Thursday, June 18, 2015

How to Increase Blood Oxygen Levels

Oxygen is crucial in keeping us healthy and plays a huge role in respiration but also in various other metabolic processes in the body as well. When we inhale, the oxygen we breathe is mixed in with the blood, which then carries it to every cell and tissue in the body. Healthy cells are aerobic and when they are deprived of adequate levels of oxygen, the body faces numerous potential health issues, including but not limited to fatigue, depression and hypoxia. These risks can be combatted by ensuring your body is getting the oxygen it needs with healthy daily practices that help raise the blood oxygen level.

Mature woman doing yoga
  1. Exercise regularly
    Aerobic exercises, such as walking, swimming or biking, typically result in a rise of oxygen levels due to a physiological response controlled by the brain. The medulla controls the respiration rate during various activities, and because cells burn oxygen more quickly during exercise than when they are at rest, the body responds to the high levels of carbon dioxide by increasing blood flow to supply the cells with more oxygen. Going for 30-45 minute walks a few times a week or even practicing breathing exercises in the morning will help open up pathways and allow your body to inhale as much oxygen as it needs.

  2. Consume antioxidants and complex carbohydrates
    Increasing the amount of plant based nutrients in your diet and cutting down on acidifying foods, like processed and animal-based products, will help improve your body’s ability to transport oxygen to cells. Complex carbohydrates, like fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes, will result in better circulation of the blood throughout the body, while a diet rich in fat will reduce the blood’s oxygen capacity to carry oxygen. Consuming foods that are high in antioxidants, including blueberries, cranberries, strawberries, plums and blackberries, will also help your body use oxygen more efficiently by releasing it into the bloodstream in proper amounts.

  3. Hydrate
    Water is essential to keep our bodies functioning at the peak of their performance. Without proper hydration, bodily functions like cellular respiration and the removal of toxins and metabolic wastes are inhibited. We lose water on a regular basis through various ways, so drinking eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day will ensure that your body stays hydrated and reaps the full benefits of oxygenation.

  4. Practice good posture
    Breathing adequate amounts of oxygen is the most natural way to improve blood oxygen saturation, and this can be achieved by improving your posture and avoiding things like crouching or rounding your shoulders, as those actions inhibit oxygen intake. It sounds too simple, but it’s true! Simply stand up straight, push your shoulders back as if you are trying to touch them together and keep your chin up in order to ensure your body is taking in the maximum amount of oxygen-rich air.

  5. Just breathe
    Studies have shown that improper, shallow breathing may reduce blood oxygen levels and will also reduce the amount of oxygen that is carried in the bloodstream. People that breathe through their upper chest inhale too much air per inhalation, constricting blood vessels and causing reduced oxygen levels in the cells. Work on performing deep breathing exercises that are slow and come from the diaphragm rather than the chest and out through the nose instead of the mouth. Practicing proper breathing will increase blood oxygen levels, as well as raise energy and cleanse the lungs.

To ensure your body has an adequate saturation of oxygen in your blood, visit Concord Health Supply for a wide selection of oximeters.