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Why Nutritionists Call Nitric Oxide the ‘Miracle Molecule’ — and How to Make Sure You’re Getting Enough of It

If you haven't heard of nitric oxide, it's worth looking into.


A substance called nitric oxide (NO) has been dubbed a “miracle molecule,” and for good reason: It keeps blood vessels healthy and can decrease the risk of stroke and heart attack. Plus, it increases the number of energy-generating mitochondria inside cells to boost metabolism. And though NO production wanes over time, lifting levels is easy! Here are some tips to help up your NO numbers.

Supercharge Your Smoothie

Sneak a handful of raw spinach, kale, or Swiss chard into your favorite fruit smoothie. You won’t even taste the greens, but you might increase your NO levels. So say Australian researchers, who note that leafy greens are packed with nitrates, nutrients that are converted into NO by the body. Another tasty way to go: Add a teaspoon of nitrate-rich beet powder to water, juice, or smoothies daily.

Try the Humming Trick

NO is produced in sinus passages, which means that simply breathing in through your nose delivers it into your lungs and bloodstream. But for an added boost, Ron Sinha, MD, recommends five minutes of “bee breathing” daily: Inhale through the nose, then exhale while humming.

Add a Little EVOO

Drizzling extra virgin olive oil over summer fare, such as grilled seafood, veggies, or even ice cream provides a potent dose of polyphenols, plant compounds that enhance the release of NO in blood vessels. In fact, Spanish scientists found folks who ate olive oil daily had higher NO levels than those who rarely enjoyed the oil.

Consider CoQ10

Taking 200 milligrams of coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) daily boosts NO, recent Italian findings suggest. The nutrient blunts cell-damaging inflammation that impairs NO production. For best benefits, experts advise a supplement with ubiquinol (the active form of CoQ10) if you’re 50 or older. Though the body can convert CoQ10 into ubiquinol, its ability to do so wanes over time.

Try Some Delicious No-Churn Olive Oil Ice Cream

This treat tastes great and will help to raise your nitric oxide levels.

Ingredients (Serves 4):

  • ¾ cup sweetened condensed milk
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil + additional for drizzling
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups heavy cream


1. In bowl, combine condensed milk, olive oil, and salt.

2. In separate bowl, on medium speed, whip heavy cream until stiff peaks form.

3. Gradually fold whipped cream into milk mixture; transfer to airtight container.

4. Freeze overnight. Scoop and drizzle with olive oil.

A version of this article originally appeared in our print magazine, Woman’s World.

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