Why Correct Breathing Is As Important As Nutrition

Correct breathing has physical and mental health benefits. Often dismissed as something you only do in yoga classes, breathing techniques are highly underrated. This is especially considering the fact that when it comes to fitness, the one thing that’s discussed at length is nutrition.

Ayurveda has always stressed on the importance of breathing right. Of late, however, more researchers have been looking into the effect of breathing techniques for health. This is because improper breathing might adversely affect your health.

Improper Breathing Causes Health Disorders

Mouth breathing causes problems in growth.

Normal breathing is through the nose, silent, smooth, and almost invisible. But most people have improper breathing habits. And, although it is generally used as an insult, mouth breathing is a legitimate problem. It has a negative effect on facial and dental development, particularly in kids. Specifically, it leads to the development of long, narrow faces, narrow mouths, high palatal vaults, dental malocclusion, gummy smiles, and many other unattractive facial features. Symptoms of mouth

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breathing include:

  • Noisy, visible breathing
  • Snoring
  • Frequent night waking
  • Dry mouth
  • Dry, cracked lips
  • Night sweating
  • Daytime fatigue
  • Behavioral issues (in children)
  • Bad breath
  • Poor asthma control

If you have a persistent blocked nose that you tend to chalk up to “allergies” then you might be breathing through your mouth.1 2 3 Hence, breathing is just as important as nutrition for proper growth and development of children as well as managing asthma, bad breath, and allergies. However, there are other conditions that depend on both, proper breathing and nutrition.

Breathing And Nutrition Work Hand In Hand

Breathing is important to prevent health disorders.

Although it might seem inconsequential, paying attention to your

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breathing might bring with it a host of benefits. This is because your well-being requires both good nutrition and breathing.

1. To Improve Autonomic Functions

Anti-inflammatory foods prevent disorders in the autonomic system.4 However, proper breathing has a positive effect on heart rate, digestion, respiratory rate, pupillary response, urination, and sexual arousal.5 Hence, it’s important to pay attention to both to stay healthy.

2. To  Relieve Stress And Anxiety

While nutritional supplements as well as abstinence from caffeine and alcohol can relieve stress and anxiety,6 research also indicates that breathing techniques, especially meditation that focuses on the breath, relieves stress and anxiety. It might also treat post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, and stress-related medical illnesses.7

3. To Improve Symptoms Of Bronchial Asthma

The Mediterranean diet is recommended to those who have asthma.8 Studies state that breathing techniques also significantly improve lung function and the symptoms of bronchial asthma.9

4. To Reduce Muscle Fatigue

A good balance of macro- and micronutrients is suggested to improve muscle function.10 And, during exercise, the breathing technique is important to supply oxygen to the muscles. Improper breathing causes insufficient supply of oxygen to muscles, resulting in the production of lactic acid. This in turn causes weak, painful, and tired muscles.11

5. To Improve Digestion

Not just probiotics and fiber,12 proper breathing techniques might also aid digestion. In fact, breathing techniques are used to improve lung function and digestion in people with genetically inherited cystic fibrosis.13 However, there isn’t enough research yet to substantiate breathing’s effects on digestion.

6. To Enhance Immune Function

Correct breathing techniques might also improve immunity just like nutrition does.14 In martial arts, it is believed that breathing right activates “Ki energy,” which improves overall health.15 Breathing right might seem like a difficult task but a simple exercise can help you get there.

Learn To Breathe
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Right With These Simple Breathing Exercises

 Simple Breathing Exercises To Try

Breathing exercises will help you improve your breathing technique.16 Here are two simple breathing exercises

  • Deep Breathing: Sit comfortably, pull your elbows back firmly, and inhale deeply. Hold your breath for 5 counts. Exhale slowly and completely. Repeat this for 5 minutes.
  • Diaphragm Breathing: Lie on your back with your knees bent. Place your fingers on your belly just below your rib cage. As you inhale deeply, your belly and lower ribs should rise as your chest remains (fairly) still. Inhale for 3 counts and exhale for 6 counts.

Focusing on your breathing might not be as popular as focusing on your nutrition anytime soon. However, remember that it is just as important. Focusing on your breathing and practicing correct breathing techniques regularly will help you improve your overall health.

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