A naturally forming gas in the body, nitric oxide is an important weapon in the fight against heart disease and high blood pressure. It improves circulation by opening up veins and arteries so that a good supply of oxygen and nutrients can be delivered to vital organs, muscles and the brain. Often overlooked by the mainstream, nitric oxide is one of the most important elements of a fit and healthy body -- and manufacturing the stuff through exercise couldn't be easier.
A good supply of nitric oxide is essential for general cardiovascular health, and this natural gas also helps to regulate brain and digestive function. It enhances blood flow and slows the build up of cholesterol -- which blocks arteries, the main cause of heart attacks and strokes. Nitric oxide also aids the immune system, leaving the body in a better position to fight off infections, viruses and certain types of cancer. It also plays a role in the digestion process and the elimination of bodily waste.
Nitric oxide can be taken as a supplement, most commonly in tablet or capsule form. Popular with bodybuilders and athletes, topping up with nitric oxide ensures that the body is able to keep up with the demand for blood supply during prolonged periods of intense exercise; the limbs, muscles, heart, lungs, kidneys and skin all need plenty of blood and oxygen during hard workout sessions and intense competitive sports events.
The levels of nitric oxide in the body gradually decline as you get older, thanks to natural cell damage, poor diet, and an increasing sedentary lifestyle. Supplements can be taken to ensure that nitric oxide levels remain high. Tablets and capsules are taken by men for erectile dysfunction, and both men and women can take a nitric oxide supplement to boost energy levels, achieve a better quality of sleep and help with long-term memory function.
One of the best ways to keep your veins and arteries full of nitric oxide is by exercising every day. There is no one specific exercise that is recommended to boost levels of nitric oxide. Any form of physical exertion will do; everything from brisk walking, jogging, running, swimming and bike riding to incidental activities like gardening and performing chores around the house will do. Some form of aerobic exercise for at least 20 minutes three times per week is all you need.
You can receive a daily does of nitric oxide from foods such as oily fish, nuts, spinach, beets, artichokes and certain green teas. It’s also a good idea to minimize your daily intake of saturated fats from things like red meat, poultry and dairy products so that your body doesn’t have to work hard to counteract the affects of cholesterol build up. Deep breathing techniques and acupuncture have also been found to aid nitric oxide levels in the body.
Too much nitric oxide in your system can cause headaches, dizziness and low blood pressure. If you’re on heart medication, check with your doctor or pharmacy before taking any nitric oxide tablets or capsules. Men taking any erectile dysfunction drug should exercise caution. As always, seek medical advice before starting out on any fitness regime or new exercise plan.
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