Nitrate supplementation in conjunction with Sprint Interval Training in low oxygen conditions could enhance sport performance a study has found. Foods high in nitrates are an essential part of a healthy diet that increase nitric oxide within your body.
Nitrate is a chemical that can react to a number of different substances in a range of ways. For example, it can be used as a fertiliser or as the active ingredient in a bomb. Some nitrates are used as medication for angina, as they dilate the blood vessels.Nitrate is mostly found in diets rich in leafy green foods, like spinach and is important for the functioning of the human body, especially during exercising. performing intense workouts requires high input of fast-oxidative muscle fibers to sustain the power. Enhancing these muscle fiber types through nutritional intake can very well boost the performance in this type of events.
Nitrate is converted to nitrite in your body almost immediately by bacteria on your tongue. As long as the nitrite is not converted to large amounts of harmful nitrosamines in your stomach, nitrite eventually becomes nitric oxide in your blood, which can relax your blood vessels. According to “Functional Biochemistry in Health and Disease,” studies done on nitrate-rich vegetables such as lettuce and beets have found that when nitric oxide is highest in the bloodstream, blood pressure is at its lowest. Vegetables like spinach, arugula, beet, and celery are identified as rich sources. Carrot and other root vegetables are also fairly high. However, boiling nitrate-rich vegetables will cause loss of nitrates due to leaching.
Top 10 Foods High in Ntrates
- Dark Cocoa: Several studies have documented that cocoa, especially the raw kind, increases nitric oxide production and lowers blood pressure.
- Beets: The thing that really makes beets so amazing is the fact that it is one of those foods that has highest nitrate count in all of plants, and at the same time beets are capable to lower your estrogen levels by acting as a methylate
- Pomegranate: The best food for nitric oxide production and testosterone levels, would be pomegranate. Pomegranate has been performing well, it has been researched for, producing effects such as reducing arterial plaque thickness by 30% and increasing testosterone levels by 22% in peer reviewed studies.
- Pistachios: Like almost all nuts, pistachios are also packed with L-Arginine, a precursor of nitric oxide that is known for its ability to increase nitric oxide production significantly.
- Spinach: Spinach is known to have one of the highest nitrate contents of all plants, which means that it’s a pretty awesome food to eat if you are looking to increase nitric oxide production. Read about nitrates in foods and how those convert into nitric oxide
- Onions: They have been shown to increase nitric oxide production in 2 different studies. They are also a very good source of vitamin C, which protects your nitric oxide molecule from free radicals. Onions also contain a compound called Quercetin, explained briefly here. Quercetin is well known for its ability to boost nitric oxide levels.
- Kale: A very good source of co-enzyme Q10 that boosts nitric oxide. Kale also has very high nitrate content, which makes it very good nitric oxide booster. There are also many other health benefits linked to kale, such as increased testosterone levels and improved arterial health.
- Cayenne Pepper: contains high amount of capsaicin, the compound that makes all chili’s hot. One study noted that capsaicin has a dose dependent effect, meaning that more the subjects consumed capsaicin, the more their nitric oxide levels increased and arteries relaxed.
- Walnuts: It has been recently studied and proved that walnuts increase nitric oxide production and also lower blood pressure, significantly. This is probably due to the high amounts of L-Arginine found in walnuts, which has been linked to an increase in nitric oxide production.
- Cranberries: There are countless of health benefits that link back to cranberries. Possibly one of the less known ones is the fact that cranberries increase nitric oxide production, while lowering blood pressure significantly at the same time. This was found out by a study conducted back in the year 2000.
Nitrites found in animal products for example, are harmful. When animal fat is present, nitrites convert to nitrosamines. In infants (who should be drinking breast milk anyway), they should not have high nitrate vegetables because they lack full capabilities of the enzyme to convert methemoglobin to hemoglobin.