If low blood oxygen levels are a concern for you, you may have heard or considered eating more foods that are high in oxygen content with the idea that they would boost the oxygen levels in your blood.
This, unfortunately, is not the truth. Your lungs and your digestive system work very differently in terms of the way they breakdown food. Oxygen entering your body through your digestive track is not going to be transferred to your blood.
When we breathe in air, our bodies begin a transfer of oxygen through an exchange of gasses. During this exchange, the body exchanges gas waste (Carbon Dioxide) with oxygen. Red blood cells then pick up the oxygen.
Red blood cells contain hemoglobin. Hemoglobin is a protein that acts like a vacuum, sucking up oxygen molecules. Oxygen can then be delivered to the rest of the body through red blood cells allowing your organs to function properly.
While consuming oxygen-rich foods won’t help boost blood oxygen levels, some foods can help boost blood oxygen levels. Some foods contain nutrients that can help produce more of the hemoglobin protein used to pick up oxygen molecules during the transfer process.
If you are looking for ways to increase your hemoglobin, there are several things you can do. Of course, you’ll want to discuss with your physician before trying anything new. Start by eating iron-rich foods including leafy green vegetables, almonds, pomegranate, meats and seafood. It’s important to also increase your folic acid and vitamin C intake when trying to boost hemoglobin, as well. Vitamin C helps absorb iron and folic acid is needed to create red blood cells. Low levels of folic acid lead to low levels of hemoglobin. If you are a heavy coffee, beer, wine, or soda drinker, then try limiting your intake as these can block iron absorption.
lunginstitute.com, Accessed: 8/9/17
food.ndtv.com, Accessed: 8/9/17