When you think about oxygen, you think about the air you breathe that goes in and out of our lungs. However, you breathe to actually circulate oxygen to all parts of the body through your blood. Every cell of the body needs oxygen for it to properly function, so it is a must that your blood is well-oxygenated at all times.
What’s Normal and What’s Not
Blood oxygen levels can be measured in many different ways. The most accurate one is through an arterial blood gas (ABG) test, which is done by taking a sample of blood from an artery.
Since this test can be difficult and inconvenient to perform regularly, a person can conveniently check his blood oxygen levels through the use of a pulse oximeter, which is a portable clip-like device that measures blood oxygen through the use of light absorption. Through a pulse oximetry sensor, it is much easier, quicker, and more comfortable to determine one’s blood oxygen measurement. You can even do it by yourself at your own home.
Normally, your oxygen saturation level should fall between 80 and 100 mmHg using the ABG test and between 95 and 100 percent on the pulse oximeter. Having below or above normal levels usually calls for immediate medical attention, which is why it is best to make sure your body is receiving the oxygen it needs to stay healthy.
The Wonders of Physical Exercise
One surefire way to raise oxygen levels in the blood is through physical activity or exercise. When your body is on the move, your blood oxygen levels start to increase as a physiological response controlled by the medulla, the part of your brain that is responsible for your respiration rate during daily activities such as sleeping, eating, and exercise.
When you exercise, your cells burn oxygen a lot quicker than when you are at rest, signaling the brain to increase the respiration rate to supply more oxygen to the blood.
Deep Breathing and Relaxation
Aside from physical exercise, deep-breathing exercises can also do wonders to one’s oxygen saturation levels. It turns out that improper breathing may reduce your oxygen saturation levels by 20 percent, so a simple exercise such as deep breathing can go far in terms of your overall health. Breathing exercises can only take a few minutes and can already reap significant results.
It also pays to try relaxation techniques to increase blood oxygen levels, which are especially helpful if you have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Deep breathing exercises are much easier to perform when you are calm and stress-free. To achieve this, you can try meditation exercises such as yoga or do positive thinking and journaling activities.
Diet Is Key
Diet has a key role in increasing one’s oxygen intake and absorption. Particularly, consuming foods rich in antioxidants can help the body to utilize oxygen more efficiently. The next time you go grocery shopping, choose antioxidant-rich foods such as berries, plums, red kidney beans, and artichoke hearts.
Protein-rich foods, which are packed with essential fatty acids such as vitamin F, are also known to increase oxygen levels found in the bloodstream. These healthy acids can be found in foods such as walnuts, soybeans, and flaxseeds.
Breathing Fresh Air
Carbon monoxide and fluoride get in the way of your body when it comes to inhaling the right amount of oxygen it needs and having it circulated through the bloodstream. Because of this, it is important to get a breath of fresh air whenever you can, especially when you are so often exposed to gas fumes, cigarette smoke, and vehicle emissions each day. In fact, poor air quality is also usually the source of flare-ups among COPD patients.
If your home or workplace does not have the purest quality of air, you can try reducing the pollution through a beeswax candle. Lighting one does not emit smoke but instead produces negative ions that help in warding off air pollution.
There’s no understating how critical water is when it comes to keeping bodily functions in tiptop condition. After all, human bodies are made up of 60 percent water, as it helps the body cells grow, regulates body temperature, lubricates your joints, among many other functions.
Drinking water at least eight glasses a day can greatly help oxygenate your blood and cells. To achieve its full benefits, it is best to consume filtered water, as it provides high hydration and oxygenation levels to the body. Meanwhile, it is highly advised to avoid drugs and alcohol if you are having oxygenation troubles, as they are not only harmful on the tissues and organs but also greatly impact the oxygen levels in your blood.
You may not notice it, but these simple methods can already do wonders for your bodies. Spare some time to follow all these pieces of advice to make sure your blood is well-oxygenated. Your body will thank you for it!
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