National Pollution Control Day 2021 is observed annually on December 2 to remember the people who lost lives during 1984 Bhopal Gas Tragedy. It is also the day to raise awareness about the hazards of air pollution. Sadly nine among ten people across the world do not have access to safe air and consequently face risk of respiratory disorders, lung cancer, brain or kidney damage and heart disease in long run.
The northern parts of India during this time of the year especially are in the grip of severe pollution which makes it risky for people to step out in mornings or evenings for their daily walks, or for their commute to workplaces. While more measures need to be taken to address the problem of air pollution in India, it is at the same time important to make certain lifestyle changes that protect us from the harmful effects of pollution.
Eating certain foods can help boost immunity and reduce the effects of pollution. For example, a diet rich in Vitamins, Omega fatty acids or including herbs and spices like ginger, turmeric, peppermint, tulsi, cloves, cinnamon can help you fight with the harmful effects of pollution. On the other hand processed and sugar-laden food can increase inflammation in the body and must be avoided.
Here are some foods you must take to fight air pollution and smog, suggested by Dr. Vipul Rustgi, MBBS MD Medicine, Consultant physician and Diabetologist, Apollo Spectra, Delhi.
Vitamin C: If winters have become the season of high pollution in Delhi NCR, it is also the season of citrus fruits like oranges that can help reduce inflammation and allergic response. The Vitamin-C rich food can enhance immunity and reduce the effects of air pollution in the body. “Go for vitamin C-rich foods like oranges, strawberries, apples, watermelons to reduce the inflammatory allergic response. Vitamin C is also present in vegetables like red bell peppers, kale, parsley, broccoli, cauliflower, spinach,” says Dr Rustgi.
Food rich in Vitamin E: Olive oil, sunflower seeds, almonds, hazelnuts, avocado are jam-packed with vitamin E and offer that much-needed protection against air pollution.
Omega fatty acids: Various studies have confirmed that foods containing omega-fatty acids can lower inflammation and even oxidative stress owing to air pollution. Eat walnuts, flaxseeds, chia seeds, and salmon.
Vitamin A: Eating carrots, kale, sweet potatoes, apricots that are jam-packed with essential vitamin A.
* Apples contain phenolic acids and flavonoids that help in reducing inflammation in the air passageways owing to air pollution. Pineapple contains the enzyme which reduces swelling of the airways and helps you tackle cough problems.
* Ginger allows you to remove pollutants from the airways and reduce lung irritation.
*Green tea is loaded with antioxidants that allow you to combat allergy symptoms caused due to air pollution and clear the airways. But, avoid going overboard on green tea. Drinking enough water also helps to flush out toxins from the body.
* Peppermint helps to stimulate the lungs and soothes the respiratory tract. You can have peppermint tea as well.
* Turmeric has curative properties that can help one to get rid of cough and cold.
* Tulsi (basil) can help one overcome throat irritation. Opt for basil tea or garnish the soup using basil leaves. You can chew raw basil leaves too.
* Tomatoes are a good source of vitamins and minerals and help one avoid respiratory problems.
* Vegetables like coriander leaves, drumsticks, parsley can also do the trick and help you build a strong immune system.
* Take kadhas containing cloves, pepper, cinnamon, honey, turmeric only after consulting the expert.