Effects of dietary nitrate on inflammation and immune function, and implications for cardiovascular health
Oxford University Press
School of Medical and Health Sciences
Inorganic dietary nitrate, found abundantly in green leafy and some root vegetables, elicits several beneficial physiological effects, including a reduction in blood pressure and improvements in blood flow through nitrate-nitrite-nitric oxide signaling. Recent animal and human studies have shown that dietary nitrate and nitrite also modulate inflammatory processes and immune cell function and phenotypes. Chronic low-grade inflammation and immune dysfunction play a critical role in cardiovascular disease. This review outlines the current evidence on the efficacy of nitrate-rich plant foods and other sources of dietary nitrate and nitrite to counteract inflammation and promote homeostasis of the immune and vascular systems. The data from these studies suggest that immune cells and immune-vasculature interactions are important targets for dietary interventions aimed at improving, preserving, or restoring cardiovascular health.