Foods that combat air pollution

If you are a resident of Delhi-NCR region, then you have reason to be worried. Air pollution has hit all-time high levels, and people are grappling with acute smog, suspended particulate matter and poor Air Quality Index (AQI). The situation is so bad that Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has ordered all schools shut.

The real-time pollution monitors are displaying alarmingly high concentrations of PM2.5 and PM10, which are ultrafine particles in air that you breathe in. Since they are very minute, they can enter your respiratory system, and, subsequently, your bloodstream, causing you immense harm. They can inflame the lining of your bronchial tubes and lungs, resulting in respiratory illnesses such as chronic bronchitis, emphysema, heart disease, lung cancer, asthma, and the like.

So, what can you do to protect yourself?

Apart from staying indoors as much as possible and using masks when you do go out, you need to fortify yourself from within. You need to eat healthy foods rich in Vitamins C and E. Such foods help to clean your system, especially your airways, and reduce the impact of air pollution on your body.

Here’s a list of foods that will help you combat pollution:


Jaggery, or gur as we know it, effectively removes toxins from your body. It cleanses the respiratory tracts, lungs, food pipe, stomach, and intestines. Consuming this natural sweetener on a regular basis can help prevent many respiratory problems, such as asthma and bronchitis.


Tomatoes are an excellent source of Vitamin C, biotin, molybdenum and Vitamin K. They are also rich in copper, potassium, manganese, dietary fiber, beta-carotene, Vitamin B6, folate, niacin, Vitamin E and phosphorus. Tomatoes contain high levels of lycopene, an antioxidant that protects against respiratory illnesses.

Citrus fruits

Citrus fruits, such as oranges, guavas, kiwis, grapefruit, lemons, etc, are rich in Vitamin C. Adequate intake of Vitamin C helps combat several health problems. It also reduces the harmful effects of air pollutants and smog, and helps you improve your respiratory health.

Olive oil

Olive oil is rich in alpha-tocopherol, a type of Vitamin E. Alpha-tocopheral is known to improve lung function. Besides, the fatty acids in olive oil help reduce inflammation. Regular consumption of olive oil protects you against the adverse vascular effects of exposure to air pollution. But do take care to consume only extra-virgin, or virgin olive oil. And remember not to heat olive oil. Have it straight out of the bottle, or add it to your salads.

Green tea

Green tea is loaded with polyphenols such as flavonoids and catechins, which are powerful antioxidants. It, thus, helps you get rid of toxins in your body.


Broccoli has cleansing properties – it detoxifies you from within, helping you get rid of pollutants. The active ingredients of broccoli expunge various air pollutants, leaving you breathing easier.


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