Why Increase Nitric Oxide
Nitric oxide is a gas that is important for your blood vessel and heart health. It expands your blood vessels by making them relax and open. This helps decreases blood pressure, improve blood flow, and even improve athletic performance.
Some people take nitric oxide supplements, but that doesn’t have to be the only way to improve your NO levels. Here are ways you can increase your nitric oxide levels in your body:
Get Regular Exercise
Exercise is a great and natural way to increase your nitric oxide levels. Exercise gets your heart pumping, which increases blood flow. This creates friction against the inner lining of your blood vessel wall—also called the endothelial wall.
When this layer is stimulated, it activates the Nitric Oxide Synthase (NOS), which is an enzyme that causes the production of Nitric Oxide.
There is also evidence that bacteria in your mouth are intricately linked with this process, not just the endothelial wall. See more below!
This is a quick way to increase your nitric oxide and lower your blood pressure; getting exercise on a regular basis will help keep your blood pressure low.
Regular physical activity also keeps endothelial cells healthy (these are your inner blood vessel wall cells) because it increase your body’s natural ability to produce NO. It also increases antioxidant activity, which prevents the breakdown of nitric oxide.
Eat Nitrate-Rich Foods
These foods contain dietary nitrates:
- Chervil (aka French parsley or garden chervil)
When you consume these foods, the nitrates are changed into nitric oxide in your body. Nitric oxide that gets into your bloodstream sends a message to your blood vessels to relax and widen. This is a natural way to lower blood pressure.
Several studies show that beetroot juice is especially effective at increases NO and lowering blood pressure. If you dislike the taste of beets, or don’t have time to make juice, you can also take beetroot in a powder form. This is a consistent and simple way to get your daily nitrates. Check out Heartbeet Complete for our tasty tart cherry-flavored supplement packs.
Another study confirms that eating fruits and vegetables reduces hypertension.
However, some are afraid of getting cancer from foods that contain nitrates. Here’s why people worry, and why you don’t have to:
- Some foods contain sodium nitrates as a preservative in foods—usually processed meats like hot dogs.
- Nitrates can also form N-nitroso compounds, which can contribute to cancer.
- The good news is the vegetables that have nitrates also contain antioxidants, which prevent N-nitroso formation.
- So, stick with nitrates in vegetables and avoid sodium nitrates in processed meats.
Other foods that help boost nitric oxide levels include garlic, dark chocolate, citrus fruits, pomegranates, nuts and seeds and foods that contain CoQ10. These work to help create, protect, and preserve NO.
Limit Mouthwash Use
As it turns out, the bacteria in your mouth is linked with how your body produces nitric oxide.
One study from the University of Plymouth (England) discovered that mouthwash may not be the best thing to use after a workout. In the placebo-controlled study, the researchers found that using mouthwash after exercise keeps blood pressure levels high.
There are certain salivary glands that can absorb nitrate (a broken down form of nitric oxide). After being absorbed, the nitrate is converted into nitrite by certain mouth bacteria. Nitrite enhances nitric oxide production in the body. When nitrite in the saliva is swallowed, it is absorbed into the blood circulation and become nitric oxide.
Mouthwash can be important at times (such as preventing cavities), but consider keeping your mouthwash use to an as-needed basis, and avoid taking after exercise.
Take NO-Promoting Supplements
Your body produces an amino acid called l-arginine, but you can also get it from your diet or supplements. It is found in spinach, soybeans, lentils, peanuts, pumpkin seeds, and turkey. When l-arginine interacts with your inner blood vessel wall, it stimulates Nitric Oxide Synthase (NOS). That also happens when you exercise. The NOS converts l-arginine into NO.
Also an amino acid, L-citrulline is also used to increase nitric oxide levels. Like l-arginine it is created by your body but can also be found in food—watermelon is the most recognized food source of l-citrulline. Of course, it can also be taken as a supplement.
L-citrulline can be converted to l-arginine by the body, which completes the process explained above. Some people and some supplements combine the two amino acids for maximum effect.
At Elements of Healthcare, we have our L-arginine Plus to help you out. And Heartbeet Complete doesn’t contain just beetroot powder, but has l-arginine, l-citrulline, CoQ10, and turmeric. These are designed with one purpose in mind: to keep your heart healthy.