Beneficial Nitrates in Beets!

Dark in color, rich in nutrients, beets are a true superfood. In addition to folate, vitamin B6, vitamin C, magnesium, potassium, coper, iron, and fiber, beets are one of the best dietary sources of naturally-occurring nitrates. The body converts these nitrates into nitric oxide, which relax and dilate blood vessels and allow more oxygen to flow through the body to the heart, the brain, and the muscles.

All vegetables contain some nitrates, but the average-sized beet contains 20 times more dietary nitrates than most others, making it a top veggie for producing nitric oxide.

Now that you know how nitric oxide works, here are three reasons to boost nitric oxide in the body:

#1: Nitric oxide supports exercise stamina and endurance due to your muscles receiving more oxygen and nutrients when your veins are dilated and circulation is enhanced.

#2: If your body is sufficient in nitric oxide, it enhances blood flow to the brain and functions as a secondary neurotransmitter between nerve cells.

#3: Nitric oxide is great for supporting healthy blood pressure as it relaxes arterial walls, dilates the vessels, and maintains normal blood flow.

--One study found that participants who ingested 500 ml of beetroot juice saw a significant reduction in blood pressure three hours after they ingested the juice.--

Fortunately nitric oxide-containing foods are easy to find and relatively inexpensive. Besides beets, other great foods high in nitric oxide include: Spinach, beets, celery, arugula lettuce, iceberg lettuce, carrots, parsley, cabbage, radishes and collard greens.

What are you waiting for, head to the store to buy some beets!

In Health and Happiness,

Kelly Harrington, MS, RDN

Registered Dietitian Nutritionist for Healthy Goods

 

References
1. Archer DL. Evidence that ingested nitrate and nitrite are beneficial to health. J Food Prot. 2002 May;65(5): 872-5. 

2. Liu V, Huang P.  Cardiovasculur roles of nitric oxide: A review of insights from nitric oxide synthase gene disrupted mice. Cardiovascular Research 2008 Jan.  

3. Cannon RO. Role of nitric oxide in cardiovascular disease: focus on the endothelium. Clinical Chemistry. 1998 August;44(8):1809-1819.

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