Beetroot laid on a wooden table together with a glass-full of beetroot juice

The Best Nitric Oxide Foods to Boost Your Body and Brain



Nitric oxide is one of the most important substances in the body. It’s important for helping to dilate the blood vessels, and thus helps to ensure that blood, oxygen, and nutrients are able to reach all of the different parts of our body.

This is tremendously important for anyone who is hoping to maintain their overall health, and can be especially interesting for men who are trying to enhance their sexual health. In this article, we’re going to discuss the best nitric oxide foods to help you learn how you can naturally boost the amount of this valuable substance in your body.

Health benefits of Nitric Oxide

Before you start learning about foods rich in nitric oxide, it can be pretty useful to understand a bit more about what this fascinating compound actually is.

Nitric oxide is a tremendously important molecule that your body produces. It has a large impact on a number of different bodily processes, one of the most important being the way that it helps the blood vessels dilate.

There are a number of benefits that could be attributed to this aspect of nitric oxide on its own:

  • You may find that you are able to exercise better, An increase in NO and thus better dilation of blood vessels means that you will be able to bring more blood and oxygen to your muscle tissues, allowing your endurance to increase.
  • In addition to increasing your stamina and endurance, nitric oxide is thought to help reduce the intensity of muscle soreness which can be very intense after a heavy workout. Delayed-onset muscle soreness, as this is referred to, is a painful and insistent issue that occurs between 24 and 72 hours after an intense workout.
  • You will reduce blood pressure. This is a bit of a no-brainer: high blood pressure is caused by constricted blood vessels, so dilating these blood vessels will counteract high blood pressure.
  • You can improve your cognitive abilities. By increasing blood flow to your brain, you will provide more energy for your brain to perform executive functions and remember things.
  • You can improve sexual health – especially for men. Men who struggle with erectile dysfunction have a hard time bringing blood into their penis. In some cases, this can be remedied by increasing the amount of nitric oxide present in the body, which is known to help elevate blood pressure.
  • NO also helps the muscles in the penis relax, which makes it easier for blood to flow into the region, causing an erection. Many of the supplements that are currently marketed towards people struggling with erectile dysfunction, such as L-arginine, work by increasing NO in the body.

  • Nitric oxide can even help people manage type 2 diabetes. Studies have shown that people with this condition often have a difficult time producing their own nitric oxide, which can impair the health of their blood vessels. This can contribute to a number of problems associated with diabetes, such as elevated blood pressure and kidney problems.

These are some of the most common health benefits of increasing the amount of nitric oxide available in the body – not bad for something that you can boost by simply improving your diet.

The best ways to naturally increase levels of Nitric Oxide

There are a fair few ways that you can increase levels of nitric oxide.

  • One of the best things that you can do is increase the number of antioxidants that you consume. Antioxidants help to disarm free radicals, or rogue electrons, which can damage the life of nitric oxide. By getting rid of free radicals, you can increase the amount of nitric oxide in your body.
  • You can also take nitric oxide supplements. There are lots available, but most of them contain one of the two most common ingredients:
    • L-arginine, an important amino acid that isn’t actually essential to get in your diet. Healthy adults can make enough of this amino acid to keep themselves in shape, however, some people are unable to make enough of it. L-arginine is directly involved in the production of nitric oxide.
    • L-citrulline is another amino acid. Your body should be able to make all of the L-citrulline that it needs. Your body also creates L-citrulline during the process in which L-arginine is converted into nitric oxide. L-citrulline can be turned back into L-arginine through another metabolic process.
  • Avoid mouthwash. Sure, mouthwash can be great for getting rid of bad breath – but it’s also full of alcohol and other toxic compounds which aren’t great for your health. First and foremost, mouthwash will also kill off the bacteria that are necessary for the production of nitric oxide. If you want to freshen up your breath, consider using something like ginger.
  • Exercise more. While it’s true that nitric oxide can help improve the results of exercise, the opposite is also true – increasing exercise levels can improve the amount of nitric oxide that your body produces. Exercise increases the functioning of the endothelium, or the walls of our arteries, which are involved in the production of nitric oxide.
  • Eat healthily. Probably the easiest, safest, and most reliable thing to do would be to eat a lot of foods that increase nitric oxide. Before supplementing or taking extreme amounts of antioxidants, make sure you’re eating a healthy diet rich in foods with nitric oxide.

The best foods high in nitric oxide

Dark chocolate with cocoa powder, on a wooden chopping board

We’ve mentioned that diet is probably the best way to increase levels of nitric oxide in the body – and certainly the safest. Here are ten of the most important foods rich in nitric oxide.

  1. Beets. Beets are often regarded as one of the best nitric oxide foods. They are chock-full of dietary nitrates, which your body can use directly to create nitric oxide. Beet juice has been studied specifically for this, and the results have been incredibly impressive: less than an hour after drinking beet juice, subjects reported a 21% increase in their levels of NO.
  2. Garlic. Another one of the most popular and effective foods for boosting NO is garlic. It does this by helping to activate a certain enzyme that’s responsible for helping the body convert L-arginine into NO.
  3. Meat. While there have been tons of studies proving that red meat is terrible for your health, there’s no doubt that it can help to boost NO. This is because meat and chicken contain a lot of coenzymeQ10, which is known to help boost nitric oxide levels.
  4. Cacao. The ingredient that’s known for creating one of the world’s most popular snacks, chocolate, is also tremendously beneficial for our health. One thing that it’s great for is helping to bring about an optimal level of nitric oxide in the human body.
  5. Greens. Get your greens! Not only are they rich in nutrients, they can help you create more nitric oxide. Foods like spinach, kale, and cabbage leaves are great for boosting nitric oxide.
  6. Citrus fruits. Things like oranges and grapefruits are fantastic sources of vitamin C, a potent antioxidant vitamin that can be useful for helping to boost the absorption of nitric oxide in the human body. As an antioxidant, vitamin C will also help get rid of the free radicals that can get in the way of nitric oxide.
  7. Pomegranates. Pomegranates are another fantastic food that are filled with delicious antioxidants. These antioxidants can be useful for helping to prevent nitric oxide from getting damaged.
  8. Nuts. Nuts and seeds are fantastic sources of protein and other nutrients, and they’re also a great source of arginine. As we’ve discussed, arginine is highly important in the synthesis of nitric oxide.
  9. Watermelon is currently known to be one of the most potent sources of L-citrulline, one of the amino acids that’s known to help aid in the synthesis of nitric oxide in the human body.
  10. Red wine. While it might not be wise to slam a bottle of wine with the intention of improving your health, there’s no doubt that having a glass in the evening can help to boost the amount of nitric oxide in your body. Most of the studies have been done in test tubes, but there’s reason to believe that this should work in vivo.

Are there any foods that decrease Nitric Oxide levels?

Fortunately, there aren’t a whole lot of foods that lower nitric oxide levels.

High cholesterol can reduce nitric oxide, however, so it’s probably a good idea to avoid foods that can increase levels of bad (HDL) cholesterol. This means that you should avoid trans-fats or deep-fried foods.

Aside from that, as long as you eat a diet that provides you with nitric-oxide boosting foods, you should have no trouble producing a lot of this fantastic compound.

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