Oxygen, or Vitamin O, and weight loss are connected. Although we may take breathing for granted, do you know how oxygen is related to your metabolism?
Vitamin O & Weight Loss: Metabolism
“Metabolism” is the word used to describe all the biochemical reactions in your body. It’s how you take in nutrients and oxygen and use them to fuel everything you do.
Burning calories is connected to vitamin O & weight loss. To burn calories, you use oxygen. The more oxygen you take in, the greater your ability is to turn up your metabolic burning capability.
If you’re interested in maximizing your metabolism, breathing is one of the most effective tools, because the greater your capacity to take in oxygen, the higher your metabolic ability to burn calories will be.
Eating and Your Metabolism
Eating raises your metabolism. Eating more food creates a greater metabolic demand and creates a need for increased oxygen intake. Conversely, eating too little food slows our metabolism’s fuel burning capacity down.
The key is not to stress about eating a bit extra or too little. Instead eat in a mindful, relaxed manner, taking pleasure from your meal and breathing deeply and copiously. This is the optimal state of assimilating your food during digestion.
Vitamin O & Weight Loss: Breathing
Have you ever wondered where the weight you lose goes? When you lose weight, most of it is breathed out through carbon dioxide. Therefore, our lungs are the main organ (along with skin and kidneys) responsible for excreting fat deposits that are converted into carbon dioxide. And so, it’s not simply healthy eating we should be concerned with but healthy breathing habits as well.
The Oxygen Advantage, by Patrick McKeown, states that approximately 5% of our diet is made up of foods that are easy to digest such as fruits, vegetables and water (plain). These foods are considered breathing-friendly foods.
The remaining 95% of foods we digest are processed such as sugar, meat, dairy, bread and drinks like coffee and tea. These foods cause us to breathe in a volume of air greater than that required by the body. This way of breathing can become a habit when the brain adjusts to taking in larger amounts of air.
And according to the author, the quantity of air you take in matters. If you’re someone who breathes through your mouth, snores, sighs a lot or breathes more heavily than normal, you’re likely breathing in more air than your body requires.
Practicing breathing techniques can boost your blood oxygen levels, diminish your appetite and help your body process food more efficiently.
Breathing efficiently is primarily dependent on carbon dioxide. Your body breaks down fats and carbs. After that, carbon dioxide is returned from the cells to your lungs. And when you breathe, the excess carbon dioxide is expelled.
However, the body needs to keep some carbon dioxide so it’s important to retain the correct balance in the flow of oxygen into your body. When we breathe in too much oxygen, too much carbon dioxide is removed from the blood and the amount of oxygen that should go to our cells is restricted.
According to the Breathing and Sleep Center of Colorado, and I’m paraphrasing here, “When you breathe through your nose, there’s about 50% more resistance to air placed on the incoming air stream than occurs when you’re mouth breathing. This results in an increase of between 10%-20% more oxygen intake, which is significant.
Also of note, Nobel Prize winner Otto Warburg demonstrated that only oxygen-starved cells in the body mutate into cancerous cells. Nasal breathing provides a much better chance of supplying needed oxygen to the cells of the body.”
Oxygen Levels and Green Plants
One of the best things you can do for a healthy lifestyle is to keep large, green plants in your home. The air we then breathe will be fresher and enriched by these plants.
You can boost oxygen levels in your home and/or office with large, green plants. It will help to increase moisture in the air, which can be useful in warding off flu and cold symptoms, to help prevent dryness of your skin, improve your sleep, remove pollutants and stale air and improve your memory, creativity and concentration!
Tip: The recommended number of plants is 2 for every 100 sq. feet of interior space (assuming 8-10′ ceilings). The more leaves the plant has, the better.
Two oxygen-generating plants I want to highlight are the Gerbera Daisy and Chinese Evergreens. The Gerbera Daisy produces high oxygen levels at night, while removing harmful chemicals such as benzene and trichloroethylene. It’s a beautiful plant, and it may help you to sleep better at night. Give it bright sunlight during spring, summer and fall and in winter it needs indirect light. The Gerbera Daisy should be watered regularly, and its soil kept moist.
Chinese Evergreen emits high levels of oxygen and purifies indoor spaces from harmful chemicals. The plant does well in full shade. It only needs to be watered occasionally and its soil kept moist.
And if you intend to purchase plants that may be exposed to pets, please check to make sure that they are pet-friendly ones.
Conclusion and Further Reading
Remember you can live weeks to months without food, days without water but only minutes without air. Along with food nutrients, Vitamin O provides energy for your immune system, growth, maintenance and repair and all other functions of your body. And nasal breathing may be beneficial to weight loss!
You may also be interested in reading two of my other posts: Weight Loss Magic and Aging and Metabolic Decline.
Do you keep a lot of green plants in your home? Are you mostly a nasal breather or an open mouth breather? You can respond in the box provided below. Your comments are always welcome, and I’d love to hear from you!
Conscious breathing has been a big part of my daily meditation practice and also when I find myself not being present in the moment. I know about mindful eating but I never thought about the breathing part during a meal. It will be interesting to try it and see what happens.
Barb, I do think the breathing part of eating is often overlooked. If you do give it a try, let us know how it works for you.
It would never have crossed my mind that nasal breathing could help in weight loss – until now. I practice pranayam for grounding and building my oxygen utilization as I’m prone to asthma and the humid months can be difficult for me.
Thanks for sharing your wisdom with us, Barb.
Vatsala, nasal breathing and weight loss — who knew, right? You mention being prone to asthma and the author I mention also had asthma. You may want to read the book or follow his work since much of what he writes about stems from his experience with it.
Thank you Barb for this interesting post!
I felt myself breathing more deeply and mindfully as I read.
Thanks, Lisa — Glad you found this post interesting!
I love the article Barb. What a beautiful way to share an important message. We are all nature beings. To value our mind and our body and count it among nature as it breaths so do we. For the health and wellness of all. With much light and love…
Thank you Heather for your comments. I especially like your observation that we are all nature beings and as nature breathes, so do we. And I’m happy you enjoyed my post.