Nitric oxide is a molecule that’s produced naturally by your body, and it’s important for many aspects of your health.
Its most important function is vasodilation, meaning it relaxes the inner muscles of the blood vessels, causing them to widen and increase circulation.
Nitric oxide production is essential for overall health because it allows blood, nutrients and oxygen to travel to every part of your body effectively and efficiently.
In fact, a limited capacity to produce nitric oxide is associated with heart disease, diabetes and erectile dysfunction.
Fortunately, there are many ways to maintain optimal levels of nitric oxide in your body.
Here are the top 5 ways to increase nitric oxide naturally nitric oxide supplements.
When these foods are consumed, nitrates are converted into nitric oxide, which confers a wide range of health benefits related to heart health and exercise performance.
In fact, several analyses have shown that eating nitrate-rich vegetables can lower blood pressure as much as some blood pressure medications (2Trusted Source, 3Trusted Source, 4Trusted Source, 5Trusted Source).
Strong evidence favors nitrates, especially from beetroot, for improving exercise performance in athletes (6Trusted Source, 7Trusted Source, 8, 9Trusted Source).
Despite the effects that nitrates have on nitric oxide production in your body, some people avoid them for fear they are harmful and contribute to cancer.
This is likely because sodium nitrates are commonly used as a preservative and color fixative in bacon, cold cuts and hot dogs.
Eating these foods is linked to bowel cancer, and nitrates are thought to be the culprit (10Trusted Source, 11Trusted Source).
Nitrates can form N-nitroso compounds, such as nitrosamine, which are capable of causing cancer.
However, vegetables, which account for more than 80 percent of nitrate intake, contain antioxidants like vitamin C, which help prevent the formation of N-nitroso compounds (12Trusted Source).