Food that helps build resistance against air pollution

New Delhi (IANSlife) The air that we all are breathing has reached dangerous levels of pollution yet again. People with no known history of respiratory problems are visiting hospital emergency rooms.

As the hazardous air quality in a few cities touched the severe plus mark last week, Practo, integrated healthcare company, witnessed a growth of 20 percent in respiratory related queries in cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad and Kolkata. Here, 35 percent of all queries from metro cities were related to respiratory and pulmonary health concerns.

The polluted air that everyone inhales injects ozone, nitrogen dioxide, and particulate matter into the lungs.

The protective antioxidants available in the lining of our lungs counter it until they are out forced, after which the pollutants begin attacking the immune system. Then the body cells form free radicals that cause inflammation. However, did you know that antioxidants from the food you eat could lend protection from the harmful impact caused by air pollutants? Here are some natural antioxidants that can help your body deal with this problem.

Vitamin E

This fat-soluble vitamin is our first line of defense against any injury to human tissues. Vitamin E in our diet generally comes from plant-based cooking oils. Sunflower, safflower, rice bran oil are some of the sources followed by canola, peanut, and olive oil. Almonds and seeds of sunflowers are also good sources of this vitamin. Seeds and nuts are rich in fat calories too. So around one ounce per day is sufficient. In addition, you can avail them in the form of spices and herbs such as chili powder, paprika, cloves, and basil, which contain a decent amount of vitamin E. Generally, most of these are consumed in very small quantities. Making them a part of your regular cooking will help add up to the required total.

Beta Carotene

It plays a very critical role in controlling inflammation due to its antioxidant activity. It is also converted to vitamin A in your body. Leafy vegetables such as spinach, amaranth, methi, and coriander are some of the best sources of beta carotene. Carrots and radish leaves are also very effective.

Vitamin C

It is amongst the most potent antioxidant for our bodies. This water-soluble vitamin is found all through our body and it removes free radicals. Vitamin C also contributes to the regeneration of vitamin E. Sufficient vitamin C in our regular diet is important for maintaining its level in the lungs. Adults require around 40mg of this vitamin/day. Fruits such as oranges, amla, and guava are good sources while amongst the vegetables, cabbage and turnip greens contain vitamin C.

Omega-3 Fats

These safeguard the body against the detrimental impact of air pollution on everyone’s heart health and lipid profile. Nuts and seeds such as walnuts, chia seeds, and flaxseeds are good sources while other seeds such as methi, mustard, rajma, black chana, also provide omega-3.

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