Nitric Oxide…sound familiar? Nope, not the stuff you inhale at the dentist’s office (that’s nitrous oxide!) But it is the reason flavanols are so beneficial.
Dubbed the “miracle molecule,” the discovery of N-O, won the Nobel Prize in 1998. N-O signals our blood vessels to dilate and increase circulation, the secret to achieving peak performance at work and in the gym. It also helps prevent chronic diseases such as dementia, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer.
Cocoa flavanols are among nature’s most potent stimulators of N-O – both naturally and deliciously!
These days, Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, the Cleveland Clinic’s renowned director of the Heart Disease Reversal Program, describes N-O as the single most important factor impacting cardiovascular health. He emphasizes the following benefits:
- Strongest Vasodilator in the Human Body: N-O increases the flexibility of our arteries to accommodate increased blood flow when exercising or under mental stress. This improves delivery of oxygen and nutrients throughout the body.
- Inflammation Fighter: N-O prevents inflammation and arterial thickening that can restrict blood flow, cause hypertension, and increase the workload on your heart.
- Plaque Preventer: N-O reduces the stickiness of LDL and other elements in our blood that lead to plaque build-up in our arteries.
And according to Andrew Jones, Ph.D., Professor of Applied Physiology at the University of Exeter in England, “Recent studies reveal that N-O makes your muscles more efficient, and as a result require less oxygen to work out at higher intensities.” That means increasing your N-O makes it easier for you to push yourself harder.
Unfortunately N-O levels begin to dip as early as age 25. But luckily there are some highly effective strategies for increasing our N-O levels:
- Eat Green, Leafy Vegetables! Green, leafy vegetables and beets are loaded with dietary nitrates that metabolize into N-O in our bodies.
- Exercise! Physical exercise is a powerful stimulator of N-O production by our endothelial cells.
- Consume Cocoa Flavanols! Cocoa flavanols are arguably one of the most powerful promoters of natural nitric oxide production on earth. In fact studies show that 900mg of cocoa flavanols daily increase the elasticity of our arteries by over 30%!
This leaves us with one important lingering question – is the true miracle molecule N-O, or is it cocoa flavanols? We choose both!