Foods that produce nitric oxide

Written by andrew cross
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Foods that produce nitric oxide
Legumes are a source of nitric oxide. (Todd Warnock/Lifesize/Getty Images)

Nitric oxide is a gas naturally produced in the body. Its function is to convey information between cells by transmitting signals. Some of its main jobs include increasing blood flow, regulating blood pressure and assisting nerve cells in the brain. It is essential for healthy circulation. Studies have shown that taking nitric oxide supplements can be valuable in enhancing sports performance abilities. Supplements are also commonly given to patients with heart problems, though nitric oxide is also found naturally in different foods.

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Root Vegetables

The majority of nitric oxide people consume --- between 70 per cent and 85 per cent --- comes from raw fruits and vegetables. The amount of this gas in the body determines how healthy and balanced a diet really is. Some of the richest sources include celery, cauliflower, lettuce, parsley and spinach. Vegetables containing lower levels include artichokes, asparagus, eggplants, potatoes, green beans, pumpkins, broccoli and carrots.

Fresh Fruits

Fruits are one of the go-to foods when looking for a big dose of Vitamin C. Anything rich in antioxidants, such as Vitamins C, D and E, will usually have abilities to improve nitric oxide levels. These high levels of nitrate are valuable for individuals who work out frequently because of the blood cell relaxation, providing your muscles a natural boost. Strawberries, oranges, grapes and especially watermelon are a few that generate a very high capacity of nitrate.

Foods Containing L-arginine

L-arginine is an amino acid that helps produce nitric oxide when entering the blood vessel lining. Therefore, as the amount of L-arginine increases, so does the amount of nitric oxide and the level of relaxation in your blood vessels. Food sources of this amino acid are mainly ones rich in protein. Peanuts, walnuts, coconut, milk products, melons, soy and red meats are a few examples. In order to ensure the maximum intake of L-arginine, specialists suggest eating raw leafy vegetables instead of cooked.

Functional Foods

Lean red meats, fish, nuts, olive oil and beans contain small amounts of nitric oxide. Although these food groups do not contain as much nitric oxide as fresh fruits and root vegetables, they do provide other health benefits, including high levels of protein.

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