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Nitrate Linked To Reduced Resting Metabolic Rate

Nitrate was long considered to be an inert product of nitric oxide metabolism but research over the past decade has found that it is actually associated with a range of biological processes. Most recently, a study has found that increasing nitrate may be associated with reducing the resting metabolic rate in healthy individuals.

Resting metabolic rate is the energy your body needs exert to perform essential bodily functions such as respiration and heart rate while it’s resting.

Participants in the study included 13 healthy adults who took either sodium nitrate or a placebo of sodium chloride for three days. The amount of sodium nitrate consumed was equivalent to that found in 200 to 300 grams of spinach or 2-3 beetroots.

At the conclusion of the study, the nitrate group had a 4.2% reduction in resting metabolic rate when compared with the placebo. Additionally, there were no significant changes in thyroid hormone status, insulin sensitivity, or glucose uptake.

In a previous study, the researchers had found evidence that suggests nitrates allow the body to do more while expending less energy. They believe it does this by enhancing the efficiency of cell mitochondria, which are the powerhouse of the cell. The findings of this study appear to confirm those findings, as a lower metabolic rate would suggest the body is working less hard to function.

Researchers from the Karolinska Institutet and The Swedish School of Sport and Health Sciences conducted the study. It was published in the April 2014 issue of The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Previous studies have linked nitrate with improved regulation of blood flow, better blood pressure, cellular signaling, glucose homeostasis, and improved tissue responses to low oxygen levels as well as improve cardiovascular health.

Beetroots are perhaps the most popular nitrate-rich food. They can be steamed, sautéed, or juiced to add a colorful, healthy addition to any meal. If beetroots aren’t to your liking, spinach, broccoli, cabbage, kale, cucumber, garlic, pumpkin, radishes, and string beans are all great sources of nitrate as well.

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