Changing your diet is one of the best and most effective ways to naturally increase the levels of this important molecule.
Nitric oxide is a vital molecule produced in your body that affects many aspects of health.
It helps blood vessels dilate to promote proper blood flow and may provide several health benefits, including better exercise performance, lower blood pressure, and better brain function.
Here are the top 10 foods to increase your nitric oxide levels
1. Beets (Betabel)
Beets are rich in nitrates, which your body can convert to nitric oxide.
According to a study in 38 adults, consuming a beet juice supplement increased nitric oxide levels by 21% after just 45 minutes.
Similarly, another study showed that drinking 3.4 ounces (100 ml) of beet juice significantly increased nitric oxide levels in both men and women.
Thanks to its rich nitrate content, beets have been linked to a number of health benefits, including improved cognitive function, better athletic performance, and lower blood pressure levels.
Beets are high in nitrates, which can significantly increase nitric oxide levels in your body.
Garlic can increase nitric oxide levels by activating nitric oxide synthase, the enzyme that helps in the conversion of nitric oxide to the amino acid L-arginine.
An animal study showed that aged garlic extract temporarily increased nitric oxide levels in the blood by up to 40% within one hour of consumption.
Another test-tube study found that aged garlic extract also helped maximize the amount of nitric oxide the body can absorb.
Both human and animal studies indicate that garlic’s ability to increase nitric oxide levels may have a beneficial effect on health and may help lower blood pressure and improve exercise tolerance.
Garlic can improve the bioavailability of nitric oxide and can increase levels of nitric oxide synthase, the enzyme that converts L-arginine to nitric oxide.
Meat, poultry, and seafood are excellent sources of Coenzyme Q10 or CoQ10, an important compound that is believed to help conserve nitric oxide in the body.
In fact, the average diet is estimated to contain between 3 and 6 mg of CoQ10, with meat and poultry supplying approximately 64% of the total intake.
Organ meats, fatty fish, and muscle meats such as beef, chicken, and pork contain the highest concentration of CoQ10.
Studies show that getting enough CoQ10 in your diet not only preserves nitric oxide but can also help improve athletic performance, prevent migraines, and promote heart health.
Meat, poultry, and seafood are rich in CoQ10, a key compound that helps conserve nitric oxide in your body.
4. Dark chocolate
Dark chocolate is packed with flavanols, natural compounds that boast an extensive list of powerful health benefits.
In particular, research shows that the flavanols found in cocoa can help establish optimal levels of nitric oxide in your body to promote heart health and protect cells against oxidative damage.
A 15-day study in 16 people showed that consuming 30 grams of dark chocolate per day led to significant increases in nitric oxide levels in the blood.
Additionally, the participants experienced decreases in systolic and diastolic blood pressure levels, the top and bottom number of the blood pressure reading.
Due to its rich content of flavanols that increase nitric oxide, dark chocolate has also been associated with better blood flow, better brain function, and a lower risk of heart disease.
Dark chocolate is high in cocoa flavanols, which increase nitric oxide levels to promote heart health and prevent cell damage.
5. Green leafy vegetables
Leafy greens like spinach, arugula, kale, and cabbage are full of nitrates, which are converted to nitric oxide in your body.
According to one review, regular consumption of nitrate-rich foods like green leafy vegetables can help maintain sufficient levels of nitric oxide in the blood and tissues.
One study even showed that eating a nitrate-rich meal containing spinach increased salivary nitrate levels eightfold and significantly lowered systolic blood pressure (the highest number).
Other research has found that consuming green leafy vegetables that are high in nitrates may also be associated with a reduced risk of heart disease and cognitive decline.
Green leafy vegetables are high in dietary nitrates, which can be converted to nitric oxide and can help maintain proper blood and tissue levels.
6. Citrus fruits
Citrus fruits such as oranges, lemons, limes, and grapefruits are excellent sources of vitamin C, an important water-soluble vitamin that plays a central role in health.
Vitamin C can improve nitric oxide levels by increasing its bioavailability and maximizing its absorption in the body.
Research shows that it can also increase levels of nitric oxide synthase, the enzyme necessary for the production of nitric oxide.
Studies indicate that citrus consumption may be linked to lower blood pressure, better brain function, and a lower risk of heart disease, all of which may be due in part to its ability to increase nitric oxide levels.
Citrus fruits are rich in vitamin C, which can improve the bioavailability of nitric oxide and increase nitric oxide synthase levels.
Pomegranate is loaded with powerful antioxidants that can protect your cells from damage and preserve nitric oxide.
A test-tube study showed that pomegranate juice was effective in protecting nitric oxide from oxidative damage while increasing its activity.
Another animal study found that both pomegranate juice and pomegranate fruit extract were able to increase nitric oxide synthase levels and increase the concentration of nitrates in the blood.
Human and animal studies have found that antioxidant-rich pomegranate can improve blood flow, which can be especially beneficial for treating conditions like high blood pressure and erectile dysfunction.
Pomegranate can help protect nitric oxide from damage, enhance nitric oxide activity, and increase nitric oxide synthesis levels.
8. Nuts and seeds
Nuts and seeds are high in arginine, a type of amino acid that is involved in the production of nitric oxide.
Some research suggests that including arginine from foods like nuts and seeds in your diet can help increase nitric oxide levels in your body.
For example, a study in 2,771 people showed that higher intake of foods rich in arginine was associated with higher levels of nitric oxide in the blood.
Another small study found that arginine supplementation increased nitric oxide levels after just two weeks.
Thanks to their arginine content and stellar nutrient profile, regular consumption of nuts and seeds has been associated with lower blood pressure, better cognitive ability, and increased stamina.
Nuts and seeds are high in arginine, an amino acid necessary for the production of nitric oxide.
Watermelon is one of the best sources of citrulline, an amino acid that is converted to arginine and ultimately nitric oxide in your body.
A small study found that citrulline supplements helped stimulate nitric oxide synthesis after just a few hours, but they noted that it may take longer to see positive health effects.
Meanwhile, another study in eight men showed that drinking 10 ounces (300 ml) of watermelon juice for two weeks led to significant improvements in nitric oxide bioavailability.
Recent research suggests that increasing your watermelon consumption not only improves nitric oxide levels but can also improve exercise performance, lower blood pressure, and increase blood flow.
Watermelon is high in citrulline, which is converted to arginine and then used in the production of nitric oxide.
10. Red wine
Red wine contains many powerful antioxidants and has been linked to a multitude of health benefits.
Interestingly, some studies have found that drinking red wine could also increase nitric oxide levels.
A test-tube study showed that treating cells with red wine increased levels of nitric oxide synthase, an enzyme involved in the production of nitric oxide.
Another test-tube study had similar findings, reporting that certain compounds found in red wine increased nitric oxide synthase and increased nitric oxide release from cells lining blood vessels.
For this reason, it is not surprising that moderate consumption of red wine has been shown to lower blood pressure and improve heart health.
Red wine can increase nitric oxide synthase levels, which can help improve nitric oxide levels.
The bottom line
- Nitric oxide is a crucial compound involved in many aspects of health, including blood pressure regulation, athletic performance, and brain function.
- Making a few simple changes to your diet can be an easy and effective way to increase your nitric oxide levels naturally.
- Eating plenty of fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and healthy protein foods can optimize nitric oxide levels while promoting better overall health in the process.