The feeling of being out of breath (dyspnea) is a sensation that is well known to those who suffer from Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. Although it is common for those experiencing shortness of breath to use oxygen therapy (oxygen tanks) to cope, the downsides can include fatigue, headaches, and dry or bloody noses. Further, when depending on oxygen tanks as a primary oxygen supplement, there exists a severe risk: the body can learn to actively suppress its natural respiratory system. Following is a list of 5 natural ways to improve your oxygen levels that should help in reducing your dependence on tanks.
Change Your Diet: Antioxidants allow the body to use oxygen more efficiently, increasing oxygen intake in digestion. When looking to boost antioxidant intake, the foods to focus on are blueberries, cranberries, red kidney beans, artichoke hearts, strawberries, plums and blackberries, most of which can be consumed in various juices and smoothies. Another critical protein to consider are essential fatty acids like Vitamin F, which work to increase the amount of oxygen the hemoglobin in the bloodstream can carry. These acids can be found in soybeans, walnuts and flaxseeds. If you are on your own, and do not have easy access to these foods, or struggle with meal preparation, consider hiring a private caregiver for a few hours to help with meal preparation and shopping.
Get Active: Exercise is key to a healthy life. Through aerobic exercise, such as simple walking, the body is able to better utilize oxygen while removing waste through the lymphatic system. As recommended by the American Heart Association, 30 minutes a day of regular walking has greater effects on the circulatory system than spending an hour or more in the gym 2 to 3 times a week. Aside from the physical health benefits, walking has been shown to improve mood, confidence, and reduce stress. As with the previous tip, if walking is difficult look for ways to hire a caregiver to help with get you out walking each day.
Change Your Breathing: Exercising your lungs regularly is crucial to maintaining ones respiratory health. However, what is often an impediment to one’s breathing is the method in which they breathe. It’s recently been discovered that sick people breathe using the upper chest and inhale more air, which causes reduced oxygen levels in the body. In contrast, the correct method to proper breathing, is slow, from the diaphragm, and through the nose, rather than the mouth.
Cleanse the Air: Often the triggers of flare-ups in those with COPD is poor air quality. Because of this, it is imperative to maintain the purest quality of air possible within the home and workplace. There are a number of air purifiers on the market that can filter the worst of our environmental pollutants. Another helpful “low-tech” tool in reducing pollution in the air and purifying oxygen is a beeswax candle. Unlike traditional candles, beeswax candles do not emit smoke. Instead they produce negative ions that help in the removal of air pollution.
Hydrate: The human body is roughly 60 percent water, so it cannot be understated how critical water is to how the body functions: allowing body cells to grow, lubricating our joints and regulating body temperature. When looking to get the full benefits of oxygenation, drink filtered water. Restructured or ionized water is micro-clustered with smaller groupings of water molecules. This provides high levels of hydration and oxygenation at the cellular level. Keep in mind that caffeinated beverages, alcohol and high sodium foods all dehydrate the body, so keep water with you during the day and get in the habit of drinking it throughout the day. Health professionals recommend 8 8-oz. glasses of water a day.
If you are independent and physically capable of implementing each of the above tips for increasing oxygen levels, take action today! If you need help to implement any of the above, reach out to us to schedule the care you need. When it comes to good health, there is very little that is more important than getting the right amount of oxygen.