To lower our blood pressure we take simple measures that go a long way in improving not only our circulation but also our overall health. One major step is ensuring adequate production of nitric oxide (NO) in our body. Our bodies are able to turn consumed nitrates into NO preventing high blood pressure. Simply by having regular exercises increases blood flow which stimulates the produce of NO. Similarly having a healthy diet full of dark leafy green vegetables helps. The vegetables contain high level of nitrates that are readily converted into NO in the body. Examples of such vegetables include cabbage, spinach, beets, lettuce, celery, carrots, parsley, radishes, and collard greens among others.
Still by having garlic on our food and coupling it with enough food rich in Vitamin C goes a long way in boosting the NO levels. Garlic contains nitrates and has a compound called quercetin which helps in raising NO levels.
Intake of a diet rich in Vitamin D3 aids in calcium absorption, required for enzymatic reactions in NO production. The amount of protein we take should meet the recommended dietary allowance for total protein. According to the Institute of Medicine women should consume 46 grams of protein daily, while men should aim for 56 grams. The protein provides amino acid L-Arginine, which produce NO. L- Citrillune is another amino acid, converted into L- Arginine by the kidneys and obtained from water melons.
The major importance of the nitric oxide is to dilate vessels increasing blood and oxygen supply in the body. It also protects vessels from vascular aging. NO also prevent aggregation of platelets reducing occurrence of blood clotting. It lowers monocytes (scavenger like white blood cell) stickiness whose work is to collect oxidized LDL cholesterol and debris from injured vessels. Finally it suppresses LDL cholesterol oxidation such that it no longer floats in the blood stream but solidifies and picked up by monocytes.
On the other hand the reduction of NO leads to constriction of arteries increasing the blood pressure ensuring adequate supply of blood to the tissues. There is also increase of smooth muscle cell growth and high chances of blood clotting leading to heart attacks and stroke. Reduced oxidation of LDL cholesterol increases formation of plaques which blocks the arteries. A low-level of NO production result when there is atherosclerosis and intake of high salt especially in patients with essential hypertension.
The whole idea about NO is supported by the three scientists who received a Nobel Prize for their discovery on importance of NO In 1998. On the same note a Science journal ‘Molecule of the Year’ written in 1992 received an award as the most significant development in scientific research.