Foods that can protect you from air pollution

Once seen as localized problems of developing countries, air pollution has become a global phenomenon that is hard to shake. Even in areas where the atmospheric pollutants are within legally established limits, they can still increase the risk of acute and chronic health problems.

Lifestyle changes, especially dietary and exercise habits, can reduce the risk of disease development and therefore reduce susceptibility to the effects of air pollution.

Read on to learn healthy foods that can reduce the harmful effects of air pollution on your health.

Vitamin E

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Fruits and vegetables are high in antioxidants and other phytochemicals that can make you less susceptible to the damage of harmful air pollutants. Vitamin E is important because it acts as an antioxidant to fight free radicals, natural by-products blamed for numerous illnesses. It helps to maintain healthy skin, eyes and strengthens your immune system. Vitamin E-rich foods include broccoli, avocado, olives, spinach, sunflower seeds, almonds and peanuts.

Omega-3 Fats

Omega-3 fatty acids (OFAs) attenuate the inflammation and oxidative stress caused by air pollution by up to half. OFAs can be found in a variety of foods including oily fish (like salmon, mackerel and herring), soybeans, flax and pumpkin seeds, walnuts and spinach.

Vitamin C

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Vitamin C has been touted as a crucial part of a diet for a long time – its ability to aid tissue growth and repair is well-known. Increased intake of such antioxidant as vitamin C also may reduce the damage induced by air pollution. Different peppers (including bell and chili peppers), kiwi, parsley, broccoli, kale, cauliflower, tomatoes and citrus fruits are high in vitamin C.


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Vitamin A is converted by the human body from beta-carotene, which is known for its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities. Good food sources of beta-carotene include carrots, sweet potatoes, pumpkins, kale and spinach.


Magnesium is an important nutrient to get into your diet.  In fact, magnesium is one of the seven essential macro minerals that boost your immune system and has a vital role in the optimal functioning of our organism. The best sources of magnesium are dark chocolate (70 percent cocoa or higher), avocados, legumes, almonds, pumpkin and flax seeds.

While it is essential to avoid causing as much air pollution as you can, it is also important to eat healthy to escape from serious hazards caused by air pollutants. And, although you may already know the basics of a healthy diet, what you may not know is that the antioxidants in fruits and vegetables are also one of the best ways to protect yourself and your loved ones from such significant health risk as air pollution. And remember, buying foods from your local farmers market and foods that are grown organically may have higher levels of vitamins and minerals, and it also will benefit the environment as it eliminates the need for all that fuel-guzzling transportation.

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