Boost Workout Performance with Dietary Nitrate: Which foods in India have it?

Dietary nitrate has the potential to improve workout performance significantly.

This is what was stated by a leading sports medicine journal site National Center for Biotechnology Information, USA in an article that was published in May, 2014.

The journal further illustrated that inorganic nitrate found in a wide range of food items, especially in leafy vegetables and beetroots convert into nitric oxide post-consumption, which play a key role in terms of metabolism and vascular (pertaining to blood vessels) control

What is Dietary Nitrate and how does it Works?

Nitrate (NO31-) is a polyatomic ion with a blend of nitrogen and three oxygen atoms. In the language of chemistry, nitrate basically has two types of compounds where a single Nitrogen atom bonds with multiple oxygen atoms.

Dietary nitrate supplements helps to increase the concentration of plasma nitrite, that, in turn reduces blood pressure. Nitrate supplementation can also improve endurance and performance during physical exercise.

Nitrates Are Effective as Performance Enhancers for Athletes and Bodybuilders

 

Several studies suggest that nitrates can improve physical performance, particularly during high-intensity endurance exercise.

  • The primary reason behind the effectiveness of nitrates as performance enhancer is that they are natural inorganic components of plant foods. Researchers revealed that nearly 80 percent of human dietary nitrate intake comes from vegetable consumption. Also, it is possible to determine the levels of nitrate in the vegetables and the total dietary nitrate intake from the types of vegetables consumed.  
  • Nitrates may affect various physiological functions that are key to health and exercise  performance. Studies indicate that nitrates form nitric oxide as functional molecule and regulates several skeletal muscle functions including blood circulation, force production,  glucose homeostasis and mitochondrial respiration.
  • Several studies have already suggested that dietary nitrate when converted to nitric oxide, may derive some beneficial health effects, such as protection from stomach diseases, keeping off infection, and preventing vascular disease. Nitrates also serve as essential nutrients for having optimal cardiovascular health.

Numerous researches have shown that high performing athletes and other sportspersons have higher nitric oxide production and basal levels compared to relatively inactive people.

In addition, various experimental studies have highlighted that both mild endurance exercise training and short-term resistance training may increase nitric oxide production in healthy yet inactive people. 

6 Foods in India that Contain Dietary Nitrates

1. Beetroots

Several studies have already suggested that beet roots contain high level of nitrates and extend time to exhaustion when running by 15 percent and improve performance by 4 percent. The same goes for any other physical sports or exercise including bodybuilding. Also, as beets are rich in nitrates, they improve blood circulation to the brain, resulting in improved cerebral function. Look for fresh beet roots fetched from farm fields.

2. Pomegranate

Pomegranate is available across most states and cities in India throughout the year. Health experts highly recommend to include pomegranate in the diet list for having a substantial level of nitric oxide production. This fruit has been found to be effective in increasing testosterone levels by 22 percent.

3. Spinach

Spinach is another vegetable that is available in different geographical regions of India with varied levels in terms of accumulating nitrate. The lowest and highest nitrate concentrations in lettuce have been  found to be 998 and 2674 mg kg–1. An extensive study has shown that the percentage of nitrate levels is higher for people having lesser body weight than for those having more body weight. This may result from the consumption of spinach.

4. Garlic

Studies show that garlic can activate nitric oxide synthase i.e. NOS. One particular study noted that garlic was able to decrease systolic and diastolic blood pressure significantly. Garlic is found to work even better than most high-blood pressure medications in the market.

5. Honey

Did you know that honey can significantly increase nitric oxide production in humans? Studies claim that the high enzyme or the high nitrate content may cause this spike. It is suggested to look for honey in pure form than the processed ones for maximum benefits.

6. Watermelon

Watermelon contains a lot of the amino acid L-Citrulline, which is a natural compound and effectively increases nitric oxide. Particularly, during the summer, watermelons are widely available in India.

Closing Words

If you follow a daily workout routine or are involved in various sporting activities often, consuming the food items mentioned above can enhance your physical performance due to high levels of nitrate content. This is the most natural way of getting sufficient amount of nitrate intake. Moreover, it would be cost-effective. So, include these listed items in your diet chart right away and see the results for yourself after a prolonged period of consumption.

About Shafiya Shaikh

Chief Editor - IBB

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