You certainly can boost nitric oxide with your frozen smoothies!
But first, what is nitric oxide (NO) and why would you want to boost it?
As an athlete’s best friend, nitric oxide is a compound that causes vasodilation.
In English that means it increases the diameter of blood vessels to allow nutrients and oxygen to travel around your body faster to their desired location, improving exercise performance and recovery.
This isn’t just for athletes though, it has also been dubbed the fountain of youth molecule, for its ability to help reduce inflammation, lower blood pressure, improve sleep quality and assist memory!
The popular drug Viagra actually works by increasing nitric oxide levels (but we’re not saying that your smoothie will have the exact same effect though!).
Now that we know this, let’s see how we can help to increase your NO levels.
Due to the increased demands for our muscles from exercise, the arteries release NO into the blood to enhance nutrient and oxygen delivery.
What does this have to do with smoothies though?
Well, this system can deteriorate with age due to free radical damage (aka oxidation) to our veins and arteries.
This is where antioxidant rich smoothies come in to play and can help you out.
On top of antioxidants, what else from our diet can increase NO?
Foods high in nitrates would be your first choice.
These nitrates need to come in contact with your tongue bacteria (yes, we have bacteria there), converted to nitritines and then swallowed, where the gut converts it into NO.
NO is made from the amino acids citrulline and arginine, so ensuring ample levels of these is crucial.
Finally, foods with vitamin C and CoQ10 also can help to improve NO function and levels.
Rich in nitrates, beetroot juice specifically has been studied to increase NO levels by over 20%.
So how about throwing some beetroot powder, beetroot juice or steamed beets into your frozen smoothie blend?
Dark chocolate or cacao
Certain compounds in cacao, known as flavanols, can help to improve your levels of NO.
A small study showed that just 30g of dark chocolate improved NO.
So cacao is another great one to add to your smoothies or to pair with it by sprinkling it on top.
Cacao is also a fantastic source of antioxidants too!
Eat your greens
Specifically, eating or adding the leafy ones to your frozen smoothie recipes.
Spinach, rocket, kale, cabbage and similar are all great sources of nitrates for you.
C or NO?
When you think of citrus fruits like orange, lemon and grapefruit, what nutrient comes to mind?
This nutrient may increase the absorption and availability of NO within the body.
Pomegranates work mainly on the antioxidant side of things, preventing damage so the body can continue to create NO.
A fantastic addition to frozen smoothies thrown in whole or blended up smooth.
Nuts and seeds
Many nuts and seeds are high in arginine, one of the precursors to NO.
There are plenty of nut and seed varieties to choose from, so it may take a while to find the perfect mix to accentuate the flavour and texture of your frozen smoothie.
Ever heard of having watermelon before a workout to help improve blood flow?
That’s because of the amino acid L-citrulline in watermelon.
This is another precursor to NO and
Garlic is another food filled with nitrates.
It also contains quercetin which has been shown to help to enhance NO levels.
This is not a commonly used smoothie ingredient, but we’re sure at least one person reading this will want to try it out!
A note here as well, if you end up adding a lot of garlic into your frozen smoothies.
Please don’t stand to close to people when you’re talking to them at home, at work or in the gym.
A big yes to NO!
With all of its benefits above, it’s hard to see why we wouldn’t want more of this wonder molecule inside our body.
On top of that, we can see there are some delicious ways to bump up your natural NO through some super smoothie ingredients.
Now the ball is in your court in regards to which ingredients will you add in and how much you’ll add into your smoothies as well.
Make sure to take notes whenever you are trying new ingredients and adding to your smoothie recipes because you never know when you’ll strike gold in regards to flavour and texture.
If you need some inspiration for your frozen smoothie recipes.
It’s as easy as downloading our latest eBook by entering your details in the boxes below and then monitoring your inbox!