Air pollution has now reached hazardous levels with pollutants that include carbon monoxide (CO), volatile organic compounds (VOC), carbon dioxide (CO2), particulate matter (PM) and nitrogen oxide (NO2). According to the WHO air pollution (indoor and ambient) kills about 7 million people every year.

Immediate effects of air pollution include:

• Irritation of the nose, eyes, and throat

• Dizziness

• Fatigue

• Headaches

Some pollutants can cause asthma or may aggravate the pre-existing condition. These are short-term effects which can be treated, but long-term effects include cancer, heart diseases and respiratory diseases. These may occur after repeated and long exposure to toxic air.

Diet plays an important role when it comes to fighting off diseases, infections and hazardous effects of air pollution. This article talks about foods that can help you to fight the ill effects of toxic air pollution.

• Turmeric: The curcumin in turmeric has anti-inflammatory properties that can protect our lungs from the toxic air.

• Tomato: They are loaded with lycopene, a powerful antioxidant that helps reduce inflammation in the airways. Tomatoes also contain immunity-boosting vitamin C, and beta carotene that helps enhance the lung functioning as it slows down its wear and tear.

• Spinach: It contains beta-carotene, magnesium, lutein and zeaxanthin that help boost the immune system and protects us from the ill effects of air pollution.

• Flaxseeds: It contains omega-3 fatty acids and phytoestrogens. Omega-3 fatty acids help to reduce the effects of smog while the phytoestrogens help reduce the symptoms of allergic reactions in the lungs.

• Broccoli: It contains sulforaphane which helps in expelling carcinogenic (cancer-causing) substances through stool, and the vitamin C content helps to strengthen our immune system.

Also, include the following nutrients in your daily diet:

• Vitamin E Sources: Include olive oil, almonds, sunflower seeds, basil, etc.

• Vitamin C Sources: Include guava, orange, amla, coriander, lemon, etc.

• Beta Carotene: Leafy vegetables like coriander, amaranth, methi, lettuce and spinach, carrots, radish, etc. are good sources of beta carotene.

• Omega-3 Fats: Include walnuts, chia seeds, mustard seeds, methi seeds, kala chana, etc.

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