Nitric oxide is one of the most important substances in the body. It’s important for helping to improve blood flow, lowering blood pressure and helps to ensure that blood, oxygen, and nutrients are able to reach all of the different parts of our body (yes, even your penis guys).
This is tremendously important for anyone who is hoping to maintain their overall health, improve their post workout recovery 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.
Before we dive in and learn about foods rich in nitric oxide, you probably want to know why improving your NO levels even matters in the first place.
Nitric oxide is a vital molecule that your body produces. Your body uses it in a number of different bodily processes, one of the most important being the way that it helps the blood vessels dilate. Simply put this means that Nitric Oxide (NO) opens up your blood vessels improving blood flow and reducing blood pressure.
So what’s so great about dilating your blood vessels anyway:
1 – Work out harder, for longer. Several studies have shown that you may be able to exercise better, with increased NO levels. An increase in Nitric Oxide and more dilated blood vessels means more blood and oxygen get to your muscle tissues, making it easier for them to do their job.
The result. Increased endurance and physical performance. This is why nitric oxide supplements that contain the amino acids L-arginine and L-citrulline are so popular, they boost NO production and physical performance. It’s not just proven in animal studies either – it’s been proven with athletes everyone from cyclists to kayakers have shown improvements in performance time and time again.
2 – Prevent muscle soreness. I’m sure most of us have been there, you’ve worked hard at the gym and the next day you can barely move. This soreness is called delayed-onset muscle soreness and it’s a natural, but possible the worst, part of working out.
Improving your nitric oxide levels has been shown to help reduce the intensity of muscle soreness. Whilst study results have varied its thought that by opening up your blood vessels it’s easier for your body to deliver nutrients vital to recovery whilst also removing the waste products of physical activity that give you those aches and pains such as lactate and ammonia.
3 – Lower your blood pressure. Go for your annual checkup and get fed up of listening to your doctor remind you that you have high blood pressure? Well improving nitric oxide levels will lower blood pressure.
This is a bit of a no-brainer: high blood pressure is caused in part by the narrowing of blood vessels, so opening up these blood vessels will reduce your blood pressure. Healthy blood pressure reduces your risk of future health problems including heart attacks, stroke and kidney disease. Heart health matters guys!
4 – It might just make you a little bit smarter. Improving blood flow can help your brain too and improve your mental performance. By increasing blood flow to your brain, you provide more oxygen and energy to fuel your brain.
This can help improve your concentration, prevent forgetfulness and potentially even help improve dementia symptoms. Your brain uses over 25% of the oxygen your body takes in, improving blood flow with NO can have some quite remarkable benefits.
5 – It makes it easier to get an erection – improving your sex life. Some guys aren’t so lucky and don’t get an erection merely when ever there’s a stiff breeze. Men who struggle with getting an erection are struggling because of blood flow. They simply aren’t getting enough blood into their penis.
There have been several studies that show supplementation with L-citrulline boosts your own natural nitric oxide production. This in turn improves blood flow and makes it easier to get an erection. Whilst its not as effective as popping a Viagra its a much more natural way to improve your sex life. Boosting your NO levels relaxes muscles in the penis allowing chambers in the penis to fill with blood for super stiff erections.
6 – Nitric oxide may even help people manage type 2 diabetes. Studies have shown that people with diabetes often have a difficult time producing their own nitric oxide, which leads to poor blood vessel health. This causes further problems associated with diabetes, such as high blood pressure, heart disease and kidney problems.
At this point there isn’t enough research to be conclusive as research has either been animal studies or relatively small groups of diabetes patients. We recommend if you’re concerned about diabetes you seek the advice of a healthcare professional rather than relying solely on supplements.
So you get it now. Improving blood flow has some huge health benefits. Supplements let you achieve that goal by boosting the nitric oxide levels in the body – not bad for something that you can boost by simply improving your diet.
There are a fair few ways that you can increase nitric oxide levels. 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:
Something you might not expect is that you should avoid mouthwash. Sure no one wants to have bad breath – but if you mouthwash is full of alcohol and other toxic compounds it can really hurt nitric oxide production.
Mouthwash actually kills off the bacteria in your body that are necessary for the production of nitric oxide. Consider other alternatives when you want to freshen up your breath, you can always use something more natural like ginger or use a more natural alcohol free mouthwash.
Yeah nitric oxide can help improve the results of exercise but don’t forget the opposite is also true – increasing exercise levels improves the amount of nitric oxide that your body produces. Lets get sciency for a second. Exercise increases the functioning of the endothelium, the walls of our arteries to us common folk, which are involved in the production of nitric oxide.
Finally the no brainer – eat healthily. Probably the easiest, safest, and most reliable thing to do would be to eat a lot of foods that help 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 such as leafy greens and citrus fruits.
Lets take a look in some more depth at some foods to introduce to your diet to improve your levels of nitric oxide.
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
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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 NO and see all the benefits it brings.
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