Breathing provides our body with oxygen and allows us to release carbon dioxide. We generally use our nose to breathe. Breathing through the mouth, however, is observed in cases of nasal congestion. A lot of people end up breathing through their mouths, especially during sleep. This could lead to a lot of health concerns.
Nasal breathing is essential not just for your overall health, but also to aid weight loss. Nutritionist Pooja Makhija took to Instagram to share the science behind nasal and mouth breathing, and how to improve nasal breathing for weight loss.
“Our autonomic nervous system has two main branches — sympathetic and parasympathetic. The sympathetic branch is responsible for our ‘fight or flight’ response, whereas the parasympathetic branch is responsible for the ‘rest and digest, tend and befriend’ response. Basically the sympathetic branch gets you fired up and primed for movement, and the parasympathetic branch puts the brakes on and chills your body out,” the nutritionist said.
She added, “Mouth breathing biases your body towards a sympathetic state, whereas nasal breathing activates the parasympathetic response. If the body is stuck in this state due to chronic stress and breathing dysfunction, it won’t effectively rebuild tissue from all of the HIIT workouts you are doing.”
Sharing how nasal breathing is essential for weight loss, Makhija said, “Since a large portion of this recovery process happens while you sleep, it is especially important to breathe in a way that shifts your nervous system state into ‘rest and digest’ mode. This is why nasal breathing is so important for weight loss.”
She, further suggested ways to improve nasal breathing. “Obviously, we switch to oral breathing only when our nasal passage is blocked. Good quality Vitamin C supplements (and foods), curcumin (opens up sinus blockages), zinc-rich foods and supplements can really help improve nasal breathing (provided of course, that’s the prime reason and not a deviated septum). Speak with your nutritionist for exact doses and duration,” she said.