With the winter setting in, Delhi is in for a tough time. While the temperature drops, the level of pollution increases. You can blame anyone or anything for this air pollution, but that doesn’t change the fact that it’s there and it’s ruining your health. Even if we can’t change anything about the toxic air, we can protect ourselves. Here’s what to eat in pollution and include in your diet on a regular basis so that you don’t suffer the effects of this poisonous air.
1. Beta Carotene
One of the most powerful antioxidants found in nature, beta carotene is an essential component of an anti-pollution diet. A red-orange pigment, beta carotene is found in carrots, lettuce, spinach, methi, broccoli, onions, peas, sweet potatoes, pumpkin and radish leaves. Keep switching between these foods to ensure variety and a regular, healthy dose of beta carotene. Beta carotene is essential because it converts to Vitamin A in the human body, an essential vitamin for immunity, skin health and the health of your eyes and lungs. Ingesting Vitamin A through beta carotene ensure you get the dosage your body needs, nothing more or less.
2. Vitamin C
Vitamin C, another powerful antioxidant, is easy to include in your daily diet. Found in abundance in fruits like oranges, amla, and guava, healthy adults should be eating something rich in Vitamin C at least once a day. You can also find a healthy dose of Vitamin C in other citrus fruits, strawberries, tomatoes, papaya, broccoli, sunflower seeds, almonds, and dark leafy green vegetables. This vitamin helps in tissue growth, repair and development in the human body. It also helps in forming collagen, absorbing iron more effectively, and the maintenance of bone and dental health. Vitamin C also guards the body against external pollutants like smoke.
3. Vitamin E
Vitamin E contributes to the health of your skin and hair and protects them from oxidative stress. You can also use Vitamin E oil on your face if you face excessive dryness in the winter. However, overuse of this oil can lead to breakouts so it’s best to test it out first. Vitamin E, in general, can protect your immunity and negate the harmful effects of pollution on your skin and lungs. Eat almonds, sunflower seeds, use plant-based cooking oils like sunflower, canola and olive oil, and include herbs like oregano, parsley and basil in your diet. Seafood like salmon and roe are also good sources of Vitamin E.
4. Omega 3 fatty acids
As mentioned earlier, fish should be a part of your diet for its Vitamin E component. But fish also has other benefits like a good dose of Omega 3 fatty acids which are an essential part of a healthy diet. Omega 3 fats protect your heart from suffering the ill effects of the dirty air outside. Eat fish like salmon and mackerel to reap the full benefits of seafood. Use cod liver oil, eat flax seeds, chia seeds, rajma, kala chana and walnuts to fulfil your daily Vitamin E requirement.
5. Ayurvedic remedies
The good part about Ayurvedic remedies is that most of the ingredients would already be in your kitchen cupboard. Here are a few Ayurvedic remedies for pollution-related problems:
- Mix turmeric, jaggery and ghee to make a soothing concoction for someone who has respiratory problems. You can also have this every night to promote restful sleep.
- Mix turmeric powder in hot milk and drink before sleeping every night.
- Mix ginger, a pinch of black pepper, honey and hot water, and sip on it at night to soothe an irritable throat.
- Make your own version of Kashmiri kahwa: Boil 1.5 cups of water and add 3-4 cinnamon sticks, 2-3 pieces of star anise, 2-3 cardamom pods and sugar. Let this simmer for about 10 minutes on low heat. Crush 5-6 strands of saffron in a separate cup and add the water with the strands to the mixture. Let this simmer for another 5 minutes. This may not be authentic Kashmiri kahwa but it is a comforting, easy version of it nonetheless.
Carry jaggery with you to work or school and nibble on a small piece as dessert after lunch. Jaggery is a strong, natural antioxidant which will help in improving your overall health. If you want some easy-to-follow solutions for skin and hair care in the smog season, click here. For our comprehensive guide on which air purifier is best for you, click here. If you want a list of other anti-pollution products, and ideas on where to buy them, click here.