Nitric oxide plays a significant role by increasing blood flow throughout the body. The foods that are known as nitric oxide foods do not directly contain nitric oxide. Some compounds that are contains in these foods are the source of nitric oxide. These compounds are converted into nitric oxide by the enzymatic reaction in the body. These compounds are some amino acids (such as Arginine), nitrate, some vitamins etc.
Nitrates containing foods
There are many vegetables that provide nitrates in the body; therefore they are called nitric oxide foods. Nitrates containing vegetables are beets, dark green leaves, Kale, lettuce, arugula, celery, spinach, watercress, broccoli, cabbage, garlic and chervil. In recent research suggested that vegetables are the best source for nitric oxide especially beets and dark green leaves. The beets can be found as sliced, juice.
Some foods also provide nitrates in the body such as melons, Strawberries, Blueberries, bananas, raspberries, cherries, Grapes, prunes and figs. Among them melons and strawberries are produced most nitric oxide. Grape seed extract is excellent for rising nitric oxide intensity.
In addition processed meats also provide a small amount of nitrates. But these processed meats may have a negative effect; when heated, this type of nitrates in these meats may convert into cancer-causing compound nitrosamines by the reaction with amines. Hence this type of nitrates should be avoided.
Arginine containing foods
Arginine is an amino acid that are the great sources of nitric oxide. The foods that contain arginine are shrimp, red meat, spinach, sesame seeds, crab, poultry, fish, Brazil nuts and dairy products.
Citrulline containing foods
L-Citrulline is another amino acid that is the source of nitric oxide. It will be converted into L-arginine by the kidneys. Then, L-Arginine will convert into nitric oxide by the actions of the enzyme. The L- Citrulline containing foods are watermelons.
Vitamin containing nitric oxide foods
Some vitamins such as vitamin C, vitamin E, and niacin (vitamin B3) help to increase the nitric oxide levels; hence these vitamins containing foods also known as nitric oxide foods. Vitamin C containing foods are Oranges, mangos, kiwi, strawberries, peas, and broccoli. On the other hand, the best sources of vitamin E containing foods are Corn, olive, sunflower oils, Brussels sprouts, Mangoes, Tomatoes, Avocados Mackerel, Salmon, Nuts, Soft margarine, Watercress.
Others compounds that increases the nitric oxide levels are quercetin, Pycnogenol, coenzyme CQ10. In various studies it is shown that Quercetin (found in Garlic) is a flavonoids, which is connected to increase NO levels. But it does not work alone; it works extremely well with any other bioflavonoids compounds, such as resveratrol, procyanidin, tannins, tea catechins, and genistein. Onions, garlic, chives, apples, grapes, and red wine are highest sources of quercetin. The sources of coenzyme CQ10 containing foods are salmon, egg yolks, Brazil nuts, spinach, and animal organs.