Diets that can reduce harmful effects of air pollution!
Can't lessen air pollution? You could, at least, keep your system immune to its harmful reactions...
Take a deep breath. As per The World Health Organization (WHO), pollution is the fifth leading cause of death in India, after high blood pressure and tobacco smoking. WHO says Delhi's air quality is worse than Beijing - a city where rising levels of air pollution has brought about a new disease -- Beijing cough.
Experts feel that general public doesn't even know what exactly constitutes air pollution. "Air contamination is caused not just by industries and vehicles. Dust mites, chemicals in carpets, air fresheners, off-gassing from plastics also add up to the toxic onslaught that your lungs have to bear," says Priya Dhammi-Sharma, registered holistic nutritionist .What' s alarming is that air pollution is not just linked to sinus infections, asthma and lung diseases, but also considered to be an autism trigger. It is also linked to heart attacks, sperm mutation and fetal intelligence wellbeing.
BROCCOLI, THE BOOSTER
"Keep your immune system fortified with the right diet, detox plan and breathing exercises. These are the best ways to minimise the harmful effects of air pollution," says nutritionist and food consultant Jia Singh. Winter or no winter, add broccoli to your daily diet. This wonder veggie, apart from being a great cancer combatant, goes a long way in protecting you from air and vehicular pollution, ac cording to a study at Johns Hopkins University. A clinical trial, conducted in Jiangsu Province -one of China's most polluted regions -found that consuming a beverage that included broccoli sprouts helped participants to excrete toxins associated with ozone air pollution. To neutralise free radical damage caused by air contamination, the two organs we need to support and detoxify regularly are lungs and liver. "Rejuvenate your lungs with oregano, orange peel, eucalyptus and peppermint and eat grapefruits, beet, carrots, apples, cabbage, avocado for a clean liver," says Sharma.
According to Singh, Vitamin C taken in dietary and supplement form along with tincture of echinacea (herbal remedy) helps build the immune system, making you less susceptible to allergies. Simply put, foods containing Vitamin C, such as oranges, strawberries, apples, watermelons, counteract the inflammatory allergic response. Good food sources of Vitamin C are guavas, red bell peppers, kale, parsley, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, papayas, spinach, citrus fruits, green onion and more.
Thai and Japanese food lovers would be pleased to know that spicy foods with a little kick can actually kick out allergy symptoms. Ginger, anise, fennel and hot mustard can all act as natural decongestants. "Green tea, tulsi, ginger and cinnamon are powerful adaptogens (herbal ingredients used to improve the health of adrenal system) that enable the body to handle stressors like pollution and environmental toxins. Raw turmeric also has curative properties that protect you from chronic bronchitis, wheezing, allergy coughs and colds.Drink an anti-inflammatory tea made from tulsi, ginger and raw turmeric to see the difference," recommends Singh. Eating a diet rich in natural antihistamines (drugs for allergies) can help forestall allergic reactions. Try magnesium-rich foods such as almonds, cashews and wheat bran since magnesium is a natural bronchodilator (agent that relaxes the breathing tubes inside lungs). "Omega-3 fatty acids are also capable of reducing allergic reactions and soothe inflammation. Eat Omega-3 rich foods like walnuts, flaxseeds and oils such as mustard, canola and flaxseed," counsels Taranjeet Kaur, metabolic balance coach.