Nitric oxide, the essential “miracle molecule,” is composed of nitrogen and oxygen that helps our blood to flow, triggers our immune system, and supports brain function. And, that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Our bodies produce this important gaseous compound, helped along by the food we eat. This article will kickstart your nitric oxide knowledge and offer a handful of tips to maximize your body’s nitric oxide production with whole foods. Plus, we provide food lists, helpful tips, and recipes to get you started. (And when food is not enough, we've got you covered with our own nutritional recipe, Ultimate Beauty’s Nitric Oxide Booster: Rejuvenation 40+.)
Another day, another diet. At least, that’s how it can seem when we take to social media or tune into the morning show health segments. Depending on who you listen to, fat is bad—but not all fats. We're told sugar and processed foods have got to go. Gluten and dairy too. And don’t even think about eating a carb….unless it’s the healthy, complex carbs. Let’s not forget how and when you eat: Both intermittent fasting and eating in moderation can go a long way to help get you to your health goals.
If you’ve lived long enough to survive this merry-go-round of madness, then you’ve hopefully made the smart choice to ditch the diet culture and stick with what you know to be tried and true: A good mix of vegetables, fruit, protein, beans, unsaturated oils, nuts and seeds, and grains—eaten in moderation and paired with exercise, sleep, and hydration—is a great start for forming a solid meal-planning foundation.
There’s a reason why the Mediterranean Diet is still around while other fad diets have come and gone. And, it’s no surprise that the Mediterranean Diet is chock-full of foods that have the ability to produce nitric oxide.
Nitric oxide doesn’t pop up in health and wellness conversations often (but it should!). Still, if you’ve spent any time at all on this website, then you know that at Ultimate Beauty Health, we’re passionate about what this foundational and necessary “miracle molecule” can do to promote health benefits that are almost too many to mention.
In addition to what our Nitric Oxide Rejuventation and Recovery supplements can offer to increase your health and vitality, it’s important to integrate nitric oxide-friendly foods to support your overall health and wellness goals. This article will walk you through:
- What nitric oxide is and what it does
- Which foods are nitric-oxide friendly
- How you can incorporate them into your eating plan
Let’s get started.
What Is Nitric Oxide and What Does It Do?
Nitric oxide is a powerful and vital gaseous messenger molecule that plays an important role in every cell of our body. It is made up of one nitrogen molecule, and one oxygen molecule. That’s why it is abbreviated as N-O.
As we’ve already discussed, nitric oxide is not nitrous oxide, or “laughing gas,” noted as N2O (two nitrogen molecules and one oxygen molecule). It’s also not nitrogen dioxide, an air pollutant, noted as NO2 (one nitrogen molecule and two oxygen molecules).
Nitric Oxide’s main role is as a vasodilator—meaning that it signals arteries to relax and expand, allowing more blood to flow. It triggers immune cells to kill bacteria and cancer cells, reducing risk of disease. And, it helps brain cells communicate, reducing the risk of dementia.
What else can nitric oxide do? Here’s a small but mighty sampling. It can:
- Prevent high blood pressure
- Keep arteries flexible
- Lower cholesterol
- Limit swelling and pain of arthritis
- Protect bones from osteoporosis
- Encourage the production of healthy, supple skin and hair, and strong nails
- Help protect skin from sun damage
- Reduce the risk of developing dementia
- Reduce the formation of blood clots
- Prevent, slow, or reverse arterial plaque
- Reverse erectile dysfunction
- Reduce the risk of diabetes
No wonder nitric oxide is often referred to as the miracle molecule! It’s almost easier to consider what nitric oxide can’t do.
That said, all good things don’t last forever. Nitric oxide is naturally produced in the body, but as we age, our ability to produce nitric oxide diminishes. In fact, a limited capacity to produce nitric oxide is associated with heart disease, diabetes, and erectile dysfunction—all conditions that tend to manifest as our production of nitric oxide is decreasing. So, it’s important that we maximize our diet in order to boost the natural production of this important molecule.
If you’re a person of a certain age who is looking for ways to optimize your health through diet, then we already know the big question you’re asking: “Where do we find this magical substance?”
We’re glad you asked! The good news is that we actually make nitric oxide in our bodies by digesting and converting naturally occurring nitrates and nitrites in our food. The less-than-good news? It is our responsibility to select foods that help us boost our nitric oxide production. So, like most things with "adulting," the onus is on us to make sure we're adding the right foods to our diet.
Wait…But Aren’t Nitrates and Nitrites in Food Bad?
It’s important to distinguish naturally occurring nitrates and nitrites from those added as a preservative to meats, which can make nitrosamines or carcinogens. Amines from protein, in the presence of saturated fat and cooked at high temperatures, can create nitrosamines. This is why you’ve probably heard that nitrites and nitrates are dangerous. And, this is exactly why you want to limit your intake of highly processed foods including cured and smoked meats like lunch meats, hot dogs, sausage, and bacon.
So, Which Foods Help You Make Nitric Oxide?
You can find naturally nitrate- and nitrite-rich options in—no surprise—most vegetables (especially dark leafy greens), some fruits, garlic, some meat, honey, dark chocolate, and nuts and seeds. You might recognize many of these foods as “superfoods” or “heart-healthy” foods, and that’s because they also contain important vitamins and are high in polyphenol antioxidants, which also tie into nitric oxide’s primary role as a vasodilator.
Keep the below chart handy when grocery shopping and meal planning to add more nitric oxide (N-O)-friendly foods to your diet. With your pantry is stocked with these nitric oxide superfoods, we’ll explain exactly how nitric oxide production works.
How Does Nitric Oxide Work?
When we eat and chew nitric oxide-friendly foods, our oral bacteria react with saliva to convert nitrates into nitrites. In the stomach, nitrites are converted to nitric oxide, where it goes into the bloodstream to meet our body’s needs.
Leftover nitrates and nitrites that are not converted to nitric oxide can be excreted or stored in the saliva glands, or under the skin for later conversion into nitric oxide. Once nitric oxide enters the bloodstream, it starts doing all of the awesome things we’ve already mentioned.
5 Tips To Boost Nitric Oxide Production With Food
Now you should have a better understanding of what nitric oxide is and what it isn’t, what foods help produce it, and how the production process works in our bodies. Since nitric oxide isn’t something you hear about every day in healthy food/living news, we know your learning curve might be steep. Keep these 5 tips in mind to make the most of your newfound N-O knowledge. We even throw in a few delicious recipes in the next section.
Have RAW greens at every meal or at least daily. Accompany greens with a source of antioxidant-rich Vitamin C like oranges, bell peppers, and broccoli to boost nitric oxide production.
Don’t forget your polyphenols. These powerful antioxidants found in grapes, berries, red wine, and dark chocolate (65% cacao or more) and will help boost available nitric oxide.
Keep fish oil and other unsaturated oils on hand. Yep, they aid in nitric oxide production too!
Minimal cooking methods are best. Excessive cooking (including pressure cooking), boiling, or baking can lower the naturally occurring nitrates in food necessary for nitric oxide production. Aim to increase the amount of raw food intake to maximize nitric oxide availability. Hummus plates and veggie plates for days! We’re good with that.
Steer clear of food and beverages that deplete nitric oxide. It should come as no surprise that fast food is nitric oxide’s Enemy #1. Processed and fried food is known to produce a free radical called reactive oxygen species. It scavenges nitric oxide molecules and can cause cell death and damage to DNA, RNA, and proteins. Aim to sideline the “3 S’s”: salty foods, saturated fats, and sugar. And, also not a shocker, it’s best to curb consumption of alcohol, barring red wine in moderation.
From the Ultimate Beauty Health Recipe Box
Still not sure where to start? We’ve rounded up three easy, delicious, and healthy recipes featuring nitric oxide-friendly powerhouses. We promise, beets and greens never tasted so good!
[Click on below photos to access recipes.]
What About Supplements?
Whenever the subject of maximizing food intake for our health arises, it’s almost certain that the next question will be: “How can we supplement for best results?”
Just like we needed to distinguish the difference between naturally occurring and artificial nitrates and nitrites, it’s equally important to highlight how supplements can damage or aid in our quest for nitric oxide production.
Nitric Oxide for Extreme Physical Performance
For decades, high-performance athletes and bodybuilders have used nitric oxide supplements to improve performance. Remember, nitric oxide promotes vasodilation which, in turn, helps the body deliver essential nutrients to muscle cells. Nitric oxide pulls this off thanks to two effective ingredients: L-arginine and L-citrulline.
L-arginine is a key amino acid and building block for the production of nitric oxide. L-citrulline can be recycled to L-arginine to fuel muscle cells and support the body’s production of nitric oxide. However, the pathway utilizing L-arginine on its own reduces the production of nitric oxide as we age, so L-arginine is not recommended as a supplement for extreme physical performance.
Additionally, like any fad or trend, many manufacturers have jumped on the sports supplement bandwagon, so if you do choose to take nitric oxide or L-arginine sports supplements, do your research to ensure you’re choosing a brand with high quality control standards that manufactures its products in a certified lab.
Nitric Oxide for Optimum Health
In addition to a healthy diet and lifestyle choices, we offer a professional (wholesale) and consumer (retail) line of two nitric oxide supplements:
We offer licensed professionals (nurses, doctors, independent pharmacy, naturopaths, estheticians, and cosmetologists) our TruBeauty Science Nitric Oxide REJUVENATION and Nitric Oxide RECOVERY PRO, the “Collagen Activator," at wholesale to set you on the pathway to optimum health.
Consumers can purchase these products directly as UltimateBeauty REJUVENATION 40+ Nitric Oxide Booster and RECOVERY.
NITRIC OXIDE REJUVENATION/REJUVENATION 40+ is a powerful daily nutricosmetic multi that helps you feel better, younger, or more vital from the inside out. It supports healthy aging, blood flow, vitality, skin, hair, and nails.
The unique synergistic combination of natural ingredients supports the body’s ability in the absorption of essential nutrients, each targeted for a specific purpose for beauty and health. REJUVENATION/REJUVENATION 40+ also supports the body’s ability to boost nitric oxide.
Nitric Oxide RECOVERY PRO/RECOVERY with Folate as 5-MTHF is a nutricosmetic supplement designed as a bioceutical to support the activation of natural collagen from the inside out. RECOVERY PRO/RECOVERY supports healthy skin, connective tissue, post-workout and post-surgery support, bone and eye health.
Folate 5-MTHF (Vitamin B-9) is essential for collagen production. Folate occurs naturally in foods, while folic acid is the synthetic form of folate. Folate has an advantage over synthetic folic acid because 40% of women carry gene variants which limits the benefits of a synthetic, primarily due to absorption and conversion into a usable form. RECOVERY PRO/RECOVERY uses Folate 5-MTHF, the natural version of Vitamin B-9.
Ultimate Beauty Health Can Help
At Ultimate Beauty Health, we believe that true health and beauty start from the inside out. Our nutricosmetic supplements offer healthy support through a nutritional approach. It is our goal to put the truth back into beauty. Truthfully, our beauty and vitality are generated from within—and it is directly tied to nutrition and health. This is where we need to focus first.
Our NITRIC OXIDE REJUVENATION and RECOVERY PRO/RECOVERY 40+ supplements are specifically formulated to support the body’s ability to absorb essential nutrients and heighten nitric oxide levels. They are non-toxic, gluten-free, are non-GMO, and are proudly produced with Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) and in an NSF-certified laboratory.
In addition to shopping our products, we invite you to learn more about nutricosmetics, folate and collagen, the science of nitric oxide, and how it works. Read up on our clean ingredients and follow us on our blog. You can also contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’re here to help and bring you health and vitality from the inside out!