Air pollution can cause damage to the body’s cells and increase their degeneration. Pollution increases the amount of free radicals formed in the body whichare responsible for clinical conditions and also cause aging. Respiratory tract infections, breathing difficulty, increased levels of stress, heart problems and other diseases are on an increase due to alarming levels of pollutants in the air. Two organs which need the maximum protection against pollution are the liver and the lung. These two need to be detoxified so as to reduce the damaging effects of free radicals on these organs.
Many nutrients in foods have been identified to boost immunity, detoxify the body and help it get rid of the free radicals:
These are organic compounds found in green tea, berries, cruciferous vegetables like cauliflower and broccoli and green leafy vegetables like spinach and mustard leaves. Also in Dark chocolates and coffee.These are plant metabolites and are found in abundance in colored plants. These are easy to incorporate in diet and help to reduce cell damage due to pollution
It is found in good quantities in citrus fruits like oranges, lemons, sweet lime, strawberries, etc. It is most abundant in Indian gooseberry (amla).Vitamin C is a very powerful antioxidant and helps in reducing body’s oxidativestress. It helps to prevent many clinical conditions like cold and flu and also helps in rebuilding bones, tissues and blood. It is very powerful nutrient which protects the lungs from damage caused by pollutants in the air. So,good doses of vitamin C in the daily diet ensure protection against the damage caused by air pollution.
Vitamin E and Omega-3 fatty acids:
Nuts and oil seeds are all rich sources of this vitamin. Vitamin E is a fat soluble vitamin andhelps to protect the body against the cell damage caused by pollutants, which increase production of free radicals in the body. This vitamin is essential for the proper functioning of our immune system. Almonds, seeds of pumpkin and sunflower, soybean, and tulsi leaves (basil) are rich in this vitamin.Omega-3 fatty acid is found in fish (salmon), nuts and oil seeds. Walnuts and flax seeds are also excellent sources of omega-3 fatty acids. A diet high in omega-3 fatty acids reduces inflammation and improves lung function. It also improves the efficacy of respiratory disease medicines.
It is one of the most important antioxidant vitamins that helps the body maintain strong and healthy cells. It reduces inflammation and helps in maintaining the neurological functions. Mango, papaya, carrot, orange, green leafy vegetables and dairy products are rich sources of this vitamin.
It is an antioxidant which protects against respiratory diseases. Lycopene is found in all red fruits and vegetables. Its richest source is tomatoes. It is also found in papaya, watermelon, red peppers etc.
Apart from theseimportant nutrients two foods that need to be included in the daily diet to improve immunity are Curcumin (haldi) and Jaggery (gur). Both of these have powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. These help to flush out the pollutants from the lungs and liver.
10 simple ways to improve amounts of antioxidant dose in diet:
- Become fruit friendly to protect your lungs.
- Drink plenty of liquids in the form of soups, green tea and lemonades.
- Use more of berries in diet including them in fruit yogurt and smoothies.
- Nuts and oil seeds can be consumed as mid meal snacks.
- Replace simple sugar with jaggery to sweeten up the foods and also tea and coffee.
- Use more of red yellow green vegetables and fruits in daily diet. Include up to 500-700 grams of these in a day.
- Add flaxseeds to smoothies or salads.
- Ginger and turmeric (curcumin) can be the spices of the season.
- Fish and dairy products must be the part of one main meal
- Use lots of fresh tomatoes to protect against respiratory illnesses.
It is advisable to include probiotics in daily diet to improve absorption of these nutrients and improve gut flora. Healthy gut flora is important for reducing inflammation and enhances healing combined with detoxification.
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