With the never-ending information about health and wellness that’s available online, almost everyone who is into it already knows what to do, what to eat, what to avoid doing, etc.
You have heard it all before: keep a journal of what you eat in a day, track your workout progress, watch your weight, avoid too many fatty foods, and the list of pieces of advice goes on. These are all great, once followed you will have a healthy lifestyle and you may even avoid getting a heart disease. But, did you know that a little molecule is entering the scene when it comes to heart health? It’s called nitric oxide.
You have probably heard of this before. Nitric oxide is a kind of gas that dilates a human body’s arteries. Meaning, this helps in our blood flow and in reducing blood pressure. It is also a kind of antioxidant that works in relieving oxidative stress in our bodies. In addition, it also helps in reducing the threats of heart disease.
Did you know that our bodies naturally produce nitric oxide? It’s from oxygen along with an amino acid found in foods that are rich in protein such as nuts, beans, and seafood. It’s called arginine. Nitric oxide can also be manufactured in the foods we eat.
It is quite common that nitrates and nitrites are present as an additive to cured meats. Food manufacturers add those to preserve freshness, flavor, and even the color. Keep in mind that these meats are still high in saturated fat and salt. You might want to stay away from it because nitrates and nitrites are also present in fruits and vegetables!
Now here is the exciting part. 70-85% of nitrate we consume are from veggies and fruits! Who wouldn’t argue that these are the better options when it comes to diet, right? Fruits and veggies such as spinach, cauliflower, lettuce, grapes, and strawberries are just a few of the richest sources of nitrates. Yum! Then, the rest of the nitrate we all generally take is from water. How awesome is that?
Fruits and vegetables have fewer calories, more vitamins and minerals, and now a rich source of nitrates – all the more reason to consume them!