supporting healthy body functions. Blueberry juice is naturally sweet, so it is great to drink alone or to add to other juices as a natural sweetener. Blueberry juice is great first thing in the morning for a natural energy boost and nitric oxide level booster to start the day right!

5. Mixed Berry Juices

Now that we have distinguished blueberries, we can look at the mixed berry juices. Juices that contain strawberries, cranberries, blackberries, raspberries, and goji berries all contain antioxidants that fortify cells against the damage that oxidative stress can cause. Here is a concise list of the antioxidants you can get when you drink a juice containing these berries:

  • Strawberries. Contains the antioxidant pelargonidin, which is an anthocyanin. Also contains ellagitannins and procyanidins.
  • Cranberries. Contains antioxidants such as quercetin, myricetin, peonidin, and ursolic acid.
  • Blackberries. Contains antioxidants such as tannins, ellagic acid, anthocyanins, and cyanidins.
  • Raspberries. This berry contains an antioxidant profile similar to strawberries, with antioxidants such as ellagic acid and quercetin.
  • Goji Berries. These berries contain antioxidants such as zeaxanthin and cryptoxanthin, among others.

Most berries have a sweet or sour flavor profile, making them great to drink as is or blended with other fruits and/or veggies into a smoothie.

6. Green Tea

Green tea is one of the most recommended health drinks on the planet, and for good reason. This type of tea is loaded with polyphenols, which help protect the body from inflammation. Green tea also contains antioxidants such as catechins which help protect cells from damage. This means oxidative stress won't cause as much trouble by inhibiting nitric oxide production. Furthermore, green tea contains essential vitamins such as vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, and multiple B vitamins. Some sources say that when choosing a green tea blend go for the high-quality options. Choosing a cheaper, low-quality green tea may contain excess fluoride, which inhibits NO production. So go find a high-quality green tea and boost those nitric oxide levels. Green tea is great as is or you can add a little honey if you like it on the sweeter side.

Are There Other Drinks That Can Boost Nitric Oxide Levels?

Simply put, yes. There is no limit to the drinks you can use to boost your nitric oxide levels. Some other drinks that can boost your nitric oxide levels in some capacity include:

  • lemon juice
  • lime juice
  • suped-up water (water with fruits/veggies added to it
  • plain old water
  • herbal teas
  • apple juice
  • tomato juice

Yes, the list goes on! If it is a fruit or vegetable that can be made into a juice, chances are it has some properties that boost nitric oxide levels to some capacity.

Can I Use Only Drinks To Boost Nitric Oxide Levels?

No. There are plenty of foods that you can eat to boost your nitric oxide levels. Furthermore, you can make some daily habit changes to boost your nitric oxide levels as well. Some tips you can implement today to bolster your NO levels include:

  • limiting mouthwash use
  • go for a brisk 15-minute walk
  • practice nose breathing
  • get a little sunlight
  • get rid of your cigarettes

Final Thoughts

There are some other tips and tricks you can use to boost your nitric oxide levels, but this is a great start for making the changes necessary to keep your nitric oxide levels as high as possible as you get older. Implement the tips above and add some of these juices to your diet today and set yourself up for success. Nitric oxide is too essential of a molecule for you to not prioritize boosting your nitric oxide levels. For more healthy living tips and information on nitric oxide, check out the rest of our blog.

These foods kill nitric oxide

These Foods Kill Nitric Oxide

This article is likely to attack your guilty pleasure foods, so I'm apologizing right now in advance. I like junk food and fast food as much as the next guy, but the foods in this article are KILLING your nitric oxide levels. Why does this matter? Good question. Let's explore the importance of nitric oxide as well as the foods we enjoy that kill our nitric oxide levels.

Let's face it, most of us are suckers for crunchy foods, sweet foods, deep-fried foods, and other delicious guilty pleasures we all know are bad for our health. Some of us use these foods for comfort, for celebration, and for every occasion in between. However, despite the textures and flavors we crave from these foods, they come at a cost. We pay that cost with our vitality and health. In terms of health, the price is high blood pressure, high cholesterol, an increased risk of becoming obese, and more. In terms of vitality, the price is becoming sedentary, developing a lack of stamina and energy, and of course the death of nitric oxide.

Why Killing Nitric Oxide Is So Detrimental To Our Health

Nitric oxide (NO) is a gaseous molecule produced naturally in the body. It dilates our blood vessels and helps our cells communicate, among a plethora of other health benefits. The dilation of blood vessels is known as vasodilation, and this is the most important function NO has in our body for keeping us healthy. When blood vessels dilate, they widen and allow for greater blood flow. This improves the delivery of oxygen and key nutrients throughout the body. As I already said, nitric oxide is naturally produced in the body. However, as we age this production naturally decreases. This means we have to work harder to keep our nitric oxide levels up as we age.

Unfortunately, many of the foods we enjoy only kill nitric oxide faster rather than preserve it. These foods not only kill our nitric oxide levels, but they have detrimental outcomes for our overall health and unforeseen consequences for those that are dear to us. Nobody wants to watch someone they love consistently make poor food choices that hurt themselves and those around them. Our food choices have multiple consequences such as:

  • Physical Health
  • Mental Health
  • Relational Health
  • Financial Health

Let's explore these consequences a little before diving more into the specific foods that will kill your nitric oxide levels.

Physical Health

This one is the most obvious for most people. When we consume foods that are overly processed, sugary, high in saturated fats, etc., we develop a multitude of health problems. Some of these include:

  • High blood pressure
  • High Cholesterol
  • Increased risk of diabetes
  • Risk of becoming overweight/obese
  • Poor circulation

Other factors such as activity level, genetics, and environmental factors are at play as well. However, no one can deny that nutrition plays one of the biggest roles in overall health. As the saying goes, "you are what you eat." We have to make good food choices to avoid killing our nitric oxide and developing these health problems.

Mental Health

This one is starting to get more attention in recent years but still needs to be addressed. Our mental health controls much of our physical actions. Many people turn to comfort foods to address mental health struggles, which only serves to increase physical health problems. People look to junk foods to cope with issues such as anxiety, depression, chronic stress, acute stress, grief, and more. So if we want to improve our physical health, we must also improve our mental health. Some quick tips for better coping strategies than eating foods that kill nitric oxide include:

  • Exercise
  • Set small goals for yourself
  • Set up a healthier reward system
  • Choose healthier comfort foods
  • Do something you enjoy
  • Spend time in nature
  • Spend time with friends/family
  • Engage in writing/journaling to express your emotions

Relational Health

Most of you might not have considered this consequence of food choices, but how you eat has a ripple effect that intersects with your relationships. These relationships can include significant others, friends, family, coworkers, and just members of your community. All of these are relationships that you are a part of. Your food choices can negatively impact all of these. Not only can poor food choices kill nitric oxide, but they can create problems in your marriage, problems in your friendships, problems at work, and so on. Obviously, some of these are less likely than others, but still in the realm of possibility if your food choices are taken too far too often. Your choices do not affect just you. Every choice you make has a greater impact than you might realize.

Financial Health

This consequence again is contextual. Junk food is in some cases cheaper than healthier options depending on where you live. However, over time those purchases can add up in a big way. Let's say you buy a basic cheeseburger and fries meal three times a week because your schedule is hectic and you don't think you have time to cook. If this meal costs approximately $8 per meal, you are spending $24 per week on fast food. That's $96 per month and $1,152 per year. That cost adds up over time. Imagine the healthier foods and other purchases you could make if you weren't spending over $1,100 per year on junk food.

How One Bad Meal Can Kill Nitric Oxide

Just to put the importance of food choices in perspective, there was a study conducted looking at how fast food affects nitric oxide. After just one meal, endothelial health was hindered for about 6 hours post-meal. The endothelium is where NO is produced. The meal led to tighter blood vessels and the endothelium function was impaired. While this effect is temporary, if you eat like this often, these effects last longer and take longer to recover from.

The impairment happens due to the free radicals released from fast food that create high oxidative stress. This oxidative stress inhibits NO production. Free radicals literally kill nitric oxide molecules. Making good food choices matters!

Which Foods Kill Nitric Oxide?

Now that we have discussed the impacts of poor food choices not just on nitric oxide, but on overall health and quality of life, it's time to call out the foods that kill nitric oxide.

1. High Salt Foods

A high-salt content is common in heavily-processed foods because it enhances the flavor. A little bit of salt is good for you because it can replenish electrolytes in the body. However, too much salt restricts blood vessels. This can lead to high blood pressure and an increased risk of cardiovascular problems. Studies have also shown that excess salt intake reduces nitric oxide production substantially. Research shows salt usage should not exceed 5 grams per day. The World Health Organization cautions against consuming more than 1 teaspoon of salt daily to reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular problems.

Foods that are high in salt you should avoid include:

  • Canned veggies
  • Salad dressings
  • Chips
  • Salted nuts and seeds
  • Pre-packaged foods

2. High Saturated Fat Foods

This one is where fast food really shines. Most fast food options come packed with saturated and trans fats. These foods have been shown to reduce endothelial function for several hours after each meal. If you eat fast food all day, it can lead to 18-24 hours of endothelial impairment. Furthermore, eating foods high in saturated fats can lead to the development of high cholesterol, particularly your low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL). As a general rule of thumb, you want your high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL) to be high and your LDL to be low. Unfortunately, foods high in saturated fats raise your LDL, which is bad. Having high LDL reduces nitric oxide production. Since fast food is high in saturated fats and trans fats, your LDL will skyrocket over time.

If you want to avoid killing your nitric oxide, stay away from these foods high in trans and saturated fats:

  • Fried foods such as french fries
  • Fast food
  • Cooking oils
  • Fried processed foods such as potato chips
  • Bacon
  • Hot dogs
  • Processed meats

3. Sugary Foods

I am a huge fan of sweets, but unfortunately, too much sugar can kill nitric oxide. Studies have shown that a high glucose diet leads to a drop in nitric oxide production. We can avoid this by watching our sugar intake to avoid sugar spikes. Foods that are high in glucose include:

  • White bread
  • White rice
  • Milk
  • Syrup
  • Candy
  • Cakes
  • Cookies
  • Ice cream
  • Doughnuts
  • Sugary drinks
  • High starch foods such as potatoes
  • Pasta

Substitute these white grains with foods such as quinoa, beans, and of course fruits and veggies. You do not have to cut all sweets, but you want to keep your sugar intake to no more than 24-36 grams per day to avoid the negative effects of excess sugar consumption.

Be Mindful To Not Kill Nitric Oxide

While it is essential to avoid foods that kill nitric oxide, you can also look into ways to boost nitric oxide as well to offset poor food choices. An occasional slip-up is something you can bounce back from. The key is making sure you are being mindful of your food choices as often as you can to avoid killing your nitric oxide. We all need that molecule as plentiful as we can keep it. Make sure you share this article with your family and friends. To learn more about healthy living tips and the importance of nitric oxide, check out the rest of our blog here.

nitric oxide supporting lung health

How Nitric Oxide Supports Lung Health

When you think about your lung health, I doubt nitric oxide comes to mind. For some readers, this may be the first you are hearing about nitric oxide, to begin with. So the goal of this article is to provide an overview of what nitric oxide is, how it specifically benefits lung health, some other benefits of nitric oxide, and a few tips on increasing your nitric oxide levels.

Nitric oxide (NO) provides countless benefits to your body. The major benefits discussed today are lung health support and immune support. Just to clarify early on, I may use respiratory health and lung health interchangeably, but for the purposes of this article, they mean the same thing. NO's impact on the body benefits energy production, circulation, stamina, recovery, and so much more.

What Is Nitric Oxide?

This gaseous molecule produced naturally in the body is more important than many people realize. It is chemically comprised of one nitrogen atom and one oxygen atom. Sometimes it can be confused with nitrous oxide (N20). Nitrous oxide has two nitrogen atoms instead of one, which changes its structure and uses entirely. The body uses 3 main compounds to produce NO. These are the amino acids L-arginine and L-citrulline, and nitrates found in your diet.

NO was recognized for its benefits to the cardiovascular system in 1998 when a few scientists won the Nobel prize for discovering how NO expands blood vessels and regulates blood pressure. Since 1998, thousands of other studies have been conducted on NO and its benefits. These studies show that nitric oxide plays a vital role in systems such as the respiratory system, immune system, bone support, brain support, and so on.

Nitric Oxide For Lung Health

Make no mistake, the biggest role played by NO is in keeping our hearts healthy and our blood pressure regulated. A role nitric oxide does not get enough credit for is the role in sustaining our lung health. Within the respiratory system, NO works to promote the dilation of blood vessels. NO also promotes the expansion of airways to the lungs. The fact that NO is a vasodilator is the biggest role it plays in the body. However, NO does not get noticed enough for how vasodilation improves lung health. Furthermore, NO promotes mucus secretion within the bronchial wall that supports proper lung function. Also, since NO acts as a signaling molecule, it can signal neurotransmitters within those bronchial walls that further promote proper lung function.

Essentially, NO provides:

  • expanded blood vessels for circulation
  • expanded airways for optimal oxygen intake
  • mucus secretion for air temperature and lung function
  • neurotransmitter signaling for proper lung function

Another role NO plays in lung health relates to blood flow. NO not only promotes efficient blood flow, but also efficient delivery of oxygen and nutrients via red blood cells. This efficient supply of oxygen allows the lungs and other tissues in the respiratory system to operate effectively.

What Happens To Our Lung Health If Nitric Oxide Is Lacking?

Simply put, sub-optimal nitric oxide production can lead to sub-optimal lung health. This is because a reduction in available NO means the lungs cannot function as effectively. When our lungs do not work as well as they should, oxygen is not delivered throughout the body as effectively when we inhale. So if blood flow and oxygen utilization are failing in the lungs, this failure spreads to other parts of the body as well.

We want our respiratory system to work at optimal capacity. It is because of this that research is being conducted to look into being able to inhale nitric oxide for those with a weaker respiratory system. This method of increasing NO levels very well could save lives one day if other methods of increasing NO are not working. However, rest assured there are plenty of other ways to promote NO production, and we will cover some of those soon.

Apart From Lung Health, What Additional Benefits Does Nitric Oxide Offer?

NO has its hands in a lot of cookie jars so to speak. NO plays an essential role as a vasodilator, an intracellular communicator, and a signaling molecule mostly. However, some of the other important functions NO plays a role in include:

  • Supporting brain health and cognitive function by acting as a signaling molecule between neurons. NO supports memory and helps prevents the onset of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's.
  • Supports the immune system by fending off foreign intruders and providing red blood cells with oxygen and nutrients
  • Dilates arteries, which improves blood flow and regulates blood pressure.
  • Improves muscle recovery
  • Promotes energy
  • Improves stamina and endurance
  • Promotes skin health
  • Helps protect the skin from UV damage

As stated already, the biggest role NO is known for is vasodilation. This process gives rise to many of the benefits NO provides the body. NO relaxes the smooth muscles within the linings of the endothelium in your vessels, and this allows the vessels to expand, or dilate. Vessel dilation is what improves heart health, muscular health, blood pressure, and lung health.

How Do We Increase Our Nitric Oxide Levels?

NO is a molecule we just cannot have too much of, especially since it has a brief half-life and we start producing less naturally by our mid-20s. It is unfortunate that as we age we make less and less ourselves. Luckily, it is easy to replenish. How do we do this? The easiest ways to increase NO production are through diet and exercise. Let's explore this in a little more detail.

Food Choices And Nitric Oxide

The body uses the amino acids L-arginine and L-citrulline for NO production. It also uses nitrates found in certain foods as well. Your diet should contain foods that have all three of these ingredients for producing more NO for your lung health and overall health. Thankfully, there is no shortage of healthy options for getting these NO precursors into your body. Nitrates are the best choice for promoting NO production. You can find nitrates in many of the vegetables you eat. The best plant-based options are leafy greens and root plants such as beets.

Examples of foods containing high levels of nitrates are:

  • Arugula
  • Spinach
  • Kale
  • Celery
  • Bok Choy
  • Swiss Chard
  • Mustard Greens
  • Lettuce

Next up would be L-arginine. This amino acid is used to not only build proteins but also converts into NO. Some examples of food choices high in L-arginine are:

  • Beef
  • Salmon
  • Almonds
  • Chickpeas
  • Oats
  • Milk
  • Cheese

Last up is L-citrulline. The body converts this amino acid into arginine, which is then converted into nitric oxide. So it doesn't hurt to add some foods high in citrulline to your diet as well. These include:

  • Watermelon
  • Squash
  • Cucumbers
  • Pumpkin
  • Cantaloupe

If you have some of these foods in your diet, you are off to a great start for promoting lung health and overall health!

Exercise And Nitric Oxide

Exercise is important because it leads to more NO production as a by-product. Exercising promotes better overall blood vessel function. The linings of these blood vessels are where NO production occurs. Exercise improves their flexibility and function. When you exercise, your blood pumps faster, and the pressure on the vessels increases. As this pressure increases, nitric oxide production is triggered. When NO production is triggered, vasodilation occurs and the blood vessels expand, which allows for better blood circulation. So when exercise increases, NO production increases, which makes exercising easier so you can exercise more. This in turn allows more nitric oxide to be produced, and so on. Starting one will create a cycle of increased levels and the ability to exercise more.

The best results come from endurance-based training that works your cardiovascular system the most. So think about incorporating exercises such as jogging, swimming, or cycling. However, even as little as 15-20 minutes of brisk walking a day will help boost your NO levels.

Other Tips To Boost Nitric Oxide Levels

Diet and exercise are great places for most people to start to optimize their NO production naturally. However, if you have these up to snuff and still feel like you could be doing more, you are right. So with this in mind, here are a few other tips for boosting your nitric oxide levels if you have optimized your diet and exercise:

  • Increasing antioxidant intake. Antioxidants help stabilize nitric oxide and eliminate free radicals that create oxidative stress that inhibits NO's bioavailability.
  • Stop smoking. Smoking not only shortens your life span but also inhibits NO production and ruins lung health.
  • Get quality sleep. NO helps the brain function through neuron signaling and improves memory. Getting adequate sleep allows the brain to stay healthy and NO to do its job in the brain optimally.
  • Breathe smarter. There is evidence showing that breathing through your nose and practicing deep breathing techniques can improve your NO production. HOW you breathe matters!
  • Find a high-quality nitric oxide supplement. Look for a good clinically tested and scientifically backed supplement with the right ingredients, the right quantities of those ingredients, and a lot of satisfied customers that swear by the product. One such product can be found here.

The Bottom Line

Because nitric oxide plays such an important role in your lung health and overall health, it is essential you do all you can to keep the bioavailability of NO as high as you can. Focus on eating the right foods. Focus on moving your body around every day. Implement the other tips listed above. Do your research and find other ways to boost your NO levels. It is vital that you do what you can to keep your lung health in check, as well as your overall health in check.

6 drinks that boost nitric oxide levels

6 Drinks That Boost Nitric Oxide Levels

Let's face it - we are all getting older. I mean this literally; we get older every day. As we age, our minds and bodies change. Don't get me wrong, aging is a natural process, but it has its fair share of complications. Two of the best things you can do as you age are to remain active and make smart health choices. You want to stay energetic and be able to perform everyday motions well, but aging makes that more difficult. How do we combat energy loss and stay as healthy as possible? YOU CAN MAKE SURE YOU ARE GETTING ENOUGH NITRIC OXIDE IN YOUR DIET. One way we can do this is through our diet. We will look at what nitric oxide is and how certain drinks can boost your nitric oxide levels.

What Is Nitric Oxide?

Nitric oxide (NO) is a gas that is naturally produced in the body. We use NO as a vasodilator which expands blood vessels by relaxing the smooth muscles within vessel linings. Nitric oxide production is vital for many of the processes our body completes to stay healthy. Primarily, the vasodilation effect allows blood, oxygen, and nutrients to flow more efficiently throughout the body.

Why Is Boosting Nitric Oxide Levels Important?

The biggest reason NO is so important is because of how many processes NO is a part of. It acts as a signaling molecule for cells in the body, acts as a neurotransmitter in the brain, and lowers blood pressure. To really drive the point home, here are just SOME of the other benefits of nitric oxide:

  • promotes skin health
  • helps improve heart health
  • provides immune system support
  • improves cardiovascular system
  • reduces the risk of blood clots forming
  • reduces the risk of plaque buildup
  • supports brain health
  • can improve sexual health
  • increases exercise performance

As I said, these are just some of the benefits nitric oxide provides. If you do not understand how important NO is for your health, you haven't been paying attention.

How Do We Boost Our Nitric Oxide Levels?

Now that you know the importance of NO, it's time to look at how you can boost your nitric oxide levels so they stay high as you age. If you want to promote high levels of NO, you want to focus on exercise and diet first and foremost. Getting adequate exercise and eating the right foods are a great start for boosting nitric oxide levels. However, the things you drink can also boost or bust your nitric oxide levels. Most people don't take the time to consider the liquids they drink, but the liquids in your diet matter too. So now, let's look at six different drinks that can boost your nitric oxide levels.

1. Beetroot Juice

This one is probably the one most nitric oxide people know about. This drink is widely popular in fitness and health circles as a pre-workout drink as well as a daily health drink for boosting nitric oxide levels. Beetroot is one of the best sources of dietary nitrates you can find in food. Nitrates are converted into nitric oxide in the body, so getting plenty of them via vegetables is highly recommended.

However, if you are not a fan of the beet itself, you can opt for a good beetroot juice to get those nitrates. You can make your own beetroot juice at home, buy some juice in certain stores, or find a beetroot powder. Another option that some companies like us here at Bionox have is a lozenge such as the Nox3 Beets Lozenge that you can take as a pill and let dissolve in your mouth. However you manage it, beetroot juice is a great choice for boosting nitric oxide levels.

2. Red Wine

This drink is a little bit controversial given the mixed research on the health benefits of red wine. However, when it comes to boosting nitric oxide levels, red wine is a good choice under specific circumstances. Firstly, you need to be 21 or older before considering drinking red wine for any reason. Secondly, there are plenty of other choices coming up, so no need to limit yourself to red wine if that's not your thing. Lastly, red wine is alcohol, which would normally work against the production of NO. However, what makes red wine different from other alcohols is its antioxidant component.

Red wine can do two things: provide antioxidants that destroy free radicals that create oxidative stress within the body and promote a strong vascular system by enhancing nitric oxide synthase in the endothelium of our blood vessels. Red wine not only helps our body produce more NO but also provides antioxidants that allow for more nitric oxide to stay in our body longer by eliminating free radicals. Make no mistake, red wine should still be consumed in moderation (1 drink per day max) because it is alcohol. Too much red wine will actually be detrimental to nitric oxide levels.

3. Arugula-Dominant Greens Juice

This one is right up there with beetroot juice as far as popularity, maybe even more so. Greens juices have been pushed on us for years as a healthy drink. There is some truth to the hype: the vegetable extracts within these green juices such as spinach and kale have high concentrations of nitrates in them. However, what you want to look for is a greens juice containing arugula would be best. Arugula has one of the highest concentrations of nitrates compared to other leafy green vegetables. You can make this at home with some arugula, spinach, kale, and lemon juice. You can also find a powder with Arugula as the first ingredient such as our Nox3 Greens to boost your nitric oxide levels.

4. Celery Juice

Celery, just like many green vegetables, is a nitric oxide-boosting food. So celery juice works just as well. Celery juice goes great with some lemon to make a tasty drink that will not only boost your nitric oxide levels but will also help you lose weight. It contains plenty of nitrates and other nutrients needed for a healthy body.

5. Red Spinach Juice

This one is lesser known compared to other juices but packs a healthy punch. Red spinach has a high concentration of nitrates, making it a good choice for boosting nitric oxide levels. You can combine this with other high nitrate vegetables to make a juice at home if you'd like. Red spinach juice itself is not easy to find, so making it at home or finding a powder would be the best bet here.

6. Watermelon Juice

You didn't think vegetables were the only way to boost your nitric oxide levels, did you? Not a fan of vegetables? Well, you're in luck. Many fruits can also boost your nitric oxide levels. This is because many fruits contain precursors that the body uses to produce NO. Two of these precursors you will find in fruits are the amino acids L-citrulline and L-Arginine. The amino acid we are looking at right now is L-citrulline. Citrulline promotes nitric oxide production by being converted into Arginine, which is then converted into NO.

One of the best sources of L-citrulline is watermelon juice. One of the best things about watermelon juice is its versatility. You can drink it by itself or add it to your vegetable juices as a natural sweetener. It is also great at hydrating you since it is mostly water. Watermelon juice is a great choice for boosting nitric oxide levels if you want a sweet and hydrating option that is as effective as the vegetable options.

Other Ways To Boost Nitric Oxide Levels

Obviously, all of the vegetable juices come from a vegetable, so eating those vegetables will serve the same purpose. While juicing is an easy way to add more NO to your diet, there are still plenty of tasty choices for foods that will boost your nitric oxide levels. Some other choices that are easy to incorporate into your diet are:

Your diet is the best way to boost your nitric oxide levels, but there are other nutrients you can get from food and supplements that will help your body utilize nitric oxide more efficiently. They may not contain nitrates or amino acid precursors of No, but they will help the body produce NO and slow down the rate of depletion of NO. Because of this, they are also considered NO boosters. These include:

  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin E
  • Glutathione
  • Other antioxidants

Exercise To Boost Nitric Oxide Levels

While diet should be the primary way you boost your nitric oxide levels, exercise accomplishes this as well. When we exercise, we promote the health of our endothelium. This is where NO is produced in the body, so exercise promotes these endothelia to produce NO. NO production gives us more energy and improves exercise performance, which makes it easier to work longer and harder. A cycle is created where doing one improves the other. To reap the nitric oxide boosting benefits of exercise, aim for no less than 15-20 minutes a day or up to 30-45 minutes 3-4 times a week of moderate-intensity exercise. Great examples include brisk walking, swimming, cycling, and strength training.

Final Thoughts

Aging is natural but can become scary and hindering if the right precautions are not taken. These six drinks are a great way to ensure you are taking the steps needed to stay healthy and age with grace. Keeping your NO levels high will help you maintain a high level of activity and energy as you age. Make sure you share these drinks with your friends. For more health tips and education on nitric oxide, check out the rest of our blog.

cardiometabolic health

5 Ways To Improve Cardiometabolic Health

First things first, what is cardiometabolic health? Cardiometabolic health is just a fancy way of saying overall heart health. To be more direct, it is the combination of heart and metabolic health. Examples of cardiometabolic diseases would be heart disease, diabetes, and renal failure. Now that we know what cardiometabolic health is, how do we improve and optimize cardiometabolic health? Let's take a look at some stats on the subject and go from there.

According to recent research, as few as 7% of Americans are considered to be in optimal cardiometabolic health. In this research, the Americans sampled were evaluated with five criteria for optimal health. These criteria included:

  • blood pressure
  • blood sugar
  • fat percentage and weight
  • blood cholesterol
  • whether they had any heart-related disease

Out of the 55,000 people studied, only 6.8% were optimal across the criteria researched. This means only 1 in 15 adults has optimal cardiometabolic health. Since the U.S. is a wealthy first-world country, these numbers are not great. The research highlights a growing problem in the U.S., a health crisis.

Is there really a cardiometabolic health crisis?

If you have ever gone on a Netflix binge, you'll notice there are plenty of fringe documentaries on food and health issues. There is a reason there are so many of them; there is a growing health crisis in the U.S. These health issues will vary in severity depending on age, socioeconomic status, and race/ethnicity. Minorities such as Hispanics and African-Americans experience declining health compared to White Americans. This is potentially due to differences in access to healthcare, healthier food options, economic standing, education level, and other larger societal contexts.

However, the purpose of this article is not to dissect the political and societal pot-holes that exacerbate the health crisis, but rather to highlight the importance of taking preventative measures to avoid becoming a statistic. With that being said, what can we do as individuals to give ourselves the best chance to optimize our cardiometabolic health? What do we need to do to lower our risk of developing diseases such as heart disease and diabetes?

Let's talk prevention of cardiometabolic health issues.

For those reading this without any medical background, there are three types of prevention: secondary, primary, and primordial. Each of these has a place in optimizing cardiometabolic health. What makes each one distinct from the other is the timetable and the effects of implementing each one when you do.

Secondary prevention

This is enacted after a health issue has already occurred. Let's say you had a stroke. Your doctor prescribes you medication and gives you a list of lifestyle changes you need to make to reduce the risk of a stroke occurring again. This is secondary prevention. The goal is to prevent the stroke from happening again by making changes.

Primary prevention

This is enacted before the first stroke. The goal here is to prevent an at-risk individual from having the first occurrence. So let's say you go see your doctor for a check-up and he/she determines you are at risk for stroke. To prevent that first stroke, they look into setting you up with a medication to mitigate risk and give you a list of lifestyle changes you need to make to further reduce the risk of a first stroke. That is primary prevention. You are getting the same treatment as secondary, but the aim is to prevent the first stroke from occurring rather than prevent the next stroke from occurring.

Primordial prevention

This is enacted before the risk factors are determined to exist. Let's look at the stroke example again. Primordial prevention involves working to prevent the symptoms that give rise to risk factors from developing, to begin with. For example, a few risk factors associated with stroke are high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, and high lipids. Primordial prevention would be implementing lifestyle changes to prevent the development of these risk factors. So if you are healthy right now but your lifestyle could lead to the development of risk factors, you would make changes now to stay healthy and further reduce the chance risk factors such as high blood pressure could occur. The goal here is to enact changes and healthy choices as soon as possible-ideally in childhood.

Which prevention is best for cardiometabolic health?

When it comes to cardiometabolic health and health in general, the sooner you make the changes needed to stay healthy the better. Ideally, we all implemented primordial prevention as children and are all in optimal health. However, the research we discussed at the beginning of the article tells us this is not the case for the majority of Americans. For most of us, we are left with primary or secondary prevention. Hopefully, none of you have suffered a heart attack or stroke just yet. Regardless, we can all implement the same lifestyle changes necessary to either prevent the first health concern from appearing or at least greatly reduce the risk of another cardiometabolic health issue from arising.

So how do we do it? What are the steps to take to improve your cardiometabolic health? The list below will not be all-inclusive, but it will contain the biggest changes you can make today to improve your cardiometabolic health and reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes, stroke, renal failure, and other associated diseases.

The 5 ways to improve cardiometabolic health

Like I said already, this list is far from exhaustive, but it is a good starting place for most to make changes today. With that being said, here are five things you can start doing immediately that will improve your cardiometabolic health.

1. Choosing a healthier diet.

There is no shortage of research finding links between food and disease. Certain nutrients are linked to the development or prevention of diseases. However, for the purpose of this article, not all of this is important for you. What you need to take away is the best diet for preventing cardiometabolic health problems is a diet full of fruits and veggies. Furthermore, your diet should contain whole grains, nuts, seeds, fish, and poultry. You want to avoid excessive amounts of alcohol, red meat, processed meats, refined carbohydrates, added sugars, sodium, and trans fats. Pay attention to the label on the foods you buy. A good rule of thumb would be if you can hunt it or gather it in the wild, it is likely a good food choice.

As a last note on food, remember to take into consideration food allergies, dietary preferences, and individual tastes. There are plenty of options that fit these basic parameters while still adhering to your preferences. Do your homework and find food choices that fit your individual tastes while still being good for you.

2. Exercise.

As most of you probably know, exercise is a great way to prevent cardiometabolic health problems such as heart disease. Unfortunately, many of us exercise less as we get older. With this drop in activity level, we see a rise in risk factors such as high blood pressure. Exercise not only lowers the risk of cardiometabolic health problems but also does things like: improve sleep, lower blood pressure, boost mood, and keep weight in check.

The best part of exercise is that you do not have to kill yourself in the gym for hours on end to see the health benefits. As little as 20 minutes of brisk walking a day or 30 minutes for five days a week can improve your overall health. You can obviously do more, but the point here is that movement is medicine. Some activity is better than none, so set aside a few minutes each day and start moving more.

3. Drop your bad habits.

I'm lumping smoking and drinking here, but the focus is smoking. Drinking alcohol is definitely not a habit you want to be doing excessively, but in moderation, some alcohol such as red wine can have health benefits. On the other hand, smoking has no benefit to your health. Smoking tobacco is incredibly addictive and can not only increase your risk of developing cardiometabolic health problems but is also a financial pain costing on average around $2,300/year per person smoking one pack a day. Studies show that smoking contributed to approximately 64% of deaths of current smokers and up to 28% of deaths of former smokers. Smoking is also a well-documented contributor to heart disease, so it is in your best interest to stop smoking as soon as possible if you are a smoker. Some helpful tips for kicking the habit include:

  • nicotine replacement therapy (nasal spray or nicotine patches)
  • avoid triggers you associate with smoking
  • chew gum or do something with your mouth to avoid smoking
  • exercise
  • find a support group

Find ways to stop smoking if the habit is hard to kick. Your health will thank you.

4. Get better sleep.

Sleep is an underrated and essential component of your overall health. Sleep has been shown to be a vital piece of your cardiometabolic health. Getting sleep is a lot like the goldilocks and the three bears story-too much sleep is bad and too little sleep is bad, so we must find the duration that is just right. Unfortunately, everyone is different and had different physiological needs. However, a good rule of thumb to start with is 7-8 hours of sleep. Some people will need less and others will need more, but this is a good duration to work with.

Sleeping habits that make or break a good night's rest include:

  • setting a sleep schedule
  • a bedtime routine such as yoga or meditation to relax before bed
  • limiting screen time before bed
  • avoiding caffeine
  • avoiding alcohol

Getting a good night's rest can make or break your cardiometabolic health in the long run, so if you are experiencing restlessness or sleep issues, implement these tips above. Go talk to your doctor if sleep issues continue to endure or get worse.

5. Get your nitric oxide levels up.

Of course, we had to bring up nitric oxide (NO). Nitric oxide is the vasodilator that lowers blood pressure, prevents plaque buildup, prevents blot clots from occurring, and improves blood circulation throughout the body. Because of these benefits, NO is vital to optimizing cardiometabolic health. If you want to make sure you stay as healthy as you can, make sure your NO levels are optimized. Some things you can do to boost your nitric oxide levels include:

The bottom line on cardiometabolic health

There is plenty more you can do to improve your cardiometabolic health. The steps listed above are great for getting started. Make sure you consult with your doctor if you are at risk or believe you might be at risk for problems such as heart disease, diabetes, stroke, and other health concerns. Do the things in this article and avoid becoming another statistic.

10 Reasons You Want To Optimize Nitric Oxide

10 Reasons You Want To Optimize Nitric Oxide

Just in case you have no idea what nitric oxide is, let's have a brief biology lesson. Nitric oxide (NO) is a gaseous molecule that aids the body in various functions. We call it the "miracle molecule" because of how many functions NO is a part of. Most of the benefits we reap from NO are because it serves as a vasodilator. This means NO widens the blood vessels. When this happens, blood can flow more effectively and efficiently. This production of NO is naturally occurring, but we can boost this production via habits and supplements. Furthermore, since NO production decreases as we age, it is smart to find ways to optimize nitric oxide production.

Some of the benefits of optimizing NO include lower blood pressure, improved circulation, increased energy and stamina, improved cardiovascular health, and much more. These benefits are not the only reasons you should be getting more NO in your life. In this article, we will look at just ten of the reasons you need to optimize nitric oxide levels in your body.

#1: Optimizing Nitric Oxide May Help Prevent Diseases

One of the reasons to optimize NO is doing can help manage or even prevent some diseases. There has been research that shows nitric oxide can help prevent diseases such as type 2 diabetes. This is due to most NO supplements containing the amino acid L-arginine. L-arginine promotes insulin sensitivity and help control blood sugar in some studies. These controls can help control the development of type 2 diabetes, but may not prevent it from occurring. A high-quality NO supplement or foods containing L-arginine such as beef, salmon, and milk can help optimize nitric oxide to control diabetes.

Another disease that optimizing nitric oxide can help control is Alzheimer's. NO works as a neurotransmitter, acting as a signaling molecule for intracellular communication. This communication helps regulate the brain's metabolic status and improves blood flow to the brain via vasodilation. NO can cross the blood-brain barrier, providing nutrients to the brain cells needed to improve cognitive functions such as memory, learning, and computational ability of the brain. All of these boosts that come from optimizing nitric oxide help offset the start and progression of neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer's.

#2: May Improve Skin Health

When we optimize nitric oxide, we could be doing our skin a favor. Boosting NO levels can kill acne-causing bacteria such as the Proprionobacterium acnes as well as inhibit inflammation caused by these bacteria. This means NO can help promote clear skin for those with a history of acne or skin inflammation problems.

#3: Helps Lower Blood Pressure

This benefit of optimizing nitric oxide is one of the most popular reasons to supplement NO in the first place. High blood pressure is also known as hypertension, and hypertension is difficult to detect. High blood pressure is the force of your blood pushing against the walls of your arteries to an excessive degree. When this occurs, hypertension can lead to diseases such as heart disease and kidney disease over time. What makes high blood pressure so difficult to deal with is most people would not know their blood pressure is high unless they visited a doctor. Furthermore, many symptoms of high blood pressure can be easily misdiagnosed as something else. Common symptom include:

  • Headaches
  • Shortness of Breath
  • Pains in the Chest
  • Exhaustion
  • Nausea
  • Vision Problems
  • Tinnitus (ear ringing)
  • Confusion
  • Lightheadedness
  • Kidney Problems

These are just a few symptoms that are linked to hypertension, and you can see it is a wide range of symptoms. Supplementing NO or eating plenty of foods high in amino acids and nitrates such as leafy greens will help you optimize nitric oxide and get your blood pressure under control.

#4: Optimizing Nitric Oxide And Erectile Dysfunction

Once again, a quick biology lesson for those who need it. Erectile dysfunction (ED) is the inability to achieve or maintain an erection for intercourse. As men age, this problem becomes more common. An erection occurs when muscles in the penis relax, allowing blood to fill the chambers within the penis, and then an erection is the result. NO allows blood to flow more effectively thanks to vasodilation, so optimizing nitric oxide can help alleviate erectile dysfunction in some men experiencing symptoms.

#5: NO Can Reduce Muscle Soreness

Yes, NO can help make muscles less sore post-workout. If you have ever gone to the gym, something you may be familiar with is the concept of DOMS (delayed-onset muscle soreness). This means the worst part of the soreness can be experienced between 24-72 hours after your workout. That's the bad news. The good news is that optimizing nitric oxide can reduce DOMS by up to 40% in some cases. The effectiveness of NO will depend on the intensity and duration of the workout, but NO has been shown to be able to decrease muscle soreness. This is because NO's vasodilation creates greater blood floe to the muscles. This allows oxygen and nutrients to be delivered more effectively, speeding up muscle recovery.

#6: Optimizing Nitric Oxide Can Improve Exercise Performance

This one ties right into decreasing muscle soreness. Since NO is involves vasodilation, that same increase in the delivery of nutrients and oxygen post-workout improves muscles working during the workout. NO provides extra support to muscles during thr workout. This helps you push through harder workouts for longer. This benefit has been known for awhile. This is why athletes love supplementing NO products. While most of these are marketed as a muscle booster, NO supplements usually contain the amino acids L-arginine and/or L-citrulline. These amino acids are precursors to NO production in the body, and many athletes swear by NO's ability to increase endurance. Optimizing NO is particularly helpful for endurance sports such as swimming and cycling. If you wanna see gains in the gym and push yourself, eat your veggies!

#7: NO Helps Boost Your Immune System

This benefit stems from vasodilation. Since NO widens vessels and promotes better blood flow, white blood cells circulate more efficiently throughout the body. This means your immune response becomes more rapid with adequate NO levels. With COVID still being a concern for many as well as other infectious diseases, we want to be able to fight these off quickly. Optimizing nitric oxide helps the immune system do its job better.

#8: NO Improves Lung Function

Vasodilation improves overall blood circulation in the body. This means vasodilation improves oxygen and nutrient circulation and delivery as well. With this in mind, it should be no surprise that optimizing nitric oxide improves lung function. NO increases the amount of oxygen being transported and delivered to the lungs, heart, and other organs throughout the body.

#9: Optimizing NO Can Enhance Weight Loss

This is another benefit the gym rats reading this will want to hear. When we increase our NO production, nutrients are delivered more effectively. As nutrients are more readily available, we can use them as fuel more readily. This means we can burn fat and other fuel sources faster because our blood is flowing better. If you are trying to lose weight, optimizing nitric oxide can help. While this benefit is far from an obvious one, it is still a useful benefit for some.

#10: Optimizing NO Can Lead To Increased Energy

Optimizing nitric oxide can help boost your energy levels. Once again, we have vasodilation to thank for this. Because nutrients and oxygen are delivered more efficiently through the body when blood vessels expand, NO promotes better overall energy thanks to improved circulation. Many avid NO supplement users mention noticing more energy when they start boosting their NO levels, and maybe you will too!

How Do We Boost Our NO Levels To Experience These Benefits?

While a supplement is great, I believe in optimizing nitric oxide through a healthy lifestyle first and foremost. Below you will find a few tips for boosting your NO levels with some lifestyle tweaks.

  • Eat plenty of vegetables! A diet high in various veggies is vital to promoting higher NO levels. Dark leafy veggies such as arugula, spinach, kale, and mustard greens are a great start. Most vegetables are high in the dietary nitrates which promote NO production in the body. These veggies are also full of other amino acids and antioxidants that assist in maximizing your body's use of nitric oxide.
  • Limit fluoride and mouthwash. These are great for killing off the bad bacteria that cause cavities and gingivitis. Unfortunately, these kill off the good bacteria that help the body produce nitric oxide.
  • Move around. Exercise keeps the endothelium which produces NO healthy and flexible. Exercise also increases vasodilation. You create a circular effect when you exercise. Exercise promotes nitric oxide production, which gives you more energy to exercise more, and so on.
  • Get outside. The sun not only helps the body produce vitamin D, but also nitric oxide. Spending 20 minutes in the sun each day helps the body produce more NO as well as lowers blood pressure according to some research.

There are more things you can do, but these tips are a great place to start. Once you have nailed down some lifestyle changes, then you can look into NO supplements for optimizing nitric oxide.

Optimize Nitric Oxide And Improve Your Health

Nitric oxide is an essential molecule that keeps your body healthy and functional. NO's vasodilation properties assists with so many vital functions. We went over only ten reasons for you to optimize nitric oxide. Believe me, there are definitely more than ten. Check out our other articles to learn more about nitric oxide, and make sure you save this article for future reference. Lastly, spread the knowledge you have learned here today. Share this information with family and friends so everyone can learn more about the miracle molecule that is nitric oxide.

What To Know About Nitric Oxide

What To Know About Nitric Oxide

What is Nitric Oxide?

Whether you know it or not, nitric oxide (NO) is one of the most important molecules the human body produces. It is because of how essential it is to various functions in the body it has been deemed the "miracle molecule" by medical professionals. Nitric oxide is comprised of one nitrogen atom and one oxygen atom. The most important work NO does is act as a signaling molecule in the cardiovascular system. NO accomplishes most of its work via vasodilation. Vasodilation is the act of widening the blood vessels so blood can flow more efficiently. This occurs due to the smooth muscles within the lining of blood vessels relaxing when nitric oxide is produced there. NO gets produced and the blood vessels expand. Since NO allows for efficient blood circulation, this makes it vital for almost every function that keeps us alive and healthy.

NO is so vital because the expansion of blood vessels allows for blood, oxygen, and nutrients to be delivered throughout the body effectively. This increased blood flow also allows for a decreased risk of plaque buildup and blood clotting. However, a lack of nitric oxide creates a greater risk of heart disease, diabetes, erectile dysfunction, blood clotting, hypertension, and other cardiovascular problems. Fortunately, there are ways we can combat these risks and keep our NO levels optimized. In this article, we will look at the importance of nitric oxide and how to get more of it to stay healthy.

What makes Nitric Oxide so important?

Since NO is so important to have ample amounts of at all times, it makes the following facts hard to swallow:

  1. NO has an incredibly short half-life.
  2. NO production declines rapidly as we age.

Because NO dissipates so quickly, we have to have a constant supply produced. This is easy for most of us, but as we age production declines. Beginning as early as your 30's you can experience a roughly 20% drop in NO production, and this trend will continue every decade for most. It is estimated that approximately 80%-85% of your natural nitric oxide production capacity is gone by age 65. While some of this production decline is specific to aging, other factors such as oxidative stress, lifestyle choices, and daily habits can make this better or worse. Sleep quality, smoking, poor nutrition, being sedentary, and hormones can all impact NO production capability.

Most research agrees that the decline of NO allows for the increased risk of cardiovascular diseases. Therefore, it is important to do all you can to keep your nitric oxide levels high. Since NO is a vasodilator, it is too important to allow to drop in production. As a vasodilator, it greatly impacts functions that rely on blood flow efficiency. NO can decrease muscle soreness, improve energy and stamina, decrease the risk of plaque build-up and blot clotting, and more.

How do you know if you need more NO?

Since nitric oxide is so essential for most body functions, it is easy to say everyone needs more of it. However, some people need more NO than others. How do you know if you need NO? If you fit into some of these categories below, you need more nitric oxide.

These people need Nitric Oxide.

  • Anyone experiencing hypertension
  • Anyone 30 years or older
  • Men who are experiencing erectile dysfunction
  • People suffering from low energy
  • People who are diabetic
  • Anyone experiencing circulation issues
  • Anyone experiencing immune system issues

There are other symptoms to look for, but these are the biggest indicators you need NO.

How do we increase our Nitric Oxide levels?

If the last paragraph told you that you need more nitric oxide, the next question should be: "how do I get more of it?" Below you will find a list of things you can do to increase your NO production.

  • Exercise - exercise improves your ability to produce NO naturally, which in turn improves your exercise performance. Engaging in at least 3 hours of moderate-intensity exercise per week is best for improving nitric oxide production. You can also perform approximately 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity exercise per week to yield similar results.
  • Eat nitrate-rich vegetables - vegetables such as celery, arugula, spinach, beetroot, and lettuce are high in dietary nitrates. Therefore, they are rich in a compound the body needs to promote nitric oxide production.
  • Increase antioxidant consumption - free radicals are a contributing factor in the short half-life of nitric oxide. Consuming antioxidants such as vitamin C and polyphenols helps neutralize free radicals, which helps promote more NO production.
  • Eliminate mouthwash - mouthwash is great for defending your oral health from bad bacteria and cavities. however, mouthwash also kills off the good bacteria that promote nitric oxide production.
  • Quit smoking - this habit causes blood vessel constriction. Constricted blood vessels reduce blood flow and inhibits NO production.

There of plenty of other things you can implement, but this is a solid starting point to focus on.

What about supplements?

As with anything in the health and wellness industry, sometimes a supplement is the necessary answer. Maybe you are already optimizing your lifestyle and still not seeing enough results. Maybe you are just incredibly busy and a supplement is simply more convenient than meal prep and a strict exercise regimen. whatever the reason, there are many supplement options available on the market. Nitric oxide supplements are easily available in stores and online, but they are not all created equal. Many NO supplements are marketed as an "exercise pre-workout" meant to promote blood flow to your muscles. While this is great for fitness enthusiasts, the main purpose of NO is not to get a great "pump" at the gym.

Most supplements on the market have some of the right ingredients such as L-arginine and L-citrulline, but not at the doses or ratios needed to yield results. The ideal ratio of these amino acids is 2:1 to optimize nitric oxide bioavailability, as well as several antioxidants and minerals to allow for maximal production and uptake of NO. Most supplements just do not have that. Most supplements contain some half-baked "proprietary blend" of ingredients that should work but don't. Other products will contain nitrates from beet extract or a leafy green extract such as arugula or spinach, but may not have enough nitrates to make it worth the price tag.

How to choose the right NO supplement.

Simply put, do your homework. Do your research and make sure the product is going to yield results. Make sure the supplement you are looking at is clinically tested. Make sure the supplement is able to prove what it claims it can do. Do they have client testimonials? Do they have the right precursors to promote nitric oxide production in the body? Does the label clearly state all the ingredients and the REASON for those ingredients? Do they come with some test or method to prove the supplement works?

At Bionox, our M3 products contain the ideal 2:1 L-arginine to L-citrulline ratio to optimize nitric oxide bioavailability. Furthermore, the Nox3 products contain sufficient nitrate levels to promote NO production. As a bonus, this product comes with a saliva testing strip that tests your nitric oxide levels before and after consumption so you can see with your own eyes it is working. Most NO supplements just do not provide that kind of assurance. Bionox wants to provide the BEST product on the market to ensure the price is worth it. Think of your supplements as a tattoo...if you want quality work, the artist will have proof their work is superior and their price will reflect that. Bionox is the same, our price reflects our quality, and we can back up the claims with client testimonials, clinical tests, and testing strips so you can see the results for yourself!

Are there side effects to these supplements?

Generally, nitric oxide supplements are considered safe. As previously stated, not all of them are effective at promoting NO production, but they are still generally safe to use. Most of the side effects come from excess amounts of NO precursors. For example, dosing more than 10g of L-arginine can cause stomach discomfort, diarrhea, and outbreaks for those with herpes. Furthermore, beetroot juice can affect stool and urine color. However, this side effect is alarming but harmless. If you are worried about potential side effects, be sure to do your research and consult your doctor or dietician before supplementing.

Bionox's M3 line uses L-arginine but also uses an herbal complex that minimizes the potential for any discomfort associated with L-arginine use. For those with herpes who are concerned about the L-arginine, most do not experience an outbreak, but you can easily supplement approximately 1,000mg Lysine as a precaution. For those who do not know, lysine is another amino acid that can help prevent or shorten the duration of an outbreak if you have herpes. However, I will again reiterate that outbreaks from arginine when taking a Bionox product are not common, so is not likely to be a concern.

The Takeaway

Nitric oxide is absolutely essential for your overall health. Ideally, you are keeping your nitric oxide levels optimized through quality sleep, quality nutrition, exercise, and better daily habits. Furthermore, you are using a quality NO supplement if supplements are easier for your lifestyle. Regardless of how you are optimizing NO production in your body, make sure it is a priority. NO is vital for offsetting the risk of cardiovascular disease and circulation issues. You need to make sure you are doing everything you can to promote nitric oxide production. Make sure you save this article for future reference and share it with family and friends who need to know this for their own health.

A list of tips you can use to boost your nitric oxide levels when making meals.

5 Methods To Boost Nitric Oxide With Whole Foods

Nitric oxide (NO), dubbed the "miracle molecule," is a gas comprised of oxygen and nitrogen. Nitric oxide helps optimize our blood flow, supports our immune system, supports cognitive functions, and so much more. Our bodies naturally produce NO via lifestyle choices and diet. However, the best way to boost nitric oxide is with diet changes. The goal of this article is to provide baseline knowledge of NO and offer some useful methods for boosting your nitric oxide production capacity with whole food choices.

Whole foods...this is the way...to boost nitric oxide

If you have not been living under a rock, you are well aware that fad diets are very much ingrained into our lives. We see new diet trends popping up on social media, in the news, on websites, and everywhere in between every day. Your view on macronutrients such as fats and carbohydrates will depend on which nutrition guru you subscribe to. You will hear that carbs are the enemy if you're keto-based. Nutrition purists will tell you to eliminate all sugar and processed foods. Some gurus will tell you to only eat fruits and vegetables. Others will tell you to cut gluten out of your diet.

Plenty of "professionals" will also tell you to eat within a window and fast the rest of the time. With all these suggestions being thrown at you, and plenty of hard data backing their claims, it can be tough to figure out what works best for you. However, if you can fight your way through the chaos, you'll know the best diet is one consisting of a balance of protein, fruits, vegetables, grains, seeds, and other components. Eating this way consistently and moderately when paired with quality sleep and exercise is a strong foundation for a healthy life.

What's the deal with nitric oxide?

Nitric oxide does not get the credit it is due. NO is not a topic heavily discussed in health and wellness circles often. This is a shame because NO is essential for a healthy life. In case you couldn't tell from the website this article is on, here at Bionox nitric oxide is front and center in health and wellness conversations. We are passionate about what this miracle molecule and do for your quality of life.

Just because we have a top-tier quality supplement, does not mean we neglect what we can do at home to boost nitric oxide ourselves. In addition to our amazing M3 Ultimate Nitric Oxide Nutrition and our Nox3 Greens Ultimate Nitric Oxide Superfood, we want to ensure you are optimizing your diet as well for maximum NO production. Bionox believes that integrating the right NO-friendly whole foods is important for supporting your overall health and wellness goals. We will explore:

  • A breakdown of what nitric oxide is and what it does
  • Some of the benefits of NO
  • Some whole foods that are NO-friendly
  • Different ways to integrate those foods into your diet.

Without further ado, let's dig into the good stuff.

What is nitric oxide and what does it do?

NO is a powerful gas that serves as a messenger molecule. NO is vital for most cells in the body. For those for whom chemistry is not their forte, we abbreviate nitric oxide as NO because it has one nitrogen molecule and one oxygen molecule. NO's biggest role in the body is that of vasodilator. This means NO signals the smooth muscles in the inner lining of arterial walls to relax and expand. When this happens, blood flow can become more efficient. Also, NO is capable of triggering immune cells to fight off infections and intruders. Furthermore, NO helps neurons in the brain communicate, fending off cognitive disorders such as Alzheimer's.

With all this being said, what else can nitric oxide do? To avoid making this article way too long, I will just provide a list of other benefits rather than a detailed breakdown. NO can:

  • Lower blood pressure
  • Helps control joint inflammation and arthritis
  • Supports bone health
  • Helps keep arteries flexible
  • Works to keep skin healthy
  • Protects skin from sun damage
  • Reduces risk of heart disease
  • Can help reduce erectile dysfunction in men
  • Helps lower cholesterol
  • Helps prevent blood clots from forming
  • Can reduce the risk of diabetes
  • Able to improve energy and stamina
  • Improves exercise performance
  • Can reduce muscle soreness

It is easy to see how essential NO is to our health. These many benefits are exactly why we refer to NO as the miracle molecule.

All good things must come to an end

Like I've already said, nitric oxide is naturally produced in our bodies via arterial wall linings. Unfortunately, as we age this production efficiency diminishes. By the time you are 40, you will likely be producing only half of what you were at age 25. The downside of this inevitable diminished capacity to produce NO can increase the risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and more. Because of this, we must find ways to boost nitric oxide production.

If you happen to be a little older and are worried you might be deficient in nitric oxide, there are signs you can look for. However, if you're looking to enhance your overall health through diet changes, you may be wondering which foods contain the miracle molecule so I can boost nitric oxide levels.

The good news is that there are plenty of options to choose from. Our bodies make nitric oxide by digesting and converting precursors of NO into our food. These precursors are L-arginine, L-citrulline, and naturally occurring nitrates. However, we must make the call on which foods best suit our needs.

So, which foods help you boost nitric oxide?

If you're looking to use nitrates as a NO booster for your diet, most vegetables - particularly leafy greens - are the best choice. Following those would be other foods such as certain fruits, meat, dark chocolate, garlic, and some nuts and seeds. If you're looking at the amino acid L-arginine to boost nitric oxide, some choices for food could include salmon, almonds, dairy products, and other nuts and seeds. If the choice is the amino acid L-citrulline, some food choices can include watermelon, pumpkin, squash, chickpeas, and cucumbers.

Below you will see a list of foods to keep handy for trips to the grocery store. If you buy several of these superfoods, you'll for sure be maximizing your nitric oxide production capacity, no matter what age you are.

Nitric oxide boost
Boost nitric oxide with this whole foods list

How to use whole foods to boost NO production

Now for what you clicked on this article for. Now that you know a little more about what nitric oxide is and what foods to eat to boost it, we can look at a few tips for meals you can use to maximize your nitric oxide production at every meal. Be sure to keep these tips in mind. Consider bookmarking this article so you can come back to it later for reference.

Tip #1: Eat RAW greens with every meal if possible. At the very least, shoot for raw greens with one meal every day at an absolute minimum. Because greens are so high in nitrates, they are the ideal whole food for boosting nitric oxide. Eat them raw if possible, since cooking them can diminish some of the nutrients your body can use.

Tip #2: Polyphenols make a great addition to your meals. Polyphenols are antioxidants found in foods such as grapes, dark chocolate, and berries. Red Wine also contains polyphenols, so having a glass at dinner can boost your nitric oxide production.

Tip #3: Add unsaturated oils to the mix. This means olive oil, avocado oil, and other oils containing healthy fats. Eating more fish or supplementing fish oil is recommended as well.

Tip #4: Less is more. The less prepping and cooking required, the more intact the nutrients needed for nitric oxide production stay. Limit the amount of boiling for baking in your meals containing vegetables and fruits.

Tip #5: Stay away from NO-depleting foods. Processed foods, fried foods, salty foods, sugar, and saturated fats all create oxidative stress in the body. These create free radicals that lead to inflammation and other problems. Limit your consumption of these foods as well as beer and liquors to maximize your nitric oxide production.

What if I want to look into supplements?

The above tips are a great way to boost nitric oxide via diet. However, I understand many people will still want to look into supplements for convenience when whole foods are harder to come by. When this happens, making sure to choose a high-quality supplement is paramount. You must also understand that nitric oxide supplements do not contain NO itself, as it is a gaseous molecule. Nitric oxide supplements contain precursors to NO such as nitrates, L-arginine, and L-citrulline in various quantities for the body to use to produce NO.

There are many NO boosters on the market, and most are either cheaply made so are a waste of money or the ratios of the precursors are off so you are not optimizing your NO production. Our retail line of nitric oxide supplements includes the M3 Ultimate Nitric Oxide Nutrition and the Nox3 Ultimate Nitric Oxide Superfood. The Nox3 contains leafy greens that are rich in nitrates as well as other ingredients meant to aid in digestion and regulate your stomach's ph level for optimal bioavailability. The M3 line contains ingredients designed to optimize the bioavailability of NO as well as the ideal ratio of L-arginine to L-citrulline to maximize absorption and production of nitric oxide.

The Takeaway

Whether you look to boost nitric oxide via diet or supplementation, now you have the knowledge needed to make an informed decision that will improve your overall health and wellness for years to come! Bookmark this article for future use, and make sure to share this new knowledge with your friends and loved ones so they can reap the same benefits as you!

A step-by-step guide for reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease by boosting nitric oxide.

Reduce Cardiovascular Risk With Nitric Oxide

Nitric oxide (NO) is truly a miracle molecule. This gaseous molecule is produced by the body and signals for blood vessels to relax and expand. However, the production of nitric oxide decreases as we age. This decrease in NO production gives rise to endothelial dysfunction. This in turn leads to other health problems such as cardiovascular disease, hypertension, stroke, and more. If we want to reduce this cardiovascular risk, we have to keep our nitric oxide production as high as possible.

I am aware not everyone reading this is an expert in cardiovascular health, so I will try to break down what you need to know about the endothelium in order to help you understand just how important nitric oxide is for your overall health and wellness.

What is the endothelium and what does it have to do with cardiovascular risk?

Okay, let's start with the basics. The endothelium is the inner lining of your blood vessels. The endothelium plays an essential role in regulating blood flow. It is here that nitric oxide comes into play. NO is produced in the lining muscles. When this happens, NO begins its most important role: vasodilation. This means NO signals for the blood vessels to widen and expand. This dilating of the blood vessels allows greater blood flow to occur. This blood flow affects the health of muscles, the brain, and the heart. As we age, this production decreases. By the time you are 40, you will only be producing half of the NO you could produce at 25.

This decrease in NO production leads to endothelial dysfunction. This means the blood vessels are not able to dilate and constrict optimally. As a result, blood flow becomes less efficient. This inability to dilate and constrict properly is known as arterial stiffness. Arterial stiffness contributes to hypertension, plaque buildup in the arteries, inflammation, and other factors that increase cardiovascular risk. The lack of NO production can also lead to blood clotting. These blood clots can block arteries just like plaque and lead to an increased risk of stroke and heart attacks.

Endothelial dysfunction: Fighting Back

Roughly one-third of people suffer from some form of endothelial dysfunction, even if they are unaware. Furthermore, lifestyle choices and genetic predispositions can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease as well. People who smoke, the elderly, diabetics, and those with high cholesterol and high blood pressure are all at an increased risk of cardiovascular disease.

However, what we can do to combat this cardiovascular risk from endothelial dysfunction is increase our nitric oxide production. NO is notorious for being used up quickly in the body, so we must give the body a constant supply of ingredients so it can continue to produce NO.

Nitric oxide precursors to reduce cardiovascular risk

Any NO boosting food or supplement out there is not comprised of NO itself. Since NO is a gas, we must ingest building blocks the body can convert into nitric oxide. Also, since NO has such a short half-life, we must be vigilant in NO precursor consumption since it is metabolized so rapidly. Blood vessels need to make NO to function properly, and they do so using three ingredients: L-arginine, L-citrulline, and dietary nitrates.

How L-arginine helps

One of the three precursor compounds the body uses to produce nitric oxide is the amino acid L-arginine. L-arginine is used to build protein and stimulates the release of insulin in the body. The body uses L-arginine to produce nitric oxide when it is consumed. You can find L-arginine in foods such as red meat, dairy, eggs, lentils, and chickpeas. Your body does naturally produce some L-arginine on its own, but the amount needed to produce nitric oxide is best gotten from your diet or a supplement.

L-arginine has been well-studied and shown to have potential benefits such as:

  • reducing chest pain
  • speeding up wound healing
  • building muscle
  • supporting heart health
  • improving male fertility
  • lowering blood pressure
  • reducing digestive system inflammation
  • treating arterial disease
  • improving exercise performance

These are not all the benefits that L-arginine provides, but it's enough for you to see why most NO supplements will include a heavy portion of it in the ingredients. The biggest benefit of L-arginine is it supports blood flow. Studies show L-arginine improves blood flow when supplemented, reducing cardiovascular risk.

How L-citrulline helps

This amino acid is nonessential, meaning we do produce it in our body, but usually in varying amounts. Unlike other amino acids, L-citrulline is not used to build protein. The biggest role L-citrulline has is in the urea cycle. L-citrulline helps rid the body of harmful compounds such as ammonia. L-citrulline can be found in watermelon, squash, and cucumbers.

The body uses L-citrulline to produce L-arginine, which in turn is converted into nitric oxide. Because of this, L-citrulline has health benefits such as:

  • promotes vasodilation
  • lowers blood pressure
  • increases GH hormone post-workout
  • promotes sexual health in men

L-citrulline works to improve blood flow alongside L-arginine so many nitric oxide boosters contain various quantities of both amino acids. The ratio is different in most of these supplements, but the best ratio of L-arginine to L-citrulline for optimal nitric oxide absorption and production is 2:1. This ratio will help you reduce cardiovascular risk.

How nitrates help

For those who might be confused, let's clarify the stance that should be taken on nitrates. Nitrates found in processed meats are usually sodium nitrate, which is an additive used to preserve the food. These kinds of nitrates are bad for you. However, the nitrates found in leafy greens and root plants are good for you. So it all comes down to the source of the nitrates. With that out of the way, we can continue.

Nitrates are naturally occurring compounds found in soil. Because of this, nitrates become infused into the plants we eat. If you want to boost your nitric oxide production via diet, nitrates are the most abundant NO precursor available. You can find nitrates in foods such as kale, arugula, beets, lettuce, mustard greens, and more.

Some of the benefits of dietary nitrates include:

  • help kill bacteria
  • reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease
  • reduces the risk of heart disease
  • lowers the risk of stroke
  • lowers the risk of neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer's
  • can improve exercise endurance

Just a handful of raw greens a day can drastically boost your nitric oxide production potential, so should not be ignored as a contributor to reducing cardiovascular risk.

Other ways to reduce cardiovascular risk

Boosting your NO production via diet or supplements is just one of the many things you can do to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. Let's Look at some other ways you can reduce the risk. Some of these will also boost NO production, and some of these are just lifestyle changes to make you healthier overall.

Lifestyle Changes

Some of the lifestyle changes you can implement to reduce cardiovascular risk include:

Not Smoking.

Not using tobacco in any form is one of the best things you can do for your overall health. Tobacco use is a hard habit to break once you start. With this in mind, the best option is to not start at all. Tobacco use can make you sick, make you slower, and decrease your lifespan. If you are unable to quit, simply reducing the amount you smoke can do wonders for your long-term health. The nicotine in tobacco products is incredibly addictive, so quitting is difficult. However, reducing excessive smoking is linked to a reduced risk of heart disease.

Stay at a healthy weight.

Carrying too many extra pounds is detrimental to your long-term health. Being overweight puts you at an increased risk of developing diabetes and becoming obese. Furthermore, being overweight puts you at an increased risk of heart disease, hypertension, plaque buildup, and more. Keep your diet and lifestyle choices in check to avoid becoming overweight. Finding a healthy weight range relative to your height is a great start. The most commonly used indicator of weight risk is BMI.

Exercise regularly.

This lifestyle change can do much to offset the weight risk listed above. Keeping up a regular exercise routine is crucial for offsetting cardiovascular risk. Remember when we said nitric oxide production decreases as we get older? Well, activity level also tends to decrease as we get older. Exercise happens to be able to spark NO production. So if you want to both keep off weight gain and improve nitric oxide production, exercise more. If you don't know where to begin, try a brisk 20-30 minute walk 5-6 days a week as a starting point. A sedentary lifestyle increases the risk of disease, so combat it by being more active.

There are other habits you can do that boost nitric oxide and reduce cardiovascular risk, but these are a great starting point for most people.

The Takeaway

Getting older is something none of us can stop. It is unfortunate that with age comes an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, arterial problems, endothelial dysfunction, and other health complications. Because of these risks, it is our responsibility to do all we can to fight these risks. An active lifestyle, making good habit choices, and keeping nitric oxide production as high as possible are all paramount for offsetting these risks as we age. Do your heart and arteries a favor and bookmark this article for future use so you never forget what to do to stay healthy as you get older.