So finally, the Infamous Air Pollution is back in North India. Levels of PM 2.5 particulates are increasing and so are the AQI levels & smog, resulting in cough, headache, breathing disorders, asthma, chest infection, bronchitis etc….
People living in the northern part of India are reeling under the impact of breathing polluted air for the past couple of weeks. As per the center-run System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research (SAFAR), the air quality index (AQI) in Delhi was recorded at 358, falling under the ‘very poor’ quality category. And this is likely to increase further in days and weeks to come.
As per the recent “State of Global Air report 2020”, Air pollution is the largest risk factor for deaths in India and 4th largest reason for deaths across the world.
Ok! Let’s accept it!
Lets accept that despite all the efforts of Govt., Institutions, and common citizens, Air Quality Index (AQI) is not coming under control and Air Pollution is not going to go away so easily & so soon.
As our beloved Prime Minister Modi says, it’s time to become “Aatmanirbhar”
Meaning, all of us need to take actions, which are directly under control…
Changing our diet for next few months is one such action!
What are Anti Pollution Foods?
You must be wondering that we have heard a lot about anti-pollution masks, anti-pollution drive/ measures/Cream/lotions, etc. etc. but not about anti pollution foods.
Well, Anti pollution Food is a diet plan, which helps our immune system in fighting pollution and other atmospheric aggressors. This comprises of certain Immunity Booster food items, drinks & certain ayurvedic ingredients.
The whole idea is to prepare ourselves better for the upcoming season of high Air Pollution.
We all know the reasons of air pollution and what harm it does to our body and mind. Hence, I will not bore you with this regular stuff.
The purpose of this article is to focus on the way forward…. Explore options, which is directly under OUR CONTROL to keep ourselves safe & healthy for the next 3-4 months.
During high pollution, staying indoors is considered as the best option. However, if you check carefully, indoor air quality could be even worse than outdoor air.
Also, with festivals around the corner, it’s very hard to remain muted & then you will also say that I am already at home since March (courtesy Covid 19).
So in nutshell, while staying indoors is better, it’s unlikely to save us fully from Air pollution.
Then, what’s the next best option?
Following an improved diet plan is one such option, which is fully in our control, easy to implement & will provide the necessary boost to our body & mind to remain healthy and fit.
During Air pollution, the Lungs are the most impacted part of our body as during breathing, we inhale nitrogen dioxide, ozone, particulate matter, diesel exhaust particles, etc.
Lungs and liver need our support and regular detoxification during high pollution time. (A regular indoor exercise for lungs is always beneficial in such situations of high air pollution)
Antioxidants protect us from free radicals produced by toxic air particles entering in our bodies. Free radicals are unstable molecules that can cause inflammation, causing issues ranging from disease to premature aging. The protective antioxidants present in the linings of our lungs fight it out till they are outnumbered. These antioxidants neutralize the free radicals to prevent them from doing damage, so by ensuring your food is rich in antioxidants, you can help your body protect itself from air pollution.
The Anti-Pollution Foods: What to Eat during pollution
Vitamin C is one of the most powerful antioxidants so it should be top of our list if we are looking to combat the effects of pollution. This is a Water-Soluble Vitamin & our body cannot produce or store this vital vitamin. Therefore, it’s very important that we include it in our daily diet plan. Vitamin C works to recycle vitamin E, as well as being essential for collagen synthesis.
Example:- Broccoli, Beetroot, Cauliflower, Parsley, Kale, Amla, Spinach, Red bell peppers & above all, Cirrus Fruits
Vitamin E is an effective antioxidant in the human body. Our body needs vitamin E to boost its immune system so that it can fight off invading bacteria and viruses. It helps to widen blood vessels and keep blood from clotting within them. In addition, cells use vitamin E to interact with each other and to carry out many important functions.
Vitamin E is fat-soluble, so eating good quality dietary fats support absorption.
Oil sources of vitamin E, such as olive oil, are best consumed as salad dressings rather than as cooking oils, as heating oils to high temperatures damage them.
Example:- Olive Oil, Hazelnuts, Almonds, Avocado
Many studies have confirmed that Omega-3 fatty acids are directly related to the reduction of oxidative stress & irritation caused by air pollution. Omega-3 fatty acids are also capable of reducing allergic reactions and soothe inflammation. They’re also crucial for the brain and heart.
However, most of us don’t get this enough, as its food sources are largely from animals & are very limited.
Hence, if you are a vegan or vegetarian & If you don’t eat Omega-3 rich food, then you might want to consider a good quality supplement.
Example:- Carrots, Kale, Beetroot, Apricots, Sweet Potatoes, Yellow Peppers, Red bell peppers
Dietary beta-carotene is converted to vitamin A in the body where it has anti-inflammatory (and anti-aging) properties. Vitamin A is also vital for reproductive health, eye health, and a healthy functioning immune system.
Example:- Flax Seeds, Walnuts, Chia Seeds, Musterd Oil, Canola Oil, Oysters, Salmon Fish, Mackerel Fish
Cruciferous vegetables are named after the Latin word “Crucifix” because the blossoms of these plants resemble a cross.
These vegetables help the immune system to fight intestinal pathogens. They are low-calorie & rich in folate, vitamins C, E, and K, and fiber. They are also good sources of phytonutrients, which are plant-based compounds that may help lower inflammation.
Example:- Broccoli, Cauliflower, Kale, Cabbage, Radish, Spinach, Turnip
Adding these vegetables to the daily diet helps fight inflammation and reduces the risk of developing lung cancer and other air-pollution-borne diseases.
Anti Pollution Drinks:-
1. Wholesome Anti Pollution Smoothie:-
Topping the chart is a simple, 3-ingredient smoothie that is rich in both Vitamin C and antioxidants to support the body’s immune system.
Carrot is one of the superfoods we love in this season. It is an excellent source of vitamins A, C, D, E, K, B1, and B6. The phytonutrients and antioxidants in carrots help protect our lungs from infections and free-radical attacks. Moreover, carrot juice helps in easing nasal congestion that happens because of the excess of pollution and smoke in the air we breathe.
Beetroot is of exceptional nutritional value, especially the greens, which are rich in calcium; iron, vitamins A and C. Beetroots are also an excellent source of folic acid & fiber, manganese and potassium Courtesy presence of anti-inflammatory properties and antioxidants, they help treat the uneasiness and irritation.
Amla is known to be a powerful home remedy to treat cough. It helps in strengthening and nourishing our lungs (which are a major source of Kapha dosha in the body) and the entire respiratory tract. Amla is a vitamin C-rich fruit. Consuming sufficient amounts of vitamin C every day is necessary to combat the ill-effects of pollution on our bodies.
Thoroughly clean all three ingredients. Peel off the outer layer of carrots, beetroot & amla if required. Add them together in a blender (avoid juicer plz) so that you get all the fibers present in these nutritious ingredients. Add some ginger, a little water & blend them. Add black pepper and rock salt to it. Garnishing with a dash of Mint will enhance both flavors as well as immunity benefits. Drink this concoction during this season of High Pollution to ease respiratory problems.
2. Turmeric Ginger Drink:-
Turmeric contains curcumin, which is anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anti-cancerous, and also has anti-toxicity properties. This aids in removing harmful toxins from the body while protecting the organs from further damage. Ginger also helps to heal nausea which is caused by too much smoke.
Boil a little Raw Turmeric (If you don’t get Raw Turmeric i.e. Kacchi haldi in local market, then you can use Turmeric powder as well), Tulsi leaves and ginger in a vessel till the time water is reduced to half. Add black pepper, rock salt and a dash of honey or jaggery (as per your taste). Put it to rest till the time it reaches room temperature. Sip 2 table spoons in morning and night to keep your immune system fit.
3. Lemon, Ginger & Peppermint Drink:-
Lemon is known as one of the most natural cleansers and helps in detoxifying the body by working as a diuretic with antioxidants.
It is advised to have lemon water first thing in the morning along with ginger and peppermint, which help unclog the respiratory tract and eliminate toxins from the lungs.
4. Green Tea:-
A cup of warm green tea before going to bed releases toxins from your intestine. This helps in keeping your digestive system healthy and improves lung condition. You can have a cup of green tea with ginger, lemon, or honey as well.
Below 2 are highly effective solutions for curing common respiratory ailments, caused by Air Pollution.
1. Mix turmeric and ghee to relieve cough during asthma. An asthmatic patient can also take turmeric with jaggery and butter for an immediate relief.
2. Onion juice semi liquid paste with Jaggery is said to have an expectorant (a medicine which promotes the secretion of sputum by the air passages, used to treat coughs.) effect. This is an excellent ayurvedic medicine to release both wet and dry cough.
An intelligent change in our daily diet to protect our body & immune system during high pollution days is not only safe and simple but also frugal. As governments & environmental groups continue to play their part in controlling air pollution, incorporating Anti Pollution Foods in our daily diet will significantly reduce the harmful effects of Air Pollution on our body.
Making such an anti pollution drinks may take 5-10 minutes of your day, but will go a long way in strengthening of your immune system.
Add these natural food items to your daily diet for just 2 weeks and you would start noticing an improvement in your health.
Do share your experience. Also, write in the comment section, if you feel that similar health benefits can also be derived from any other food items.
If you like this article, plz feel free to share with your family & friends as well so that even they benefit from these healthy foods in such a high Air Pollution.
Till then, have a safe, healthy, & wealthy life ahead…..
& Above all, Enjoy…….