There is a reason Nitric oxide has become so popular in the supplement industry. There are many positive benefits of increasing nitric oxide production such as increasing erection quality, muscle performance and reducing blood pressure. But obviously the most healthy and natural way to increase nitric oxide production is by consuming foods rich in nitrates, arginine and citrulline.
In this discussion, we will look at 10 best foods that increase nitric oxide production. But first, we need to learn about nitric oxide and its functions.
What Is Nitric Oxide?
Nitric oxide is an important molecule that works as a chemical messenger in the body. It is essential for life and supports many functions like relaxing and dilating blood vessels. Relaxation and dilation of blood vessels is probably the most outstanding role that affects many other functions including circulatory health, supply of oxygen and various nutrients to the body. It also helps improve sexual health because blood flows more easily into the penis.
Nitric oxide is produced in the endothelium (cells lining the inner surface of blood vessels). It is also produced within the brain and in white blood cells.
Functions of Nitric Oxide
Nitric oxide is a critical factor in overall health, and sexual health in particular. When your body produces enough NO, you get lower blood pressure, better erections, lower risk of heart disease and stroke. However, in the absence of adequate nitric oxide, a man will suffer from erectile dysfunction (ED) such that he cannot sexually function properly. Low nitric oxide production also leads to a higher risk of hypertension, heart attacks, stroke, and diabetes among others.
In case your body produces low nitric oxide, you risk suffering from ED and other conditions associated with low NO. And while there are drugs to help with ED, and the other conditions, it is also possible, and healthier to use natural remedies. For instance, a diet that includes nitrate-rich foods has a similar effect to ED drugs such as Viagra. Both support dilation of blood vessels so that more blood gets into the penis. This leads to a harder and longer-lasting erection. However, Viagra can cause serious side effects including heart attacks. On the other hand, foods that increase production of NO also help improve or prevent development of various cardiovascular diseases.
Foods That Increase Nitric Oxide Production in the Body
There are two nitric oxide production pathways:
- Nitrate – nitrite – nitric oxide pathway
When you eat nitrate-rich food, the nitrates change into nitrites and subsequently to nitric oxide. Chewing and rolling the food in the mouth mixes it with good bacteria on the tongue. This changes the nitrates into nitrites. After swallowing, the nitrites are changed into nitric oxide by the action of stomach acid.
- Citrulline – arginine – nitric oxide – citrulline pathway
When you eat citrulline-rich food, the citrulline is synthesized into arginine, a precursor to nitric oxide. Arginine is then synthesized into nitric oxide and citrulline and the cycle continues.
While many foods contain some nitrates and citrulline, studies have found that some foods are very rich in the nitric oxide increasing ingredients. Following are 10 best foods that increase nitric oxide production:
10 Best Foods That Increase Nitric Oxide
1. Arugula (Rocket)
Arugula is the richest plant source of nitrates. It contains 480 mg of nitrates in 100 grams of the vegetable. Eating it regularly will help your body increase production of nitric oxide. Arugula also contains vitamins A, C, K, folic acid, thiamin, B6 and pantothenic acid, beside minerals like copper, iron, calcium, zinc and magnesium.
Rhubarb is a rich source of nitrates, calcium, and vitamin C. Eating 100 grams of rhubarb will provide you with 247 mg of nitrates.
Garlic is a known sexual health aid and one of the most beneficial herbs. It works by supporting the synthesis of nitric oxide synthase (NOS). Garlic also contains allicin, one of the most beneficial high blood pressure remedies, this will allow for greater blood throughout the body.
Another amazing benefit of garlic is that it contains the chemical diallyl disulfide, which stimulates the body to release a hormone that spurs the production of testosterone.
4. Dark chocolate
Dark chocolate is known to support heart health. It also helps increase production of nitric oxide. It is worth noting that dark chocolate refers to the unprocessed cocoa and not the popular chocolate bars. Processed chocolate contains sugar and other ingredients, and is low in nitrates.
Watermelon contains citrulline, an amino acid that changes to Arginine which is a nitric oxide precursor. Not many foods contain a large amount of citrulline, that’s why it has become very popular in supplementation form.
Swiss chard contains 151 mg of nitrates per 100 grams. It is also a rich source of vitamin A and vitamin C, providing 44 percent and 18 percent RDA per serving, respectively.
7. Beet roots
Beet roots are a rich source of nitrates. The root can be consumed in salads and in the form of juice. Beet greens also contain nitrates and can be eaten in salads for maximum nitrate content. Drinking 100 grams of pure beet juice provides you with 279 mg of nitrates. Beets also contain vitamins A, C, several B vitamins, and minerals like manganese, magnesium, iron, potassium and zinc. Beet roots are known to be one of the most reliable nitric oxide boosting foods and is now very popular in supplementation form.
This delicious fruit boosts nitric oxide and is a tremendous anti-inflammatory. It also reduces oxidative stress, a leading factor in the production of coronary artery disease. Polyphenols in the pomegranate assist in converting dietary nitrite to nitric oxide. These same polyphenols block nitric oxide from converting back to nitrite. To find out more about this amazing fruit check out this post (6 benefits of pomegranate juice for men – Increasing libido with pomegranate Juice).
Celery contains as much as 250 mg in 100 grams. However, this can differ depending on where it is grown and the fertilizers used. Try some celery and orange juice to kick start your libido.
Shrimp is a rich animal source of L-arginine, an amino acid that is a precursor of nitric oxide. L-arginine is synthesized into nitric oxide. Eating shrimp regularly helps increase nitric oxide production.
NO helps to maintain good blood circulation which is critical for overall good health and sexual health in particular. Inadequate production of nitric oxide leads to various cardiovascular problems and is one cause of erectile dysfunction. The good news is that some foods boost the production of nitric oxide. It is worth to note that besides increasing production of nitric oxide, eating a wide variety of these foods supplies your body with vitamins, and minerals, in addition to their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
If you don’t mind taking supplements have a read of this article (10 best Supplements That Increase Nitric Oxide Production).