The foods with the highest nitric oxide content

Updated April 17, 2017

Nitric oxide is a compound that aids the cardiovascular system. Nitric oxide is an important factor in thinning blood, increasing blood flow and circulation in the body. Supplements are available in tablet form and are often used by bodybuilders and athletes. Nitric oxide is not explicitly found in foods but you can increase your intake of nitric oxide by eating foods high in L-arginine. L-arginine is a non-essential amino acid that triggers the production of nitric oxide.


Fish and shellfish are a healthy source of protein and contain many essential amino acids, including L-arginine. Cod, haddock, whitefish and tuna are types of fish that contain a high amount of L-arginine; between 2.5 grams and 2.6 grams per 200 calorie serving. Crustaceans, like Alaskan king crab, blue crab, lobster, crayfish and shrimp, all have more than 3 grams of L-arginine per 200 calorie serving.


Raw nuts are an invaluable source of protein for vegetarians, and nuts contain a significant amount of L-arginine. The amino acid is present in high levels in peanuts, Brazil nuts, almonds, hickory nuts, walnuts, hazelnuts, pine nuts, pecans and pistachios. All of them contain between 2 and 3 grams per 100-gram serving. Seeds like sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, cotton seeds and pumpkin seeds are also a good source of L-arginine and contain between 2 and 3 grams per 200-calorie serving.


While nitric acid is helpful in the treatment of heart disease and the L-arginine content in red meat is high, the high fat content should also be considered when increasing intake. Lean cuts of beef and lean red meats, like buffalo and goat, are good sources of L-arginine without too much fat. Low fat beef cuts contain between 2 and 2.5 grams per 200 calorie serving while buffalo and goat have 2.5 and 2.7 grams respectively. Game meat like elk, boar, deer, rabbit and bison are also low in fat and have between 2.2 and 2.8 grams of L-arginine per 200-calorie serving. Pork, cured and fresh and poultry, including chicken, duck, turkey, ostrich and eggs, are also a good source of L-arginine. Turkey tops the poultry list with 3.1 grams per 200-calorie serving, while other types of poultry and pork have between 2 and 2.8 grams of L-arginine per 200-calorie serving,

Vegetables and Beans

Although vegetables usually are not a good source of protein, spinach has a high amount of L-arginine. Raw spinach has a similar L-arginine content as shellfish, providing more than 3 grams of the amino acid per 200-calorie serving. Soy isolates in tofu and soy based products also provide between 2 and 4.1 grams of L-arginine per 200-calorie serving. Beans, like lentils and kidney beans, can reach up to 1.5 grams of L-arginine in a 100-gram serving.

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