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Nitric Oxide to Lower Blood Pressure

Nitric Oxide...sounds explosive, but it can help with blood pressure, too!

Whenever I think of nitric oxide, for some reason, I think it sounds like a substance that's going to blow up, make a car go really fast, or make me laugh silly at the dentist (nope, it's none of those). Fortunately, nitric oxide is a substance produced naturally in the human body and can help lower blood pressure. It works by relaxing the blood vessels allowing more flexibility of the vessels.

Nitric oxide can be produced in the body from foods containing nitrates. Some of these foods are beets, spinach, celery, arugula, kale, lettuce, chard, and cabbage. The nitrates found naturally in vegetables are not to be confused with nitrates used as preservatives. Nitrates from vegetables are considered safe. The super food of these vegetables is beets (and beet juice). I'm also happy to share that real dark chocolate (more than 70% cocoa solids) can help support the production of nitric oxide because of the high flavanol content. Overall, a diet rich in antioxidants (think lots of fruits, vegetables, green tea, nuts/seeds) helps support the production of nitric oxide.

Another surprising fact is that bacteria in your mouth can help promote nitric oxide production, but using mouth wash can kill these good bacteria and reduce the production of nitric oxide! Mouthwash is linked to the risk of high blood pressure and diabetes. If you use mouthwash daily, I'd consider reducing your use or even stopping it entirely.

Another way to increase nitric oxide production is through regular exercise. Also, don't smoke (easier said than done, I know).

Lastly, see the link below to an interesting article about nitric oxide and humming (yes, I said humming).

Happy eating.


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