Foods that increase nitric oxide include white meat turkey, spinach, crab, shrimp, walnuts and sesame seeds. These foods contain an amino acid called arginine. The body uses enzymes to break down the arginine, creating the gas nitric oxide.
Watermelon contains the amino acid L-Citrulline, which increases nitric oxide levels. Pomegranate is an ideal source of nitric oxide, and studies show that it reduces arterial plaque thickness and increases testosterone. Walnuts increase nitric oxide, lower blood pressure and boost testosterone levels. Some other excellent foods to increase nitric oxide are dark chocolate, oranges, brown rice, beets, cranberries, honey and garlic.
Nitric oxide allows cells in the body to communicate. It is integral to blood circulation, and helps with the regulation of important organ and brain functions. Studies suggest that nitric oxide builds muscle by increasing growth and recovery time. Nitric oxide is also believed to affect the way adrenaline and hormones are released. Some bodybuilders take arginine supplements for those reasons. Studies support the fact that nitric oxide is especially effective for men over the age of 50.
Before taking supplements to increase nitric oxide levels, it is important to speak to a doctor. It is possible to overdose on arginine supplements, which can cause nausea, weakness and diarrhea. Eating foods that contain arginine is the safest way to increase nitric oxide production naturally.