Breathing is an involuntary thing that our body does. Deliberately pausing our breathing is not the easiest to do. Our respiratory system does it, just like every other muscle in our body, to maintain an adequate supply of oxygen in our body and to keep us alive.
If we are deprived of oxygen, we would naturally feel discomfort and eventually unwell. While it is common sense to stay well-ventilated, if not fill your surroundings with oxygen-giving greenery instead of air-polluted places, not many are deeply knowledgeable about what precisely oxygen does aside from the general idea that it keeps us alive.
Why is Oxygen so Important for our Body?
To see the inner workings of oxygen is rather interesting. Once it enters our bodies primarily through our nostrils and partially through our mouths and the blood vessels scattered across our eye’s cornea, our blood acts as vessels for it to spread across our vital organs. In the process, oxygen bonds with hydrogen and nitrogen atoms to form proteins making up our cells.
Aside from helping replace our dead cells, oxygen also contributes to creating an immune defense against potentially harmful bacteria and viruses that manage to creep our systems through entry points like our eyes, nose, mouth, genitals, and open wounds. Most importantly, oxygen contributes to breaking down and converting food into energy that our bodies can accept for our organs like our brain and lungs to perform their vital functions.
During this ongoing COVID-19 pandemic
, when infected patients often endure shortness of breath and, consequently, a deficit in oxygen levels in their blood, caring for our bodies, particularly our respiratory systems, has been a highlighted subject. In a matter of over a year, we learned and remain conscious of the fact that we should maintain a 94 percent blood oxygen saturation level. And, if it goes anywhere below that, we must take the necessary steps to boost it if we do not want to suffer any more complications.
Doing this does not necessarily have to involve medical intervention. Here are ways you can maintain the oxygen levels in your body within healthy levels:
Water does more than lubricate our internal organs. It prevents constipation and keeps us from becoming too hot. According to The U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, men are recommended to drink 3.7 liters and women 2.7
liters of water daily. Keeping up with a healthy water-drinking habit effectively boosts oxygen levels. Hydration also helps maintain one’s stamina and immunity.
Eat Antioxidant-Rich Food
While oxidants aren’t necessarily bad as oxygen is itself an oxidant that chemically acts to remove electrons from other materials to release useful energy from them, there are forms of oxidants that are more powerful. When we have high concentrations of these oxidants in our system, this could be destructive to our cells’ protective layers. This happens when we consume a lot of glycemic, fried, and processed food as well as red meat.
To counter these, there are highly antioxidant foods you can incorporate into your diet. The most widely available include dark chocolate, berries, nuts, and leafy vegetables. Antioxidants also assist the body in using its supply of oxygen efficiently. Aside from taking over-the-counter iron supplements
, you could also get your daily iron requirement from antioxidants. The iron from food like leafy greens strengthens oxygen-carrying hemoglobin in our blood.
Breathing is natural, but many have gotten used to breathing shallowly. They could benefit more from breathing more intently. Inhaling slowly and deeply as if to inhale good energy through your nose and exhale as if to release stress through your mouth could be incorporated into any meditation routine. Not only will you feel more refreshed, but you could also guarantee your blood’s oxygen saturation stays within healthy levels.
Exercise is proven to reduce free radicals in our body caused by stress and a poor diet. If you commit even at least two days of moderate exercise in a week, you can get your heart and lungs pumping regularly, enabling you to process oxygen better. If you have underlying health conditions, it’s better to receive advice from your physician on what exercises you can perform independently. You can also feel more energized to carry out your daily tasks.
You can employ more mechanical methods such as using air purifiers to increase oxygen levels in your premises, but nothing beats strengthening your own body. That way, you are less susceptible to fluctuations in your vital signs, the most basic of which include your blood oxygen saturation.