Enhance Your Health: Tips To Increase Blood Oxygen Level

Table of contents

  1. Introduction
  1. Understanding blood oxygen levels
  1. Significance of maintaining healthy levels
  1. Factors influencing blood oxygen levels
  1. Natural ways to improve your blood oxygen levels
  1. Tools for measuring blood oxygen at home
  1. When to seek medical advice
  1. FAQs
  1. Conclusion


Welcome to our blog where we delve into the intricacies of blood oxygen levels—a critical component of overall health often overlooked until it becomes a concern. In this blog, we'll explore the significance of blood oxygen levels, how they're measured, what constitutes normal levels, how to improve oxygen levels in the body and why monitoring them is essential for maintaining well-being.  

Smiling blood carrying water symbol oxygen
Cartoon picture of Smiling blood

Understanding blood oxygen levels

What are blood oxygen levels?

Your blood oxygen level indicates how much oxygen is in your blood. Your body maintains your blood oxygen level through a precise balance of breathing in oxygen and releasing carbon dioxide. The normal blood oxygen level, also known as oxygen saturation or SpO2, typically ranges between 95% and 100%. Generally, blood oxygen levels tend to decrease slightly with age, as lung function and respiratory efficiency may decline over time. Below 92% may indicate hypoxemia, a condition where there's a lower-than-normal level of oxygen in the blood, which may require medical attention depending on the severity and underlying causes.  

Blood oxygen levels chart
Credit: https://www.healthproductsforyou.com/ar-pulse-oximetry.html

Significance of maintaining healthy levels

Here are some key reasons why maintaining healthy levels is significant:

  • Oxygen is crucial for cellular respiration, facilitating energy production.
  • Vital organs such as the heart, brain, and kidneys require ample oxygen for optimal function.
  • Maintaining healthy blood oxygen levels improves endurance, stamina, and exercise performance.
  • Adequate oxygenation is essential for wound healing and recovery from injuries or surgeries.
  • Optimal oxygen levels support a robust immune response, aiding in illness prevention and recovery.

Factors influencing blood oxygen levels

Environmental and lifestyle factors

  • At higher altitudes, the air pressure is lower, which means there's less oxygen available in the air. As a result, individuals living at higher altitudes may have lower blood oxygen readings compared to those living at sea level. However, their bodies often compensate for this by increasing the production of red blood cells or by adjusting their breathing rate to enhance oxygen uptake.  
  • Poor air quality, often due to pollution or environmental factors, can reduce oxygen levels in the air. Prolonged exposure to polluted air may lead to respiratory issues and lower blood oxygen levels, particularly in individuals with pre-existing respiratory conditions.
  • Smoking tobacco can significantly impair lung function and decrease oxygen levels in the blood.
  • Obesity can affect lung function and respiratory efficiency, leading to lower blood oxygen levels, especially during sleep.
  • Engaging in regular physical activity can increase oxygen demand in the body, leading to higher blood oxygen levels during exercise. However, intense or prolonged physical exertion without adequate rest can temporarily decrease blood oxygen levels due to increased oxygen consumption by working muscles.  

Health conditions that affect oxygen levels

  • Conditions like asthma, emphysema, and COPD affect the lungs and airways, leading to reduced lung function and potentially lower oxygen levels in the blood.  
  • Heart conditions, sleep apnoea, as well as strong pain medications, can also impact blood oxygen levels.

Natural ways to improve your blood oxygen levels

Importance of regular physical activity

Regular exercise enhances blood oxygen levels by strengthening the heart, lungs, and respiratory muscles. As you become physically active, your heart and lungs work harder to meet increased oxygen demands, improving their efficiency over time. Activities like brisk walking, cycling, and gardening promote aerobic fitness while muscle-strengthening exercises such as weight-lifting and Pilates strengthen breathing muscles like the diaphragm and muscles between the ribs.  

Benefits of deep breathing exercises

Deep breathing exercises offer significant benefits for improving blood oxygenation. By allowing for deeper inhalation and exhalation, these exercises increase oxygen intake, enhance oxygen transport from the lungs to the bloodstream, and optimize lung function. Diaphragmatic breathing, also known as belly breathing or abdominal breathing, is an exercise designed to strengthen the diaphragm. Accounting for approximately 80% of the breathing process, the diaphragm plays a significant role in efficient respiration.  

Diaphragmatic breathing
Diagram depicting breathing technique

Role of a balanced diet in oxygen absorption

Iron-rich foods, along with those high in nitrate, folic acid, and vitamin B12, boost the body’s oxygen-carrying capacity. Antioxidant-rich foods, including fresh fruits, vegetables, and organ meats, can also increase blood oxygen levels. Impaired breathing can lead to low blood oxygen levels. Potassium-rich foods like bananas and beetroot juice counteract low potassium levels, which can impair breathing. A low-salt diet is crucial for blood pressure regulation, preventing water retention, and breathing difficulties and hence, making it easy to monitor blood pressure.

iron rich foods and vitamic c foods
List of food for a balanced diet

Hydration and its effect on blood oxygenation

Hydration plays a critical role in blood oxygenation by ensuring adequate blood volume and circulation. When the body is properly hydrated, the blood becomes more fluid and flows more easily through the blood vessels, facilitating efficient oxygen transport to tissues and organs. Additionally, adequate hydration supports optimal lung function and mucous membrane integrity in the respiratory tract, promoting efficient oxygen exchange in the lungs.

Herbs and Supplements for oxygen level enhancement

Antioxidant-rich herbs

Antioxidant-rich herbs can play a beneficial role in supporting blood oxygen levels by reducing oxidative stress and inflammation in the body. Some herbs with potent antioxidant properties include turmeric, ginger, garlic, cinnamon, green tea, and oregano. These herbs contain compounds like polyphenols, flavonoids, and vitamins C and E, which can help improve blood circulation, enhance oxygen delivery to tissues, and support cardiovascular health.

Vitamin supplements and oxygenation

Vitamins such as vitamin C, vitamin E, and vitamin B12 are known for their antioxidant properties, which help protect red blood cells and blood vessels from oxidative damage, ensuring the integrity of the oxygen transport system. Vitamin B12 is also crucial for red blood cell production, while vitamin E supports healthy blood vessel function, facilitating optimal oxygen delivery to tissues.  

The impact of mindfulness and stress reduction

Meditation techniques to boost oxygen levels

Mindfulness meditation, focusing on the present moment without judgment, can alleviate stress and anxiety, reducing the body's oxygen demand. Evidence suggests that regular yoga practitioners use about 15% less oxygen when they're resting compared to non-practitioners. After three months of regular yoga, their bodies become 36% more efficient at using oxygen during exercise.  

meditating woman
one nose closed breathing

Practical tips for improving indoor air quality

Plants that increase oxygen indoors

Several plants are known to increase oxygen levels indoors, enhancing air quality. Examples include peace lilies, spider plants, snake plants, pothos, and aloe vera. These plants absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen during photosynthesis, effectively purifying the air and increasing oxygen levels indoors.  

green houseplants
Plants for fresh oxygen

Ventilation and air purification strategies

Proper ventilation involves the exchange of indoor and outdoor air, which helps remove indoor pollutants and replenish oxygen levels. Opening windows and doors, using exhaust fans, and installing ventilation systems are common ventilation methods. Additionally, air purification technologies such as HEPA filters, UV germicidal irradiation, and activated carbon filters can help remove airborne pollutants, allergens, and pathogens, further enhancing indoor air quality.  

Monitoring and understanding your blood oxygen level

Tools for measuring blood oxygen at home

By using a few convenient and user-friendly tools, individuals can monitor their blood oxygen levels regularly and seek medical attention if levels fall outside the normal range.

  • Pulse oximeters are commonly used devices that clip onto a fingertip to measure oxygen saturation in the blood. These devices use light sensors to detect the amount of oxygen carried in the bloodstream, providing accurate readings within seconds.  
  • Another option is a wearable fitness tracker or smartwatch equipped with a built-in pulse oximeter feature, allowing users to monitor oxygen saturation levels continuously throughout the day. These devices typically sync with smartphone apps to track and analyze oxygen saturation trends over time.  

When to seek medical advice

Seek medical advice  

  • In case of symptoms of low blood oxygen levels including shortness of breath, rapid breathing, chest pain, confusion, dizziness, rapid heart rate, or bluish discolouration of the lips, fingers, or skin.  
  • If you are using a home pulse oximeter and consistently measure oxygen saturation levels below 90%, or if there are significant fluctuations in oxygen saturation readings.  


Can foods improve my blood oxygen levels?

A balanced diet rich in nutrients like iron, vitamin C, and antioxidants can aid in red blood cell production and lung health, indirectly contributing to optimal oxygenation. However, foods alone cannot directly increase blood oxygen levels.  

Also read: Black Rice Health Benefits

How often should I perform breathing exercises?

Aim to practice breathing exercises at least once a day. You can adjust the frequency based on factors such as stress levels, physical activity, or specific health concerns. Practice pursed-lip and diaphragmatic breathing 3 or 4 times daily, spending around 10 minutes on each exercise.  

Also read: 3 Powerful Exercises for Healthy Heart in 2024

What are the signs of low blood oxygen levels?

Signs of low blood oxygen levels include shortness of breath, rapid or shallow breathing, rapid heart rate, confusion, cyanosis (bluish skin colouration), chest pain, headache, fatigue, and changes in behaviour or mood.

Are there any risks in trying to increase blood oxygen levels naturally?

Trying to increase blood oxygen levels naturally through methods like deep breathing exercises, staying hydrated, and maintaining a healthy lifestyle generally carries minimal risk for most individuals. However, those with certain medical conditions such as respiratory diseases or heart problems should consult a healthcare professional as some methods may not be suitable or could exacerbate underlying conditions.


In conclusion, maintaining optimal blood oxygen levels is crucial for overall health and well-being. Adequate oxygenation supports vital physiological functions, including cellular respiration, organ function, and immune response. By understanding the factors that influence blood oxygen levels and incorporating lifestyle habits such as regular physical activity, balanced nutrition, proper hydration, and stress management techniques, individuals can support healthy oxygenation and promote overall wellness. Monitoring blood oxygen levels, especially for individuals with respiratory conditions or those at risk of low oxygen saturation, allows for early detection of abnormalities and timely intervention.  

For convenient and personalized health monitoring, consider downloading the Aware Health app to access valuable insights into your well-being. Your health is our top priority.

About the Author

Dr. Satish Madiraju, a renowned cardiologist is passionate about consumer heart health and is on a mission to prevent a million heart attacks. He shares his expertise not only on heart health but also on leadership, digital health, and improving patient experience.

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