Worried about pollution affecting your health? These superfoods can act as shield!

December 6, 2020 3:15 AM

Antioxidants can help, as they neutralise inflammation-causing free radicals that are produced when toxic air particles enter the body.

Here are some foods and antioxidants that act as shields against pollution.Here are some foods and antioxidants that act as shields against pollution.

By Reya Mehrotra

Smog has taken over winters, jeopardising people’s health. In such a scenario, strengthening the body’s immune system goes a long way. Antioxidants can help, as they neutralise inflammation-causing free radicals that are produced when toxic air particles enter the body. Here are some foods and antioxidants that act as shields against pollution.

A John Hopkins University study suggested that consumption of broccoli led to release of ozone air pollution-related toxins. In fact, the green wonder must be made a part of the diet for the entire year. It is also a good source of protein, fibre, iron, calcium, potassium, magnesium apart from a number of vitamins and minerals, including folic acid. The vegetable helps in protecting one from vehicular and air pollution while also helping in combating cancer. Considered a superfood, it contains sulforaphane and lutein, both of which are antioxidants. Broccoli can be had in the form of salads, cooked vegetables, etc.

Indian food is incomplete without the tangy, juicy red treats. Be it in the form of salads or in curries or soups, tomato intake is crucial for the body. They are a good source of carbohydrates, fibre, vitamins and minerals like vitamin C, K1, potassium and folate. The main compounds include naringenin that decreases inflammation, antioxidant beta carotene, which converts into vitamin A in the body, lycopene, which has several health benefits and chlorogenic acid, which lowers blood pressure. The redder the tomato, the richer it is in lycopene content. The vitamins and minerals in tomatoes are important for the body during changing weather and increased pollution levels.

Raw turmeric
The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory superfood has multiple benefits and uses. It keeps illnesses and colds away. Turmeric milk before bedtime works wonders for health. It helps in the treatment of various illnesses like Alzheimer’s, cancer, heart diseases, depression and arthritis. Turmeric powder is one of the main spices in Indian households and it is best consumed in small amounts in food or with milk. Curcumin, a compound of curcuminoids, is known to be a strong antioxidant. Curcumin helps the body fight foreign invaders and free radicals while boosting the body’s own antioxidant enzymes.

Seeds and nuts
Seeds, dry fruits and nuts are rich in vitamins and antioxidants. Consuming a handful of mixed nuts everyday in the morning or evening can boost your health and detoxify the body of toxins. The best type of seeds are protein- and vitamin-rich sunflower seeds, omega-3-rich flax seeds, rich in proteins and unsaturated fats pumpkin seeds, peanuts, sunflower seeds. A good mix of dry fruits like almonds, cashews, apricots and raisins can work wonders. These must be made a part of diet during winters.

Vitamin C
Vitamin C itself is a strong antioxidant and is one of the antioxidant vitamins known to decrease oxidative damage and lower the risk of some chronic diseases. Some of the highest vitamin C sources include cantaloupe, citrus fruits, mango, papaya, kiwi, strawberries, raspberries, watermelon, pineapple and so on. Vitamin C-rich fruits are best had in the morning on empty stomach to have the maximum benefits. Lemons are also known to be good sources of vitamin C, antioxidants. Other vitamins and minerals must be consumed with salads or in the form of juices or lemon water.

Vitamin E
Vitamin E is known to be a fat soluble antioxidant that helps repair damaged cells. The most active compound of vitamin E found in humans is alpha-tocopherol. It not only slows the ageing process of cells, but also reduces the damage caused by free radicals. Some of the best sources of vitamin E are wheatgerm oil, almond oil, sunflower oil, hazelnuts, peanuts, avocados, mango, cashewnuts, kiwi, pickled olives. Research has also shown that vitamin E helps in treating a variety of diseases like cancer, high blood pressure and heart diseases.

A natural alternative to sugar, jaggery has been used since ages in India for various purposes. Sugarcane jaggery, palm jaggery and coconut jaggery are its common types. Consumption of jaggery helps in improving metabolism, digestion and detoxifying the liver while also purifying blood and building immunity. Antioxidants like zinc and selenium are found in jaggery. Hence, it is beneficial against free radicals and in fighting various diseases. Small amounts of jaggery after meals or using it as a sugar alternative is recommended. The health-conscious can also use jaggery to prepare healthy sweets. Til laddoos, peanut chikki, gur ka halwa, gulgule are some of the popular ones.

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