In the wake of the recent health crisis, many people are wondering what they can do to increase oxygen levels in their blood naturally. In a healthy environment, our cells rejuvenate each night while we sleep and have normal oxygen levels. 

However, in a toxic environment, cells lose oxygen because they do not have the energy to repair the body. Low oxygen levels can weaken the immune system, making you more vulnerable to illness and disease.

Having more oxygen in the body will give you more energy, vitality and youth , since you will have more resistance. Low oxygen levels generally result from a lack of physical condition or a poor diet, which can improve with time and effort. Low levels of oxygen in the blood, or hypoxemia, can indicate problems with breathing or circulation.

What happens when your oxygen levels get very low?

When the oxygen in your blood falls below a certain level, you may experience symptoms such as headaches, dizziness, shortness of breath, confusion, or restlessness. Common causes of hypoxemia include: 

  • Being at a high altitude.
  • Anemia.
  • ARDS (acute respiratory distress syndrome).
  • Asthma.
  • Congenital heart defects in children.
  • Congenital heart disease in adults.
  • Exacerbation of COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease).
  • Emphysema.
  • Interstitial lung disease.
  • Pulmonary edema (excess fluid in the lungs).
  • Medicines, such as certain narcotics and anesthetics that depress breathing.
  • Pneumonia.
  • Pneumothorax (collapsed lung).
  • Pulmonary embolism (blood clot in an artery in the lung).
  • Pulmonary fibrosis (scarred and damaged lungs).
  • Sleep apnea.

Of course, some of these conditions will require additional attention, and your doctor may recommend supplemental oxygen. However, in the case of mild oxygen deprivation, you can usually treat it naturally by making some lifestyle improvements, which we will list below.

How to increase oxygen levels in the body

Here are eight ways to increase oxygen in your body naturally:

1. Exercise frequently

Unfortunately, today many people lead a sedentary lifestyle, which means that their lung capacity will decrease due to its lack of use. Aerobic exercise can help your body absorb more oxygen as you breathe deeply, and you will also expel more carbon dioxide. 

Not to mention, your heart will become healthier by pumping more oxygen to the muscles that need it and by increasing circulation throughout your body.

As you begin an exercise routine, you may feel out of breath while exercising as you do not have a significant respiratory reserve. However, the more you exercise, the better your lung capacity and the higher your oxygen levels. 

Start with at least three 30-minute sessions of moderate to intense aerobic exercise per week. Make sure to incorporate weight training as well for a full body workout.

2. Eat more oxygen-rich foods

If you eat mostly processed or cooked foods, you won’t get the benefits of the antioxidants found in raw fruits and vegetables. Raw foods contain more vital energy, which will increase oxygen levels in the blood. 

Hemoglobin, a protein in red blood cells, helps carry oxygen throughout the body. If you want to increase your oxygen levels, be sure to eat foods rich in hemoglobin so that you have a higher number of red blood cells.

According to Harvard Health , some specific nutrients, listed below, increase blood cell production in the body:

  • 2 milligrams of copper
  • 18 milligrams of iron
  • 5,000 international units of vitamin A
  • 7 milligrams of riboflavin (vitamin B2)
  • 20 milligrams of niacin (vitamin B3)
  • 10 milligrams of vitamin B5
  • 2 milligrams of vitamin B6
  • 400 micrograms of folic acid (vitamin B9)
  • Six micrograms of cobalamin (vitamin B12)

In addition to these nutrients, vitamin C, D, and K, as well as calcium, chromium, magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium have been found to help regulate oxygen levels in the blood. 

Foods rich in minerals that increase hemoglobin include beef liver, oysters, crab, turkey organs, salmon, chocolate, potatoes, cashews, and sesame seeds. Iron helps increase oxygen in the blood and comes in two forms: heme and non-heme. 

Animal products like beef, oysters, duck, and lamb have heme iron, while fruits, vegetables, and grains have non-heme. The National Institutes of Health recommends eating 1.8 times the standard amount of iron if it comes exclusively from non-heme sources.

Foods rich in vitamins that you can include:

Foods rich in vitamins that increase hemoglobin include the following:

  • Dairy products
  • Eggs
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Spinach
  • Carrots
  • Pumpkin
  • Cow meat
  • Seafood
  • Chicken
  • Turkey
  • Grain
  • Walnuts
  • Shiitake mushrooms
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Bananas
  • Cow liver
  • Vegetables
  • Avocados
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Seafood
  • Garbanzo beans

3. Place plants around your house

While studies have not been conclusive about the ability of plants to purify the air in homes, research shows that indoor plants can relax the sympathetic nervous system. 

Thanks to this, your breathing will begin to slow down, allowing more oxygen to enter your lungs. Not to mention, plants add warmth and happiness to any home environment, and a better mood can make a big difference to your overall health.

4. Practice breathing exercises

This is perhaps one of the best ways to increase oxygen levels. Breathing exercises can also lower cortisol and decrease mental restlessness. Pranayama, or yogic breathing, helps increase oxygen levels because your breaths become much deeper and slower. 

This practice helps purify the body by expelling more carbon, making the blood less toxic. To do this exercise, you must breathe deeply from your diaphragm and exhale slowly.

Inhale through your nose for at least six seconds, hold the air for a few seconds, and release it for another six seconds. Of course, if you feel uncomfortable, you can decrease the amount of time you inhale, hold, and exhale; Over time, it will get easier. 

Keep your mind focused on your breathing, as mindfulness helps reduce cortisol and therefore increase oxygen.

5. Avoid smoking

You should avoid harmful habits such as smoking, which only decrease lung capacity and can cause lung diseases such as COPD. Smoking also causes high blood pressure and heart disease, which means your organs will have to work harder to carry oxygen throughout your body. 

Additionally, smoking destroys small air sacs in the lungs that allow oxygen to be exchanged. Not to mention, smoking can lead to cancer as it destroys DNA and increases free radicals in the body. 

Many people report that after just a few days of quitting, they feel healthier and can breathe much easier due to the lack of toxins being ingested.

6. Take supplements that increase oxygen

While most people have just the right amount of oxygen in their body to function, people with anemia and other illnesses need more oxygen. Eating lots of fruits, vegetables, meats, and other whole foods may help, but if you’re not getting enough fresh foods in your diet, supplements may be necessary.

Iron especially can be of great help because it promotes the body’s production of hemoglobin, which carries oxygen to the lungs and other organs. If you don’t get enough iron, you run the risk of developing anemia, which can lead to fatigue and weakness. You can also consider taking citrulline, which helps increase nitric oxide in the body. 

This improves the dilation of the blood vessels, increasing circulation and the availability of oxygen in the cells of the body.

Finally, beet supplements can increase oxygen levels as they contain high amounts of nitrate, which is converted to nitric oxide. Like citrulline, it helps decrease the amount of oxygen the body needs.

7. Meditate

Since meditation involves slowing down your breathing and becoming more aware of your breathing, you will naturally receive better oxygen levels as you practice it more. Studies have shown that meditation can help increase arterial and brain oxygen saturation, as well as lower blood pressure and basal respiration.

Because circulation improves when you practice meditation, increased blood flow allows more oxygen to move throughout the body. And this is just one of the reasons to start meditation practice on a regular basis!

By Dr. Eric Jackson

Dr. Eric Jackson provides primary Internal Medicine care for men and women and treats patients with bone and mineral diseases, diabetes, heart conditions, and other chronic illnesses.He is a Washington University Bone Health Program physician and is a certified Bone Densitometrist. Dr. Avery is consistently recognized in "The Best Doctors in America" list.

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