Why Do I Need Plants to Breathe?

In general, food, water and shelter are defined as our most basic needs. Apart from these three, there is one more thing without which no human can survive and that is known as air. Why is air required? It is essential for breathing. Do you know what breathing is?

In simple terms breathing is a process through which we take air or oxygen inside our body (inhale) and expel air or carbon dioxide (exhale) from our body.

Now, the main question is how plants are related to our breathing?

There is a system inside the human body that is responsible for carrying out the entire process of respiration termed the respiratory system.

What is respiration?

Respiration is the exchange of carbon dioxide and oxygen within our body.

  • During the process of respiration, oxygen is taken inside the body through the nose through which is used by our body and carbon dioxide is expelled out of the body.
  • In the case of plants, a specialized process called photosynthesis occurs which can be looked at as the opposite of respiration – they take up carbon dioxide from the air and release oxygen at the end of the process. Hence, it is said to plant more trees in your surrounding to increase the level of oxygen in atmospheric air.

Have you ever wondered why is oxygen so important for our body? What is its role in human development?

     Well, oxygen is used by our body to produce energy to meet up all our demands. Each and every cell of the human body need oxygen to get some energy. And carbon dioxide is the waste product of the respiratory cycle as it is toxic to the body. Therefore, it is removed from the body.

What is the role of carbon dioxide in plants?

  • Plants prepare their own food through a process called “photosynthesis”.
  • During photosynthesis, plants use sunlight, water and carbon dioxide to create their food.
  • The product of this reaction is obtained in the form of oxygen and some energy (sugar).
  • The oxygen gained during this process is released into the air.
  • And in this way plants prove to be helpful for us to breathe.

Now, it is important to note that plants also respire and like humans, they take up oxygen and release carbon dioxide. However, plants only carry out respiration during the night.

Now let us get to know the organs of the respiratory system in humans along with their main functions:

  • Nose- It allows for the entrance of air into our body.
  • Mouth- when normal breathing through the nose is not enough, the mouth can be used as the secondary opening for inhalation of air.
  • Pharynx- Also called as throat. It serves as a pathway for air.
  • Larynx- Also called the voice box. It connects the lower part of the pharynx to the trachea.
  • Trachea- Also called windpipe. Its primary function is to transport air to and from the lungs.
  • Bronchi- They are the main passage for air to pass into the lungs.
  • Lungs- Lungs are the key organs for respiration. They allow the gaseous exchange to happen through which oxygen is absorbed by the cells and carbon dioxide is removed from the body.
  • Diaphragm- It is the main muscle of respiration. It helps in respiratory movements of the lungs by contracting and relaxing.


Fun Facts:

  • Lungs are the only organs, which can float on water.
  • We take around 17,000 breathes each day that is about 2000 gallons of air.


  • Enlist the organs which help in respiration in human being.
  • What is the role of the diaphragm in respiration?
  • What is the larynx?

True or False:

  1. Plants help us by giving out oxygen for respiration.
  2. Inhalation means taking the air inside the body through the nose.
  3. The heart is the main organ of respiration.
  4. Oxygen is used by each and every cell of the human body to produce energy.
  5. Photosynthesis is the name of a process that takes place in humans.

Objective Quiz:

  1. _________ means expelling the air out through nose.
    1. Inhalation.
    2. Exhalation.
    3. Breathing.
    4. None of the above.
  2. The chief organ for respiratory system is ________.
    1. Heart.
    2. Lungs.
    3. Kidney.
    4. Eyes.
  3. __________ is the main muscle of respiration.
    1. Diaphragm.
    2. Deltoid.
    3. Gluteus Maximus.
    4. All of the above.
  4. _________ is also known as voice box.
    1. Larynx.
    2. Pharynx.
    3. Trachea.
    4. Mouth.
  5. During exhalation _________ is exhaled out through nose.
    1. Oxygen.
    2. Carbon dioxide.
    3. Water.
    4. Iron.

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