Nitric oxide is a critical compound for the circulatory and immune systems, as well as for improved performance. Find out which foods would boost your body’s nitric oxide levels.

When you take nitrate-rich foods, the body breaks them down, and nitric oxide is the end product. Nitric oxide is a significant compound in the body that helps the blood vessels constrict and dilate easily, lowering heart disease and high blood pressure. Some studies also show that it can slightly improve performance for athletes and bodybuilders, so they take nitric oxide supplements. In addition, for the body systems to communicate fast and respond to pathogenic agents, a strong immune system courtesy of nitric oxide is needed. Diet-gained nitric oxide is better than supplements, and the following foods will help boost it.

i.                    Beets

Beetroots are known for boosting heart health and for their high content of antioxidants. Besides these, beets also help boost the body’s nitric oxide levels. Incorporating beets into your salad or in warm water is a great way to enjoy it and boost nitric oxide levels. Apart from this, you can blend the beets into juice. If you decide to go for this option, be sure to avoid additives and added sugars that may pose more harm than health benefits to you.

ii.                 Spinach

We appreciate spinach for its high amounts of antioxidants, iron, and vitamin C, among other nutrients. Still, it is a great source of nitrates, with 100g serving of fresh spinach having 24-387g of nitrates. Of course, the nitrate content will differ depending on the conditions in which the vegetable grew and the prevailing conditions before its harvest.

iii.               Garlic

Although garlic might not contain much nitrate, it boosts the synthesis of nitric oxide synthase. This is an enzyme that catalyzes reactions that convert L-arginine amino acid to nitric oxide. One study showed within one hour of consuming aged garlic extract, nitric acid levels can shoot by 40%. Besides boosting nitric oxide formation, aged garlic extract also promotes the body’s ability to absorb nitric oxide. Other studies added on this by pointing that garlic also helped lower blood pressure through improved vasoconstriction with nitric oxide.

iv.               Green herbs

Are you a fan of cilantro and such spices? You are not only seasoning and flavoring your dishes but also boosting your nitric oxide levels. Cilantro has about 247mg of nitrates in a 100g pack, contributing to nitric oxide when broken down by the body. Besides, cilantro lowers LDL formation and promotes super detox and digestion.

v.                  Bok choy

It’s your time to enjoy more leafy greens and boost the body’s nitric oxide levels. Bok choy is a leafy green vegetable that boasts 100-309mg of nitrate in 100g of Bok choy vegetative matter.

vi.               Meat

If you rely solely on plant-based foods, you might be missing out on nitric oxide from meat, including beef and poultry. A typical diet consists of 3-6mg of CoQ10, with poultry making up about 65%. Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is good at preserving the body’s nitric oxide, and meat is rich in this chemical. Besides being good for nitric oxide preservation, CoQ10 will help you perform better and reduce the frequencies and severity of migraines.

vii.             Carrots

These will especially benefit fellows who love vegetables in root form. Carrots are rich sources of nitrates and have 92-195mg of nitrate in every 100g serving of fresh carrots. What’s more, carrots are versatile and can be enjoyed in multiple ways, including eating it raw or peeling it and adding it to your favorite dish.

viii.          Rhubarb

Many people enjoy oatmeal with rhubarb or rhubarb pie. How refreshing it is to know that rhubarb is, in fact, a great source of nitric oxide! By taking 100g of rhubarb, you will be taking at least 283mg of nitrates. If you find its tart taste pissing, you can season it with a spoonful of organic honey and strawberries and enjoy the taste while boosting nitric oxide levels.

ix.                Dark chocolate

A bar of dark chocolate made from pure cocoa is a great way of boosting your body’s nitric oxide levels, besides other health benefits dark chocolate boasts. Pure cocoa-based dark chocolate consists of high levels of flavanols, compounds that boost nitric oxide in the body. For instance, one study established that people who took 30g of dark chocolate had lower blood pressure readings after only 15days of eating chocolate. Dark chocolate could also help reduce the risk of heart disease and boost blood flow.

x.                  Mustard greens

Leafy greens are certainly great sources of nitric oxide, and mustard greens do not miss out on the list. If you take a 100g serving of fresh mustard greens, you will be taking 70-95mg of nitrate, which would be broken down with nitric oxide being formed as the final product. Of course, the amounts vary with the growing conditions and the prevalent conditions at the time of harvest.

xi.                Spirulina

You hardly can go wrong with spirulina as people are already adding it to smoothies, and the effect is impressive. Spirulina has an L-arginine amino acid, which in the presence of nitric oxide synthase, is converted to nitric oxide. You also benefit from its chlorophyll component, which protects cells.

xii.             Citrus

Another way of upping your nitric oxide levels fast is by taking citrus fruits, including lemon and lime. Like oranges, strawberries, and grapes, citrus fruits are great sources of vitamin C which boosts the immune system and lowers inflammation and oxidative stress. Still, they are great sources of nitric oxide, which your body really needs. Lemon and lime are two examples of citrus fruits which will help you get more nitric oxide synthesis happening in your body.


Nitric oxide is an important compound the body needs to boost the immune and circulatory systems and maximize performance. Although there are nitric oxide supplements in the market, food-based nitric oxide is the best. Read this write-up to know which foods would boost your nitric oxide levels.

MS, University of Tartu
Sleep specialist

Using the acquired academic and professional experience, I advise patients with various complaints about mental health - depressed mood, nervousness, lack of energy and interest, sleep disorders, panic attacks, obsessive thoughts and anxieties, difficulty concentrating, and stress. In my free time, I love to paint and go on long walks on the beach. One of my latest obsessions is sudoku – a wonderful activity to calm an unease mind.

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