nitric oxide production and heart health

Improving Nitric Oxide Production and Heart Health

Few people know about nitric oxide (NO) and all the health benefits associated with it. What cannot be stated enough is that we need this little compound to thrive at our best. Nitric oxide production plays a critical role in promoting heart health. Nitric oxide works to make our blood vessels wider and more flexible. A benefit of this is improving our blood flow. This blood flow is the start of so many other wonderful benefits associated with nitric oxide production, such as circulation improvement. Failure to build sufficient amounts of nitric oxide in the body can lead to heart disease after enough time.

What Is Nitric Oxide?

A common nickname for nitric oxide is the "miracle molecule." Nitric oxide is held in such high regard because it plays a crucial role in so many cellular processes and body processes. Some of these processes include digestion, memory, immune response, and circulation. Furthermore, nitric oxide production is so important because nitric oxide is a signaling neurotransmitter. NO is used to communicate across almost every cell in the body. How does this relate to heart health? Nitric oxide production helps protect our cardiovascular systems from aging and the damage that can occur from lifestyle choices. NO helps our heart and blood vessels stay healthy and functional.

Why Nitric Oxide Production Matters For Heart Health

The main function of nitric oxide on heart health is arterial elasticity; this is a fancy way of saying NO helps our blood vessels stay flexible as we age so that blood flow can remain optimal. NO can help ensure your red blood cells do not stick together and start to form clots and blockages. NO also supports a healthy blood pressure level. The endothelial lining of your arterial walls produce nitric oxide naturally. As long as this lining stays healthy, you won't be vulnerable to inflammation and other damaging side effects of decreased nitric oxide production.

Unfortunately, nitric oxide levels begin to drop as we get older. As a result, the older you get, the more important it is to boost your nitric oxide levels. With all this in mind, you may be wondering what you can do to optimize your nitric oxide levels to avoid any unwanted heart problems?

How To Boost Your Nitric Oxide Levels For Your Heart Health

There are several ways you can ensure you have optimal nitric oxide levels for your heart health. Here are a few tips to boost nitric oxide levels:

1. Take L-arginine

L-arginine is an amino acid used as a primary precursor for nitric oxide production. This amino acid can be found in foods such as red meat, chicken, salmon, legumes, almonds, and cheese. L-arginine is also widely available as a supplement if you have food preferences or dietary restrictions that limit the exposure you can get to L-arginine through food. You can read up more about the relationship between L-arginine and nitric oxide here.

2. Eat Nitrate-Dense Foods

Certain vegetables contain a compound called nitrates. Nitric oxide production is possible through converting nitrates. Eating foods rich in nitrates will boost and optimize your nitric oxide production. Some foods high in nitrates include:

  • Spinach
  • Arugula
  • Beetroot
  • Celery
  • Lettuce
  • Kale
  • Chard
  • Radishes
  • Turnips

This list is definitely not all the vegetables out there, but it's a good start for you to begin adding nitrates into your nutrition. Eating foods that are nitrate dense can lower blood pressure as well as improve energy and stamina levels in some people.

It is worth pointing out that the nitrates found in vegetables are okay for large consumption. Processed meats such as bacon and hot dogs commonly contain nitrates. Those nitrates are used as a preservative and have been linked to some cancers. However, the nitrates from your vegetables are safe and contain antioxidants such as vitamin C. So eat your veggies, but try to avoid excessive bacon consumption. Your nitric oxide production will be boosted for sure if you do this.

3. Consume More Antioxidants

The body naturally produces nitric oxide but uses it up quickly. Because of this, it needs to be consistently replenished to keep levels high and experience the heart health benefits. One way we can do this is by introducing more antioxidants into our diets. Antioxidants are molecules that rid the body of excess free radicals that create oxidative stress. These free radicals can break down nitric oxide molecules rapidly, so we want antioxidants to stop this.

Some foods commonly associated as antioxidant-rich are:

  • Dark chocolate
  • Pecans
  • Blueberries
  • Raspberries
  • Strawberries
  • Kale
  • Beets
  • Spinach

Types of Antioxidants

Various other fruits, nuts, seeds, and vegetables aside from the ones listed above contain antioxidants as well. Some of the most common types of antioxidants are:

  • Vitamin C: Vitamin C forms connective tissues as well as produces brain chemicals to aid in nerve cell communication and signaling.
  • Vitamin E: Vitamin E shields from free radicals which can negatively impact aging and speed up the onset of some diseases. It also helps keep the immune system strong.
  • Polyphenols: The body uses polyphenols to fight off the risk of cancers and cardiovascular disease.
  • Glutathione: The body uses glutathione as a detoxifier for cells. Glutathione is known as "the mother of all antioxidants" because it is present in almost every cell in the body. It also plays a role in various body systems and functions.

Some research supports the idea that taking nitric oxide precursors such as nitrates with antioxidants can optimize nitric oxide levels by slowing down the rate of nitric oxide breakdown. Also, most vegetables that are high in nitrates are full of antioxidants. This combination allows for improved nitric oxide production and optimal consistent levels. This consistently high level of nitric oxide is what is needed to promote heart health benefits.

4. Exercise

The whole point of exercising is to get the blood pumping right? Well, your nitric oxide production increases when you exercise. Exercise promotes blood flow, which promotes the delivery of oxygen and nutrients. Not to mention the cardiovascular benefits of working your muscles, heart, and lungs consistently. Blood pressure levels and improved endothelial health can result from more exercise.

Protecting the Endothelium

The endothelium is the cellular lining within blood vessels. These are the cells that produce nitric oxide. When they produce nitric oxide, the blood vessels stay flexible and dilated for improved blood circulation throughout the body. If nitric oxide levels become insufficient, your endothelium can become dysfunctional. This dysfunction leads to heart problems and blood pressure issues like hypertension.

When we exercise, we promote endothelium health by increasing vasodilation. Vasodilation is the widening of blood vessels via relaxation of the smooth muscles within the lining of arteries. By incorporating more aerobic exercise such as jogging and walking into your daily routine, you can improve your endothelial health and increase nitric oxide production.

5. Use Nitric Oxide Boosting Supplements

This one is an obvious choice if you can check the other boxes above. You should always try to get nitric oxide boosters from lifestyle choices and nutrition first. If you find that all of the above still isn't enough, then it's time to look into supplements. Nitric oxide supplements do not contain nitric oxide, but they do contain the precursors the body can use to convert into nitric oxide. The most common ingredients you will find are L-arginine and L-citrulline.

Both of these are amino acids. L-arginine promotes nitric oxide via the L-arginine-NO pathway. The body naturally produces L-citrulline. As a result of this natural production, L-citrulline gets converted into L-arginine. This allows for more L-arginine available for nitric oxide production. Both amino acids are great for decreasing blood pressure, so are both great for heart health. These amino acids are usually split into some ratio in a NO booster. The ideal ratio of L-arginine to L-citrulline is 2:1, which you can learn more about why here.

The Takeaway

Nitric oxide is essential for overall heart health. As vasodilation occurs, blood flow becomes more efficient. This allows more oxygen and nutrients to be available for cells and muscles. Because of this, it is important to achieve and sustain optimal nitric oxide levels.

Nitric oxide is a valuable tool to have in your health arsenal. Almost every cell in your body utilizes it. Your muscles use it for energy, stamina, and fatigue control. The brain uses it to communicate between neurons. Your blood cells use it to avoid clotting. The reproductive organs use it to increase libido and sexual health. Our immune system uses it to stay strong and vigilant against foreign intruders.

Nitric oxide is easy to add to your diet in various forms. There is no shortage of benefits to your body as a whole when supplementing nitric oxide. As a bonus, when we increase our nitric oxide consumption, our bodies begin to produce more nitric oxide naturally. If you care about living a long life with a strong heart, seriously look into what nitric oxide can do for you. If you are on any medication, talk to your doctor. Otherwise, follow the steps above and enhance your nitric oxide production asap!


Nitric Oxide Benefits

10 Nitric Oxide Benefits You Need To Know

What is Nitric Oxide?

Nitric oxide is a signaling molecule that is produced by almost every cell in the body. Nitric oxide is also a neurotransmitter, working as a signaling molecule that plays a vital role in multiple processes throughout the body. Some of these processes include digestion, blood flow, vision, memory, immune system function, recovery, etc. Nitric oxide works by relaxing and widening the blood vessels. As this happens, hormones such as growth hormone (GH) and insulin are released. Furthermore, this widening of the blood vessels is the precursor to the majority of nitric oxide benefits. This process is referred to as vasodilation. To read more about what nitric oxide is in detail, you can click here.

What is vasodilation?

Vasodilation is the relaxing and widening of blood vessels. The smooth muscles in the arterial walls relax, which allows the blood vessels to widen. As a result, blood flow improves and blood pressure lowers.

How do we make nitric oxide?

Nitric oxide is not something we produce on its own. Nitric oxide needs precursors to be produced. Primarily, these precursors are L-arginine and L-citrulline. L-citrulline will be used to produce more L-arginine and L-arginine is used to synthesize nitric oxide. Once nitric oxide is produced, we can enjoy the various health benefits. Due to all the nitric oxide benefits we can potentially experience, it is often referred to as the "miracle molecule."

Without further ado, here is a list of 10 nitric oxide benefits.

Nitric Oxide Benefits

1. Can Help Control Type 2 Diabetes

It may be a little known fact, but there is evidence showing that nitric oxide production is impaired in those suffering from type 2 diabetes. As a result of this impairment, potential problems include high blood pressure, kidney issues, heart problems, and more. Because nitric oxide is so critical for so many body and cellular processes, supplementing nitric oxide or getting more nitric oxide through diet and lifestyle choices is essential for fighting diabetes symptoms. Some of the nitric oxide benefits pertaining to diabetes include improved blood circulation, improved oxygen and nutrient delivery, improved wound healing, increased insulin sensitivity, and improved blood sugar control. The precursor of nitric oxide, L-arginine, has been suggested to be able to delay the onset of diabetes, but more research is needed before L-arginine can be looked at as a prescription for diabetics.

2. Circulation

Honestly, this nitric oxide benefit should have been first on the list. Improved blood circulation is responsible for many of the other benefits associated with nitric oxide. Since nitric oxide causes the blood vessels to widen, it makes sense that your blood circulation would improve since more blood is now flowing through the wider vessels. As blood circulation increases, nutrient and oxygen delivery improve as well. As another benefit of improved circulation, you may experience improved cardiovascular health but we will touch more on that later.

3. Sexual Health In Men

Fellas, this ones for you. If you have any issues getting your flagpole to full mass, nitric oxide may be able to help. Another nitric oxide benefit is its potential to help men suffering from erectile dysfunction (ED). Because nitric oxide improves blood flow throughout the body, it is possible that as blood delivers oxygen and nutrients more efficiently, you can experience a decrease in ED symptoms. Furthermore, nitric oxide is necessary for the penis to become erect. Contrary to what you would think, muscles around the penis have to relax in order to allow blood to flow in and give you an erection. Nitric oxide is good at relaxing smooth muscles in arterial walls. This in turn allows blood to flow in and can increase the frequency and duration of erections in men suffering from ED.

4. Blood Pressure

We kind of already touched on this nitric oxide benefit. However, in case you missed it, we can highlight the benefit here. As vasodilation allows more blood to flow through blood vessels, this decreases blood pressure. High blood pressure occurs when the force of your blood against the vessel walls is too high. Over time, high blood pressure can lead to issues such as kidney and heart disease. We want to avoid high blood pressure, so if you have hypertension or heart issues now, supplementing nitric oxide boosters may be beneficial for you in the long run.

5. Exercise Performance

This nitric oxide benefit could really help the gym bros and chicks out there. Since nitric oxide is so critical to so many processes within the body, some of those processes affect exercise performance. One of those is blood circulation. As blood circulation allows improved nutrient and oxygen delivery, muscles get more necessary fuel during and after a workout. It is because of this that many pre-workouts on the market include nitric oxide precursors such as L-citrulline and L-arginine. The takeaway here is that supplementing nitric oxide can potentially improve your energy and stamina while you work out. This will allow you to work out longer and harder, as well as recover faster.

6. Immune System Support

If you are prone to getting sick more than others around you, this nitric oxide benefit is for you. In light of the recent pandemic and the threat of future pandemics, immune system health has been a focal point for many the past few years. We all want to give our immune systems the best chance of fighting out illness. Yes, we can get vaccinated, quarantine, and all these other reactive measures. However, we can also implement some preventative measures as well.
These include a healthy diet, staying in good shape, getting quality sleep, etc. If you are already doing these, the next thing you can do is add some nitric oxide to your diet. Research suggests increasing your NO levels can improve immune system function. This is because NO is used by immune system cells to fight tumors, infections, and foreign intruders. It also sends signals throughout the body, making it crucial for getting cells prepared to fight off infections and diseases.

7. Cardiovascular and Heart Health

The nitric oxide benefits for your ticker are well worth mentioning. Due to NO's ability to kickstart vasodilation, blood pressure gets lowered. When this happens, arterial stiffness decreases and so does the risk of heart disease. Also, improved blood flow allows the heart to pump blood more efficiently, helping the heart stay strong and healthy thanks to the optimal oxygen and nutrient delivery.

8. Wound Healing

This nitric oxide benefit is a little nuanced because other factors are at play when it comes to your ability to heal from a wound. However, it is hypothesized that because NO is a signaling molecule and is a key component of immune system function it has a role in wound healing. NO is likely partially responsible for skin rebuilding after an injury since it would signal immune system cells and repair cells to do their jobs. More research is needed to determine the extent of the role nitric oxide plays in wound healing.

9. Reproduction Health

This nitric oxide benefit applies to men and women. For women, nitric oxide plays a role in menstrual regulation, pregnancy progression, and fetal development from embryo to newborn during the duration of the pregnancy term. There is research suggesting potential fetal development can be impaired if there are insufficient NO levels in the mother's body.

For men, NO helps regulate sperm development, sperm motility, sperm strength (ability to penetrate an egg), and sperm maturity. Insufficient NO levels can lead to low sperm count and low sperm vitality. Also, since nitric oxide helps with ED, nitric oxide helps sperm get delivered via improved erections.

10. Brain Health

If you or your family have a history of neurodegenerative disorders, this will likely pertain to you. Turns out that supplementing nitric oxide can improve blood flow to the brain. Furthermore, since nitric oxide is a signaling neurotransmitter, it plays an important role in intracellular communication between neurons in the brain. Because of the role NO plays in neuron communications, NO can potentially aid in the treatment of diseases like dementia and Alzheimer's.

Other Reported Nitric Oxide Benefits

There are already plenty of reasons to look into increasing NO consumption. However, people often take NO supplements for reasons other than well-researched benefits. Some possible benefits which are strictly anecdotal are:

improved lung function for those with lung-debilitating illnesses

preventing COVID-19

improving memory loss

preventing common colds

treating altitude sickness

speeding up weight loss

healing foot ulcers

speeding up recovery after a major injury

speeding up recovery after a major trauma

Other Nitric Oxide Benefits

Many of the benefits have some scientific research backing them up, but not enough to be a routine prescription from doctors. Most of the time, you can easily add more nitric oxide into your life by:

eating foods high in nitrate

eating foods high in antioxidants

increasing sunlight exposure

decreasing stress

nose breathing

limiting mouthwash use

exercise

The Takeaway

This list is far from exhaustive, but it's a good start for increasing NO levels. There are very few side effects for you to worry about, so NO is safe for most people to consume. If you have any blood pressure or heart medications, certainly ask your doctor for advice before trying to actively increase your nitric oxide levels. Always ensure you are safe before adding anything to your health regimen. Nitric oxide plays a role in so many processes related to human health. If it makes sense for you to add more in or supplement with an NO booster, do so. If you are not sure where to look, click here.


L-citrulline: everything you need to know

L-Citrulline: Everything You Need To know

What if I told you there is a supplement out there in the vast wild west known as the health industry that can improve cognitive health, improve exercise performance, improve blood flow, and more? Would you be interested in learning about this supplement? If so, you've come to the right place. L-citrulline has been gaining popularity in fitness circles recently for its possible benefit of improving exercise performance. If you're reading this, chances are you care about more than your post-workout pump. L-citrulline has a host of other potential benefits as well as risks. We will explore the ins and outs of L-citrulline so you have all the facts. Let's go over everything you could ever need to know about this supplement and see if it's worth adding to your health and wellness protocols.

What Is L-Citrulline?

L-citrulline is an amino acid that occurs naturally in the body. Foods such as watermelon and pumpkin seeds contain high levels of L-citrulline. Since the body produces L-citrulline naturally, we call it a nonessential amino acid. Even though L-citrulline is an amino acid, it does not directly impact protein synthesis. However, it still has value in other processes within the body. L-citrulline could also potentially increase chemicals in the body that aid in protein synthesis. One such chemical process L-citrulline is a vital component of is the urea cycle. This cycle is responsible for flushing harmful compounds such as ammonia from the body. Urine flushes out the urea that remains. So now you know what L-citrulline is, let's look at how it works.

How Does L-Citrulline Work?

We know that L-citrulline is an amino acid produced in the body and used for various body processes. One of those processes is vasodilation. Vasodilation is the relaxing and widening of blood vessels. This process is made possible via the conversion of L-citrulline into another amino acid, L-arginine. When this happens, L-arginine gets converted into nitric oxide. This in turn promotes vasodilation thanks to the relaxing of cells within the blood vessels. A popular question amongst nutrition experts is: "why should we supplement L-citrulline for vasodilation when it's converted into L-arginine anyway?" Why not just supplement L-arginine?

This is a fair question, and maybe one you are asking as well. What researchers found is the body seems to better absorb L-citrulline, or at least differences in absorption rate demonstrate consuming L-citrulline may increase the bioavailability of L-arginine better than consuming L-arginine itself. We have already touched on a couple benefits of L-citrulline, but let's dive a little deeper now.

What are the benefits of L-Citrulline?

L-citrulline has had research conducted to look into the potential benefits for various areas of health. This includes cognition, sexual health, exercise performance, fatigue recovery, blood flow, etc. Let's dive into the benefits of L-citrulline so you can see why it may be smart o add it to your supplement stack.

Improved Blood Flow

The first benefit is the most obvious benefit, and the benefit discussed most often. L-citrulline may improve the expansion of blood vessels via vasodilation. This vasodilation can make blood flow more efficiently throughout the body. As a result of this more efficient blood flow, delivery of oxygen and nutrients to the muscles and other cells of the body also improves. As the delivery of nutrients and oxygen improves, so does the removal of waste materials in those muscles and cells. as a final note, it is worth stating that a single dose is unlikely to yield any significant results, so continual supplementation has a far greater likelihood of benefit. This is especially true if you have any underlying heart health issues.

Reduced Blood Pressure

If you have any hypertension issues, L-citrulline may come in handy. There is some research showing L--citrulline may help lower blood pressure, especially if you have high blood pressure. There is less research supporting improved blood pressure for already healthy individuals, but rest assured there are other benefits for you.

Better Pump

A side benefit to better blood flow is the improved delivery of oxygen and nutrients to cells of the body; this includes muscle cells. When blood flows faster into muscles, this creates a fuller and thicker appearance. Bodybuilders call this thicker and fuller appearance the "pump." The pump creates a full and defined physical appearance, which is the ideal look competitive bodybuilders chase for stage competitions as well as photoshoots. If you are trying to achieve this particular look, supplementing L-citrulline might be useful.

Increase of GH Production

For those of you looking to add some muscle mass to your physique, L-citrulline might have another benefit for you. There is some research that suggests supplementing L-citrulline (particularly citrulline malate) can promote growth hormone production during and after your workout. As growth hormone production increases, your recovery time improves and you are likely to see muscle growth faster. There are plenty of other factors that do more for growth hormone production, but supplementing L-citrulline can certainly be complementary to other factors such as improving sleep quality, reducing sugar intake, eating more protein, etc.

Increased Energy Levels and Improved Exercise Performance

We all want to be able show to every workout with high energy and crush it with crazy intensity. I'm sure most of you would also love to have enough energy everyday to not need the morning cup(s) of coffee and/or a 3pm nap just to function like a human most days. Lucky for you, L-citrulline might be able to help. Some consumers of L-citrulline have reported increased energy levels, which is why L-citrulline is a common ingredient in pre-workout mixes. Supplementing L-citrulline increases production of ATP (adenosine triphosphate), which is likely a major contributor to this benefit. Increasing ATP leads to an increase in energy and improved fatigue resistance.

L-citrulline research has looked at multiple styles of exercise to establish exercise performance benefits. Researchers have looked at High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), Endurance Training, and General Strength Training to see the effects of L-citrulline. A variation of L-citrulline called citrulline malate has been studied alongside L-citrulline. The only difference you need to know is that citrulline malate contains malic acid, which can improve absorption rate and bioavailability of L-citrulline in the body. This of course improves energy levels by making more energy available to be used.

To briefly sum up the gist of the research, L-citrulline seems to be more useful for endurance training while citrulline malate seems to be more useful for strength training and HIIT training. Regardless of which variation of citrulline you choose to supplement, they will likely give you more energy to push yourself harder during the workout and recover faster after the workout.

Improved Brain Function

We have established that L-citrulline not only aids in vasodilation (widening of blood vessels, but is a precursor to nitric oxide (NO), a molecule responsible in part for intracellular signaling. This intracellular signaling includes the neurons in the brain. Put these two things together, and you see the importance of L-citrulline for brain health. L-citrulline can improve the delivery of oxygen, blood, and nutrients to the brain the same as it does to other areas of the body. Potential side effects of this are sharper focus, feeling more alert, and improved mood.

Improved Sexual Health

This potential benefit varies amongst studies and is inconclusive, but there is some research showing a decrease in mild erectile dysfunction symptoms. There is also some potential improvement in the ability to maintain an erection. This is likely due to the increased blood flow via vasodilation from the L-citrulline being converted into nitric oxide.

Taking L-Citrulline

Different studies will tell you different amounts, but a generally accepted amount of L-citrulline (for blood pressure and/or endurance training) would be 3-6 grams daily. Some research that suggests if you take citrulline malate (strength training/HIIT) instead, a slightly higher dosage of up to 8-10 grams a day could be beneficial. There is little feedback from consumers of side effects such as upset stomach, so taking 8-10 grams a day should not warrant any negative effects. There is also little to no reported benefit to exceeding 10 grams per day.

Side Effects and Safety Concerns

Preliminary research has been conducted in regard to excessive L-citrulline consumption. Thankfully there seems to be no reported negative side effects of consuming up to 15 grams per day routinely. There are no reported benefits to exceeding the 8-10 grams per day recommendation either. No research has shown any negative impacts on body function or blood pressure. Furthermore, there is evidence that exceeding 10 grams per day likely leads to the body flushing the excess L-citrulline, so it appears to be a waste of time and money to exceed 10 grams per day.

The Crux Of The Matter

Here's the bottom line: L-citrulline is an amino acid with an array of health benefits. This amino acid can provide energy to crush the toughest workouts, improves blood flow, helps promote nitric oxide, improves brain health, and more! You have plenty to gain and almost nothing to lose by adding L-citrulline to your supplement stack. If you want to improve heart health and be able to train harder, L-citrulline is a solid bet. Like I previously stated, many pre-workout mixes contain L-citrulline, so you are unlikely to need to supplement it by itself. However, if you're looking for a product that contains not only L-citrulline, but L-arginine as well, be sure to check out the Bionox M3 line!


nitric oxide boosting foods

Nitric Oxide Boosting Foods You Should Be Eating

Have you never heard of nitric oxide? If not, you might want to take the time to familiarize yourself with this powerful and chemical. This miracle molecule has so many benefits for your body and overall health; it cannot be covered in a single article.
Nitric Oxide (NO) is a molecule produced naturally in the body which is vital to numerous aspects of health. Nitric oxide does most of its work via vasodilation, relaxing and widening the blood vessels. This process is where the magic happens, allowing for improved blood flow and a wide range of health benefits as a by-product. One of the best ways to naturally increase NO production in the body is simply making changes to your diet.
There are a LOT of nitric oxide boosting foods out there that can enhance nitric oxide production, so it will be impossible to list them all without making this way too long to read. I will break down some of the most popular foods used to enhance nitric oxide production to make the list more concise. So here is a list of foods you can start eating today to boost your nitric oxide levels.

1. Beets

This one should come as no surprise to anyone who knows anything about nitric oxide. This powerhouse of a superfood is essential for anyone looking to maximize nitric oxide levels purely through diet. Beets are a vegetable highly rich in dietary nitrates, which your body can use to convert into nitric oxide. This root has been linked to multiple health benefits such as improved cognitive function, boosting stamina, improving blood flow, and lowering blood pressure. Beets are a great choice for decreasing the risk of heart issues as you age, so consider supplementing them if you like to eat your red foods.

2. Garlic

If you aren’t a vampire, this one will work well for you. Garlic can enhance nitric oxide production by activating an enzyme called nitric oxide synthase. This enzyme helps the amino acid L-Arginine convert into nitric oxide. Garlic has been linked to improved exercise tolerance and decreased blood pressure so if you like eating garlic, you’re in luck.

3. Pomegranates

Within some circles of the fitness community, this one is a useful hack. Pomegranate juice has been used by bodybuilders for years to decrease muscle soreness and improve recovery between training sessions. Pomegranates can do much more though. Pomegranates are high in polyphenol antioxidants as well as nitrates, making them excellent vasodilators. This vasodilation promotes blood flow as well as potentially improved oxygen and nutrient delivery to cells, hence the usefulness for active individuals.
Even if you are not super active, the antioxidants found in pomegranates are great for protecting your cells from oxidative damage. Furthermore, the increased blood flow from vasodilation can potentially improve conditions such as erectile dysfunction and hypertension. If you’re a fan of sweet fruit juices, add pomegranates as a nitric oxide boosting food.

4. Eggs

Eggs are a go-to for many people as a breakfast staple food. This one is also another staple for fitness buffs who want to make sure they get their morning protein fix. There may be something to the eggs for breakfast we are all ingrained with from an early age. Eggs happen to be high in the amino acid L-Arginine, a precursor to nitric oxide. L-Arginine helps release nitric oxide into the blood, which in turn channels all the wonderful benefits of nitric oxide such as improved blood circulation, endothelial function, etc.

While the body does produce L-Arginine naturally, as we age this production may not be enough to provide the body what it needs to function optimally. For this reason, finding foods high in amino acids like L-Arginine is crucial for staying active and healthy as we age. Eggs are easily accessible for most people, so it’s an easy choice for a nitric oxide boosting food (provided you are not a vegetarian).

5. Watermelon

As we move into the summer season, watermelon is a classic fruit choice for hydrating and enjoying a sweet and healthy treat. Like most things on this list, watermelon has many other uses outside of being delicious. Watermelon is known for having high levels of the amino acid L-citrulline, another precursor amino acid to produce nitric oxide. The body uses L-Citrulline to create L-Arginine, which in turn facilitates the production of nitric oxide. As you may know by now, this NO production thanks to the conversion of L-Citrulline into L-Arginine allows blood vessels to relax and widen, improving blood circulation as well as a host of other health benefits. Whether this treat is a sweet snack or an intentional diet choice, you cannot go wrong with this nitric oxide boosting food.

6. Pumpkin Seeds

Who else is a BIG FAN of Halloween? What is one item that jumps out at you when you think of Halloween? Is it the candy? The costumes? The slight chill in the air? If you’re like me, you think of jack-o-lanterns and all the cool carvings you can do. I go on Pinterest every year and try to replicate (often to comical failure) an extravagant pumpkin carving. Pumpkins can serve another purpose; one more healthy and possibly less frustrating than trying to copy the cool Pinterest carving. No, I do not mean pumpkin pie (but that is good).

Pumpkins can boost your nitric oxide levels! Pumpkin seeds contain antioxidants that work to rid the body of excess free radicals as well as improve blood flow. This improved blood flow reduces the risk of plague buildup in blood vessels and reduces the risk of hypertension and other heart health problems. So, this Halloween when you go to scrape out your pumpkin to carve a ghoulish jack-o-lantern, keep the seeds. Those seeds are a nitric oxide boosting food you don’t want to waste!

7. Cucumber

Where are my salad peeps at? This one is for you. If you are a fan of salads, chances are you eat cucumber. Pickle fans will also fall into this one to some degree. Cucumbers have decent amounts of the amino acid L-Citrulline, so the body will convert the L-Citrulline into L-Arginine for nitric oxide to be produced and released. Cucumbers do not have as much L-Citrulline as watermelon, but they are lower in sugar and calories. Like watermelon, cucumbers are mostly water, so are naturally hydrating as well. If you’re looking for a nitric oxide boosting food that is low in sugar and low in calories, cucumber is a must-add to your diet.

8. Spinach

Who remembers the jingle Popeye the Sailor Man used to sing when he would prepare to accomplish superhuman feats of strength to save Olive Oyl? If you were a fan of the cartoon, you know Popeye charged up by gobbling down a big tin can full of spinach. Ironically, despite the hyperbole there is something to Popeye being charged up on this leafy green.

Spinach is one of those vegetables like beets with high levels of natural nitrates. These nitrates convert directly into nitric oxide. Because of these dietary nitrates, spinach is a great addition to your diet. On top of this, regular consumption of spinach and other leafy greens like arugula can reduce the risk of cognitive function decline and cardiovascular issues. Maintaining optimal levels of nitric oxide has been linked to boosted energy levels and improved stamina in people, so Popeye had the right idea. Be like Popeye the Sailor Man and add this nitric oxide boosting food to your diet.

9. Beef and Fish

Red meat and seafood are not the same thing. However, in terms of nitric oxide boosting these foods act in similar ways so I will discuss them together. Meats such as beef and fish both contain high levels of Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10). CoQ10 helps preserve the nitric oxide levels in your body. Almost every cell in your body contains CoQ10. This compound is vital to processes such as energy promotion and ridding the body of free radicals. Having ample CoQ10 also promotes good heart health, so it’s a good idea to have it in your diet anyway. Animal foods such as seafood and red meat have some of the highest amounts of CoQ10 available naturally. Since CoQ10 has been linked to being able to preserve nitric oxide within the body, it is certainly a nitric oxide boosting food to add if dietary preferences allow.

10. Chocolate

As how most people do with eating, we saved the dessert for last. The last food I’m including on this list is chocolate, specifically dark chocolate. Dark chocolate is not for everyone since it is typically less sweet than milk or white chocolate. However, dark chocolate has a few health benefits if consumed reasonably. Dark chocolate contains compounds called flavanols due to the cocoa concentrations in dark chocolate. These compounds rid the body of free radicals as well as increase nitric oxide levels in the body. Dark chocolate has been shown to lower stress, reduce blood pressure, and improve brain function in some studies. Most studies advise consuming dark chocolate with a 70%-80% cocoa concentration. While it isn't as sweet of a dessert as you might like, it’s still cool chocolate is a nitric oxide boosting food.

Eat Well. Live Well.

This list is far from exhaustive. Other foods you can add to your diet include arugula, broccoli, citrus fruits, other seeds and nuts, poultry, kiwi, kale, cabbage, Bok choy, spirulina, red wine, and so many more. Chances are you can find something out there that will fit your dietary preferences and restrictions that will boost your nitric oxide levels while tasting great!