Oxygen is the most vital thing required by humans and any living creature. We can survive without food and water for a few days but our survival is impossible without oxygen, even for a few minutes. The concentration of oxygen in our body is called partial pressure. Many people believe in this myth that its concentration in the human body is only dependent on environmental factors. However, it is not valid. Even when the atmosphere has an ample supply of oxygen, the body cannot absorb an adequate amount in some cases. Therefore, adding some foods that improve oxygen levels can help one raise oxygen levels for optimum functions.
A wholesome diet is key to many health issues. Food habits play a significant role in our lifestyle. For example, the oxygen concentration in the body can be affected by the type of food we consume regularly. Certain foods like those rich in iron and nitrates are also significant. You can achieve it by increasing the body’s capacity to absorb oxygen.
Oxygen: How does it Help the Body?
Besides being essential for breathing, oxygen gives our cells the ability to break down food. That produces the energy we need to stay active. It also serves as fuel for all the activities of the human body. For example, our brain and heart would stop working without oxygen supply in the body.
1. To Breakdown Food to Release Energy
Oxygen is required to maintain the body’s metabolism. It is the fuel needed for the proper function of all body systems. It breaks down glucose in our cells to release carbon dioxide and energy. Without sufficient power, lactic acid is formed instead of carbon dioxide, which gets deposited in the muscles, resulting in cramps.
2. Oxygen Enhances Brain Power
The brain doesn’t function appropriately if there is a lack of oxygen in our body. Our body’s ability to think, feel and act is dependent on it. Oxygen enhances brainpower and memory. In addition, it affects our learning ability. Our brain uses around one-fifth of the body’s total oxygen supply. It helps in sending nerve signals and messages in the body. If the brain doesn’t get enough oxygen, brain cells will eventually die in just a matter of minutes.
3. Improves the Body’s Absorption of Nutrients
Good oxygen supply improves the body’s absorption of vitamins, minerals, amino acids, proteins, and other vital nutrients. In addition, it acts as a detoxifier in the blood and strengthens the immune system.
4. Manages the Heart Rate
Sufficient oxygen supply lowers the resting heart rate and improves the contraction of the cardiac muscles. The majority of heart attacks are due to failure of timely delivery to the heart muscle. It results in a heart attack. Thus, oxygen strengthens the heart’s functions.
5. Maintain Energy in the Body
Oxygen is essential to feel energised. Lack of sufficient energy results in tiredness and fatigue because the body cannot produce enough to carry out day-to-day chores and bodily functions. High energy levels increase stamina and endurance in the body. Thus, an adequate oxygen level in the body is vital to maintain good health.
How do Foods Play a Role in Oxygen Generation?
Foods high in iron and nitrate content play a significant role in increasing oxygen supply throughout your body. Along with iron and nitrate, folic acid and vitamin B12 help the complete assimilation of iron in the blood, increasing the body’s oxygen-carrying capacity. In addition, foods that help improve haemoglobin levels increase the oxygen uptake in the body.
In addition, a low salt diet is essential for the heart and maintaining blood pressure. Water retention in the tissues caused due to high salt can cause difficulties in breathing. It reduces the oxygen level in the body. Low potassium levels in the body can also cause breathing difficulties. Therefore, bananas, a rich source of potassium and beetroot juice, are beneficial in such cases.
Foods to Improve Oxygen Level
It is essential to maintain normal oxygen saturation, i.e. 95% or above in the blood. It prevents tissue damage and hypoxia, a state of lack of oxygen in the body. Consuming oxygen-rich foods can be of great help in maintaining normal oxygen levels in the body.
Foods to consume for increasing oxygen levels in the body should be abundant in vitamins A, B complex, minerals like iron, copper, and compound nitric oxide. Also, remember to choose foods with alkaline pH that would help in reducing the risk of a stroke or hypertension, enhance cardiac and brain function. In addition, antioxidant-rich foods increase the oxygen levels in the blood.
Fruits to improve oxygen levels in the body:
Lemons are a rich source of vitamin C, an antioxidant that helps develop haemoglobin-based oxygen carriers. Although it is acidic, it turns alkaline upon consumption due to its electrolytic activity inside the body.
In addition, lemons detoxify the liver and eliminate waste from the body. Simply having a glass of warm lemon water on an empty stomach every day can help improve oxygen levels and overall health. Moreover, lemons also soothe a cough, cold, flu, hyperacidity, heartburn, and other ailments.
Grapes are rich in antioxidants that play a crucial role in improving the blood flow in our bodies. As the blood flow increases, the blood can carry more oxygen to the tissues per unit of time.
Moreover, grapes contain several enzymes that help regulate hormonal balance. As a result, adding black grapes to your diet can reduce circulation problems and help increase oxygen levels in the body.
Avocados are a healthy addition of vitamins A, B3, B6, B12, choline, and folate. They are also rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) and dietary fibre. These nutrients help boost oxygen levels by improving oxygen absorption in the blood.
In addition, studies suggest that avocados reduce cholesterol, promote a healthy heart, and control blood sugar levels. They also improve lipid profile, protect DNA and help in weight management.
Pomegranates have iron, copper, zinc, vitamins B3 and B6, and choline. They help increase blood flow by increasing nitric oxide bioavailability in the body. They also boost oxygen delivery to the tissues.
Studies show pomegranate kernels and juice help dilate blood vessels. However, always consume the juice freshly pressed for the best results. They allow increased blood flow in the body. As a result, it reduces the risk of tissue damage due to low oxygen saturation.
Kiwi is a sweet and sour juicy tropical fruit which is a good source of dietary fibre, copper, and iron. It is also rich in vitamins A, B3, B5, B6, C, choline, and several antioxidants. In addition, kiwifruit helps boost the immune system and reduce the severity and duration of upper respiratory infections in the elderly. It also lowers inflammation in the body.
You can consume one large kiwi a day. It increases the consumption of vitamins and minerals that help increase oxygen saturation in the blood.
Several berries like blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries are excellent vitamin A, B3, B5, B6, and C sources. They are also full of iron, potassium, copper, zinc, choline, folate, and antioxidants. These nutrients help in increasing oxygen saturation in the blood. In addition, berries also help reduce inflammation, lower lipoprotein-cholesterol levels and improve insulin sensitivity.
Vegetables to increase oxygen levels in the body:
Green leafy vegetables like spinach are a rich source of nitrate. Our body converts nitrates into nitric oxide. Thus, consuming green vegetables ensures blood flow throughout the body’s vital organs. Moreover, spinach controls blood pressure and dilates the arteries. As a result, it increases oxygen levels in the blood.
Beetroots are an excellent source of fibre. In addition, they contain folate or vitamin B9, manganese, potassium, iron, and vitamin C. Being rich in iron and folate; beetroots develop nitrates in the body. They improve oxygen absorption in the blood. Thus, they help dilate blood vessels, increasing oxygenated blood flow to tissues.
Carrots are rich in vitamins A, C, B3, B5, B6 and choline, potassium, iron, zinc and copper. They also contain phytochemicals that contain anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. They are essential for detoxifying the body and increasing oxygen supply to the tissues. You can consume carrots in a salad or make a glass of juice from chopped carrots.
Garlic is known to improve heart health. It has lipid-lowering, antimicrobial, and antiplatelet properties. A study suggests that consuming garlic can improve baseline oxygen levels in arteries. It also reduces hypoxemia in people with Hepato Pulmonary Syndrome (HPS), which affects the lungs of patients with liver disease. You can add one clove of garlic every day in food or even chew it raw. However, you should avoid consuming it if you are on anticoagulants.
Beans are legumes that contain an abundant amount of iron. Iron is crucial for oxygen transport, DNA synthesis, and other metabolic processes. In addition, they are rich in potassium, calcium, and dietary fibre. As a result, they help increase oxygen levels due to their high iron content, increasing haemoglobin production. You can consume blanched or boiled green, black or dried beans in salads and curries.
Spices for increasing oxygen levels in the body:
Turmeric is known as the golden spice of India. It is full of nutrients. It also has medicinal and therapeutic properties that optimise our overall health. In addition, turmeric increases nitric oxide levels, responsible for widening blood vessels.
Turmeric also improves the blood flow to the vital organs, thereby increasing the oxygen levels in the body by making more oxygen available to the tissues for utilisation. So you can have a cup of turmeric tea in the morning to boost energy levels and keep infections at bay.
4. Animal-Derived Food
Animal-derived food for increasing oxygen levels in the body:
Organ meat like liver, heart and brain is highly nutritious. It contain vitamins B3, B6, B12, D, and proteins. Organ meat is also rich in copper, iron, and zinc. It also contains healthy fats like (MUFAs) and (PUFAs). Moreover, they have heme-iron, which help to improve haemoglobin levels in the body, thus increasing oxygen level.
You can consume organ meat once a week or once in two weeks to get the required nutrients to improve your oxygen levels. However, you shouldn’t consume organ meat very frequently. You should avoid organ meat if you have high cholesterol or arthritis.
Other Ways to Improve Oxygen Levels
Apart from foods, there are other ways to increase oxygen levels in the body.
1. Quit Smoking
Smoking directly affects the lungs. It is a significant cause of lung cancer. Lung functions can increase by up to 30% if a person quits smoking. Cigarettes contain a compound called carbon monoxide. Since it binds the haemoglobin in your blood cells, it reduces the amount of oxygen available in your body. As a result, it reduces the overall oxygen levels in the body.
2. Breathing Exercises
Doctors recommend simple breathing exercises like pursed-lip breathing and deep belly breathing. These open and widen your airways, thereby increasing the amount of oxygen in your body.
3. Go Outside and Breathe Fresh Air
You do not need to put in much effort to increase the amount of oxygen. You can try something as simple as opening your windows or going for a short walk. It will help increase the amount of oxygen in your body. Besides increasing the overall blood oxygen level, it also offers improved digestion and more energy. It helps if you go on a morning walk when the air outside is fresh and clean.
Practising deliberate breathing techniques can build up your lung capacity, allowing more oxygen to reach your blood and the tissues. In addition, yoga asanas like pranayamas and postures that require breath regulations allow more oxygen to enter the body. Some basic asanas, Tadasana, Trikonasana, and Vrikshasana, help improve oxygen levels in the body and improve cardio-pulmonary functions.
You can use a pulse oximeter to check your blood oxygen level at home. So, practice these natural approaches to increase your blood oxygen level on your own.
Oxygen is the most vital substance for living organisms. We require it for the healthy functioning of every organ and tissue of the body. Normal oxygen saturation in the blood is 95% or above.
Breathing exercises and yoga help increase the body’s oxygen levels. In addition, foods like lemon, beetroot, avocado, spinach, carrot, beans, organ meat and turmeric are also helpful. These foods are high in iron, nitrate, vitamin and mineral content which play a significant role in increasing oxygen supply throughout your body. Moreover, antioxidant-rich foods play an essential role in increasing oxygen levels in the body.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q. How can I increase my blood oxygen level quickly?
A. Open windows can help breathe fresh air. It would help if you also went outside for a walk. It increases the amount of oxygen inhaled by the body.
Q. Which fruit is good for oxygen level?
A. Fruits containing iron and nitrate, folic acid, and vitamin B12 help complete iron assimilation into the blood. Hence, they increase the body’s oxygen-carrying capacity. These fruits are grapes, avocados, pomegranates, lemon, kiwi and berries.
Q. What vitamin is good for oxygen levels?
A. Vitamin B12 and folic acid help in the complete assimilation of iron into the blood. They increase the body’s oxygen-carrying capacity. They are necessary for both the production of red blood cells and for the utilisation of iron.
Q. What herbs increase oxygen?
A. Herbs like turmeric, ginger, ginkgo Biloba, and Rhodiola help increase the body’s oxygen levels. They are rich in nutrients, medicinal, and therapeutic properties that optimise our overall health. In addition, they increase nitric oxide levels, which are responsible for widening blood vessels improving tissue blood flow.
Q. What should you do if you have low oxygen levels?
A. If you have low oxygen levels, you should start practising breathing exercises. Yoga asanas like Bhastika, Trikonasana, and Vrikshasana, are also helpful. In addition, eat antioxidant, iron, nitrate, vitamin B12 and folic acid-rich foods. They improve blood flow in the body and enhance the production of haemoglobin, thus providing more oxygen to tissues.
Q. What happens when oxygen levels drop in COVID-19?
A. When a person’s body does not get adequate oxygen levels, it becomes difficult to function normally. Body organs and tissues do not get sufficient oxygen to carry out their functions. It results in shortness of breath. If the body’s oxygen levels remain below 92% for a prolonged period, it ultimately results in death.
Q. How long does it take for oxygen levels to return to normal after Covid?
A. Weakness and breathlessness even after a short walk or some physical activity are common problems experienced by COVID-recovered people. However, recovery time for oxygen levels back to normal varies from person to person. In addition, it depends on the severity of the infection and whether the patient suffers from any comorbidities.
Q. Does lack of oxygen make you sleepy?
A. Lack of oxygen in the body makes the cells deprive of their fuel to break down food to release energy in the body. The brain is not able to function efficiently in such a situation. Hence, it results in tiredness and sleepiness.
Q. What can I drink to increase my oxygen level?
A. You should drink beetroot juice and carrot juice in addition to drinking plenty of water daily to improve your oxygen levels. Beetroot and carrot contain iron which boosts the production of haemoglobin, the blood’s oxygen carrier. As a result, it results in more oxygen delivery to tissues.