Have you ever noticed how you start thinking with much more clarity when you are exercising? This is because exercise boosts the blood flow to the brain, and since blood carries oxygen with it, it means your brain cells are getting a good and steady flow of oxygen to work optimally.
Whether you are worried about the long-term health of your brain or simply wish to get rid of the brain fog that has been disturbing your creativity, learning how to get more oxygen to the brain is crucial. Let’s look at different and easy ways to deliver more oxygen to your brain.
Getting More Oxygen to the Brain
Following are some easy ways to make sure that your brain is getting adequate levels of oxygen to work.
Practice Diaphragmatic Breathing
Before understanding how to improve the oxygen levels reaching the brain, it is imperative to understand how humans physically breathe. Humans are meant to breathe through their noses with their mouths closed; a technique called belly breathing or diaphragmatic breathing, as it involves the use of the diaphragm. When we breathe deeply and normally into the belly, we move oxygen-rich air to the lungs, where the exchange of carbon dioxide and oxygen takes place. People who never learn how to breathe using the diaphragm muscle cannot get proper levels of oxygen into their blood which then distributes to the brain and other body parts. This is especially true for mouth-breathers who fail to get adequate oxygen across the blood-brain barrier.
If you consider yourself to be a mouth-breather, it is time to learn diaphragmatic breathing. Because it is an acquired technique, you will need some time and practice to become comfortable and natural at it. Make sure to practice it regularly and you’ll be become good at it in no time. Follow the three steps mentioned below to ensure that you are following the technique correctly:
- Acquire a sitting position or lie down on your back according to your wishes. Put one hand on your belly and the other chest to make the movements more obvious
- Use your nose to breathe slowly while keeping your mouth shut and your chest still. You will feel your belly expanding outwards
- When you reach the maximum breath, exhale through the mouth by squeezing the muscles of your stomach and slowly lower the belly again
Exercise More Often
One of the easiest and most accessible ways to increase brain blood flow and circulation is through daily exercise. Studies suggest that exercise can increase blood flow to the brain by 15%. The best part is you do not need to engage in high-intensity exercises to reap these benefits; even a 30-minute brisk wall can do the trick just fine. As you add exercise to your daily life, you’ll start experiencing countless other benefits, such as improved heart health and well-maintained body weight.
Get Cold Exposure
Exposing yourself to cold is another simple way of improving the flow of blood to the brain and increasing the oxygen content that reaches it. A lot of research has already been done exploring the positive effects of cold showers on the blood flow and circulation. Some studies have also found that even holding your hand in ice water for 60 seconds can significantly speed up the blood flow to the brain.
Try taking a cold shower or going out in the colder seasons with lesser clothing than usual. Whatever you do, keep in mind that hypothermia can hit you if you go over the board, so be careful.
Did you know that even sitting quietly can improve your brain health. Meditation is a popular technique adopted by many to primarily promote relaxation. However, it may lead to several other benefits, such as:
- Reducing anxiety
- Enhancing self-awareness
- Managing high stress levels
- Improving sleep
- Preventing memory loss
- Making emotional health better
- Optimizing cognitive functions, such as focus and attention
What many people may not know is meditation also increases brain blood flow and oxygenates the organ well.
Eat a Nutritious Diet
Another long-term habit of keeping your brain well-oxygenated is ensuring you eat healthily. There are various ingredients that you can consider adding to your daily diet to improve the blood flow and oxygen supply to neurons and other brain tissues. One such nutrient is the omega-3 fatty acids that can improve memory and mood, reduce brain inflammation, and protect the brain against dementia, cognitive impairment, and Alzheimer’s disease. These omega-3s are abundant in cold-water fish, like salmon, sablefish, herring, black cod, and sardines.
Eating dark chocolate is another way to improve the blood flow to the brain. The flavonoids present in dark chocolate have been found to increase the blood flow to all critical areas of the brain for up to three hours after consumption. Resveratrol is an antioxidant naturally present in red wine, dark chocolate, grapes, and raspberries. It can prevent the brain from neurodegenerative diseases and get more oxygen and blood to the brain.
Lastly, drinking blueberry juice also increases how much oxygen reaches your brain. Whole more research is needed on the topic; experts believe that these positive effects are due to the presence of flavonoids in blueberries.
Acupuncture has been gaining a lot of popularity in the Western world for many years. Among the multiple benefits is its ability to increase blood flow and oxygen delivery to the brain. Research has confirmed that people who participate in acupuncture experience an increase in the speed of blood flow to both brain hemispheres during and after the session. Animal studies have further confirmed that this Chinese technique can improve cerebral blood flow and circulation.
Listen to Music
Music is a natural mood lifter that helps improve the levels of dopamine and oxytocin while reducing the stress hormone. The latest evidence has revealed that listening to music or engaging in musical training can also increase the blood flow to the brain.
Avoid Intoxicating Your Brain
Try to avoid as many toxic substances from entering your brain as possible as they can severely hinder mental performance and may interrupt blood flow. Try cutting back on the amount of alcohol you consume and refrain from using illegal drugs, cigarettes, and even too much caffeine.
Get a Restoring Sleep
A good night’s sleep is essential to preserve the health of your brain. Despite the increasing awareness regarding the benefits of sleeping well, millions of people worldwide continue to suffer from sleep-related issues without seeking help. If you are among these individuals, focus on improving your sleep habits to ensure that you are getting 6 to 8 hours of deep, restful slumber for a well-oxygenated and healthy brain.
There is nothing that hurts your brain more than high levels of anxiety and stress. Multiple studies have shown that negative thoughts can severely disrupt normal brain functions and eradicate the brain’s hippocampal and memory centers. Try adding more relaxing activities to your daily life to reduce stress levels.
Takeaway: Building Long-Term Health Habits
There are several easy and accessible ways to improve the oxygen levels reaching your brain. Daily exercise, healthy eating, and regular engagement in mindful and therapeutic activities can easily boost your brain health and ensure that it remains well-oxygenated for optimal functioning. So are you ready to begin your journey toward long-term brain health?