Every hardcore bodybuilder knows to take nitric oxide boosters like arginine, not just for the pump they deliver, but for muscle growth and strength gains as well. Few may realize, though, that to help protect their increased NO level, they should consider reaching for a cold refreshing glass of pomegranate juice.
Researchers at UCLA have recently reported in the aptly named journal Nitric Oxide that pomegranate juice was effective at protecting NO against oxidative destruction. In laboratory tests, the scientists compared the effects of the juice on NO destruction and NO action to other antioxidant-rich sources, such as Concord grape juice, blueberry juice, red wine and vitamins C and E.
Pomegranate was found to be more effective at protecting and augmenting NO than all the others. In some cases, it was more than 300 times as powerful. The researchers determined that the potent antioxidant activity is responsible for the juice's benefits on NO.
Drink eight ounces of pomegranate juice with 20 g of whey protein right before workouts. It will provide NO protection for a better pump, as well as supply 40 g of long-lasting carbs to help fuel the workout. Most fruit juices, like pomegranate, are part glucose (for quick energy) and part fructose (a longer-lasting fuel source).
Since pure pomegranate juice can taste tart, dilute it with 16-20 ounces of water or mix it into whey protein. Vanilla- and strawberry-flavored whey powders work well in this NO-boosting muscle-growth concoction.
Reference: L.J. Ignarro et al., "Pomegranate juice protects nitric oxide against oxidative destruction and enhances the biological actions of nitric oxide," Nitric Oxide, September 2006, 15(2):93-102.