Categories: Air PollutionArticle

Food Warriors in the Battle against Air Pollution

Air Pollution is a global killer that kills almost 7 million people annually. The need of the hour is to adopt stringent measures to eliminate air pollution or lessen its impact. It is a battle in which we have to emerge triumphantly. What we ignore is that it is actually very simple. Eating the right food the way is the easiest way to control the biological effects of air pollution. Here are six food warriors in the battle against air pollution. Include them in your diet and witness the positive changes in your health.


These green florets can do wonders in your dietary fight against air pollution. A study indicated people who consumed broccoli in their diet defecated toxins linked with air pollution. Broccoli contains Sulforaphane– an anti-carcinogenic compound that helps in excreting out benzene from the body. Benzene belongs to a class of air pollutants known as the Volatile Organic Compounds and is a potent carcinogen (cancer-causing substance). It also benefits us by exterminating a lung irritant called acrolein.

Broccoli is also a rich source of Vitamin C that makes it the right choice as an immunity-boosting food. Moreover, they also contain beta-carotene and anti-oxidants.



How to include broccoli in your diet?

You can ingest it either raw as a part of your green-salad, or cooked with your meal. However, cooking may lead to a dip in its content of Vitamin C and Sulforaphane. This is because they are heat-sensitive compounds.


The flaxseeds are enriched in phytoestrogens and omega-3 fatty acids. They work miraculously for asthma patients by suppressing the symptoms of allergic reactions. Omega-3 fatty acids effectively cut down the effect of smog. Flaxseeds are also equipped to protect the cardiovascular system.

Other food items that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids are eggs, fish, walnuts and soybean. They all follow the similar mechanism of keeping us fit from the ill-effects of air pollution.

How to include flaxseeds in your diet?

If you are inspired to eat flaxseeds, then you will be happy to know that these are easy to consume. They do not require long and tedious recipes. You can make them a part of your salad-regime, roast them, or eat them as a healthy snack. You can also relish them in your smoothies and shakes.

Indian Gooseberry (Amla)

Amla or the Indian Gooseberry is a forefront food-warrior to beat the health risks associated with harsh winters and air pollution. Its high Vitamin C content strengthens your metabolism by preventing cellular damage. The anti-inflammatory properties of this Superfood promote heart health and evade liver damage. They deter air pollutants from causing any adverse impact on our bodies.

How to include amla in your diet?

Amlas are flexible when eating options are concerned. Prefer taking them empty stomach every morning for optimum benefits. People with an endearment for sour taste can enjoy it raw. You can also consume it in other forms, like chutney for balancing the sourness. However, do not consume more than two in a day as the high Vitamin C content may cause constipation. Also, keep yourself hydrated.


You should proportion your diet by keeping the number of greens right. Green-leafy veggies contain a pigment called Chlorophyll which is a powerful anti-oxidant. They work by fighting-off the free radicals inside the body that can cause harm if their concentration increase.

Spinach is power-packed with the anti-mutagenic components- lutein, carotene and zeaxanthin. All of these are the elixir for the immune system and protect our lungs. Popeye’s favourite food item is also rich in Magnesium ions that exterminate the impact of smog by removing strain from the lungs. This process eases the chief respiratory organs and improves the distribution of air in them.

How to include spinach in your diet? 

You should prefer eating spinach in the form of a cooked vegetable. The macro and micronutrients present in spinach become more absorbable after cooking.

Turmeric (Haldi)

If you think turmeric is just a condiment, you are mistaken. People acknowledge as the Wonder Drug or the Golden Spice for a reason. That reason is curcumin. Curcumin is a magical compound that has anti-inflammatory properties and avoids inflammation in the lungs. This simply means that consuming turmeric will relieve the lungs from the toxic effects of the air pollutants.

How to include turmeric in your diet? 

Consume a mixture of turmeric and ghee if you experience cough or irritation in the lungs. Alternatively, you can also make a paste by mixing turmeric, jaggery and butter or drink it with milk every night.


The red and juicy tomatoes are a storehouse of Vitamin C, lycopene and beta-carotene– the anti-oxidants that help in reducing the inflammatory reactions in the lungs. Beta-carotene also slows down ageing. Thus, they are efficient in combatting the effects of air pollution and also make your skin glow!

How to include tomatoes in your diet? 

Who doesn’t enjoy eating tomatoes! Our diet is incomplete without them. The best thing about these fruits is their versatility. You can eat them raw, cooked or as the sauce, and you are bound to love them in every way.

[The piece is inspired by an article published on]


Poorna Khanna

Poorna Khanna is an environmentalist by passion and profession. She has a master's degree in Environment Management and wants to change the world for the better, one step at a time. A firm believer in the power of nature, she hopes that with increased awareness, we will be able to create a better future for our children.

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