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The importance of being a nose breather

Side view of an arab woman smelling a flower

The importance of being a nose breather:

The nose serves an important purpose by supporting the health of the entire respiratory tract (your lungs and oxygen/carbon dioxide exchange system). Let’s take a look at the actual functions of the nose in breathing.

1. The nose serves to filter air and cleanse it of allergens, pollutants and particles that are irritating to the lower respiratory tract that consists of the wind pipe (trachea) and bronchial tubes (the air pipes to and within the lungs).

2. The nose humidifies the air we breathe so that it is conditioned for the rest of the respiratory system. This prevents drying of the lower airway that causes irritation and possibly cough. It also results in dry throat.

3. Nasal breathing is more efficient and studies have demonstrated that exercising while breathing through the nose results in less fatigue and better oxygen exchange (improve VO2 max) versus mouth breathing.

4. Nasal breathing delivers air at body temperature as opposed to the ambient temperature that occurs with mouth breathing. Again, this improves oxygen exchange and reduces irritation further down the airway.

5. Nasal breathing is associated with the release of nitric oxide which promotes gas exchange of O2 into the blood and CO2 out. This also improves respiration.

6. The nose is the first part of a resistance circuit in the upper/lower airway system. If Nasal obstruction occurs it increases resistance to airflow that contributes to sleep apnea and sleep disordered breathing (including snoring).

Clearly, nasal breathing improves health in a number of ways and allows our body to perform optimally. if you have frequent nasal congestion/obstruction, check with your healthcare provider to determine the cause and the best course of correction.

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