Veggies are more important than ever. Mom was right. Eat your veggies. Now we know that the right ones can boost a crucial molecule that impacts everything that has to do with cardiovascular health and circulation. This little baby is nitric oxide. Life is no good without it.
The Nitric Oxide Diet
People are onto this one in a big way. All the books and blogs about it make things a lot more complicated than necessary, though. Even the supplement industry has weighed in, mostly for bodybuilders. Popular products like ‘Nitrox’ give you an idea of how big a business the little molecule of nitric oxide can be.
Let’s just keep everything as simple as possible. Nitric oxide is one of those little gems that makes the inside of your vascular tissue work right. When you produce enough of it, your body restores and maintains healthy…
- Blood pressure
- Cardiovascular health
- Brain health
- Sexual enjoyment
And that is just the short list.
Nitric oxide is so important for heart patients that many of them carry around an emergency dose of nitroglycerin in case of chest pain. Nitroglycerin gives an almost instantaneous boost to nitric oxide to get circulation back on track.
Nitroglycerin is not a standard strategy for most people. Instead, we have to eat right and live right to keep our levels of nitric oxide consistently high enough to stay healthy.
Now How About Those Veggies?
It turns out that nitric oxide is made from nitrates in our diet. Yup, those supposedly nasty food additives that we often think about as evil. Nevertheless, certain fresh veggies provide nitrates in abundance, without additives. The top one is, get ready for this one:
Yup, fresh beets. NOT pickled beets (yech!). Fresh beets are so valuable for boosting nitric oxide that Olympic athletes have taken to drinking beet juice for better performance. Research scientists have even shown that it really works.
For us normal folks, fresh beets are the best source of dietary nitrates. You may have a little trouble finding them in big supermarkets, though. They aren’t as popular as they once were. I have to go to my local health food store to find them.
A few things about beets, or veggies in general, are important to consider for getting the optimum benefits from them. One is, obviously, how your prepare them. Overcooking is not usually an issue unless you are boiling your veggies. The goodies simply get extracted out into the water. Steaming is better.
In my experience, root veggies like beets are best baked, like a baked potato. Baked beets are super easy to peel once they are cooked. And they are really delicious with just a little butter and salt. Simple. A large whole beet is a great side dish to any meal.
Another VERY important consideration is eating slowly. Of course, whatever reasons that you already know for eating slowly apply. However, regarding dietary nitrates, you have enzymes in your saliva that get the conversion to nitric acid going. Eat your beets especially slowly and chew them especially thoroughly to take advantage of those enzymes. The production of nitric oxide is minimal or nonexistent once you swallow your food.
Beet Lozenges Anyone
Now that we know about the importance of those enzymes, wouldn’t it be great to have something like beet lozenges? After all, can you even eat beets every day without burning out on them?
The reason that I bring this up isn’t because I had the bright idea to make beet lozenges. It is because I keep getting ads in the mail for a supplement that is exactly that. I won’t go into the details. You can find out all about it by searching for ‘Neo40’ online or by going to the company website at neogenis.com. Lots of good research seems to back up this supplement, and the scientist behind it is at the top of his field. Right now it seems a bit pricey though, so my personal preference is going to be eating beets and other nitrate-containing veggies for the time-being.
Oh, before I end this post, let me point out what those other veggies are. Generally, they are just about any green leafy vegetables. Other sources include my favorite, cacao. Yup, the health benefits of letting a chunk of dark chocolate melt in your mouth just get better and better!
Your nitric oxide and veggies advocate,