Take the Nitric Oxide Challenge!

November 19, 2021

In last month’s blog post, I listed the three causes of cardiovascular disease–and possibly all disease–and explained how nitric oxide (NO), the major antioxidant molecule of the cardiovascular system, is key to keeping these causes in check. Here are the three causes of cardiovascular disease. Notice that high cholesterol is not on the list:

  1. Inflammation
  2. Oxidative Stress
  3. Blood vessel (auto) immune dysfunction

Young people make NO from the amino acid arginine. Those of us over 40 though, don’t do that very well. We must make NO from vegetables. The best are beets, arugula and dark leafy greens, although celery and dark chocolate work too. As I explained in detail in last month’s post, 50% of NO is made by our mouth microbiome. If you have receding gums, bleeding gum, periodontal disease, tooth decay or dry mouth, just to name a few common oral health problems, your ability to produce NO is likely significantly compromised and you are at greater risk for cardiovascular disease.

Eat a Rainbow of Plant Foods

This month, I challenge you to eat more of these NO producing foods and to expand your palate to include a wide variety of colors. As you will see from the Phytonutrient Spectrum Foods handout and the Phytonutrient Comprehensive Guide from The Institute for Functional Medicine, each color has its own health benefits. “Eating a rainbow” then is the best way to gain the broad spectrum of benefits the plant kingdoms offers us. Use this checklist to track your intake of vegetables. I suggest you get a baseline first by tracking the color intake of your current way of eating for a day or two, then work on improving it. Check out this guide if you need recipes.

I look forward to hearing how much better you feel!

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