Our much love and brightly coloured strawberries may be one of the top fruit sources of dietary nitrates. The body also produces nitrates which are secreted into saliva, but roughly 80% are dietary nitrates from food sources.
Why do we need nitrates, you may ask?
Well, dietary nitrates may reduce the risk of some kinds of cancer and other diseases. They may also be useful in keeping your body healthy as they seem to function as antimicrobials in the digestive system. They can also help to kill bacteria, such as Salmonella.
Nitrates also helps to control blood pressure as it travels through the artery walls and sends signals to the tiny muscle cells around the arteries, instructing them to relax. When these cells relax, the blood vessels widen and the blood pressure goes down.
Studies suggest that nitrates can boost physical performance, especially during high intensity endurance exercise. The reason for this increase in physical performance may be due to nitrates increasing the effectiveness of mitochondria. Mitochondria are the parts of cells that produce energy.
Be sure to enjoy a good helping of strawberries next time before you hit the gym or start your morning run.