Steps that can reduce the harmful effects of air pollution!

Can't lessen air pollution? You could, at least, keep your system immune to its harmful reactions!

Take a deep breath. As per the World Health Organization (WHO), pollution is the fifth leading cause of death in India, after high blood pressure and tobacco smoking. WHO says Delhi's air quality is worse than Beijing, ­ a city where rising levels of air pollution have brought about a new disease ­- Beijing cough.

Experts feel that the general public doesn't even know what exactly constitutes air pollution. Air contamination is caused not just by industries and vehicles. Dust mites, chemicals in carpets, air fresheners, off-gassing from plastics also add up to the toxic onslaught that your lungs have to bear says expert. What's alarming is that air pollution is not just linked to sinus infections, asthma, and lung diseases, but also considered to be an autism trigger. It is also linked to heart attacks, sperm mutation, and fetal intelligence wellbeing.


Keep your immune system fortified with the right diet, detox plan and breathing exercises. These are the best ways to minimize the harmful effects of air pollution. Winter or no winter, add broccoli to your daily diet. This wonder veggie, apart from being a great cancer combatant, goes a long way in protecting you from the air and vehicular pollution, according to a study at Johns Hopkins University. A clinical trial, conducted in Jiangsu Province -one of China's most polluted regions -found that consuming a beverage that included broccoli sprouts helped participants to excrete toxins associated with ozone air pollution. To neutralise free radical damage caused by air contamination, the two organs we need to support and detoxify regularly are lungs and liver. Rejuvenate your lungs with oregano, orange peel, eucalyptus, peppermint and eat grapefruits, beet, carrots, apples, cabbage, avocado for a clean liver.

According to experts, Vitamin C taken in dietary and supplement form along with tincture of echinacea (herbal remedy) helps build the immune system, making you less susceptible to allergies. Simply put, foods containing Vitamin C, such as oranges, strawberries, apples, watermelons, counteract the inflammatory allergic response. Good food sources of Vitamin C are guavas, red bell peppers, kale, parsley, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, papayas, spinach, citrus fruits, green onion, and more.


Thai and Japanese food lovers would be pleased to know that spicy foods with a little kick can actually kick out allergy symptoms. Ginger, anise, fennel, and hot mustard can all act as natural decongestants. Green tea, tulsi, ginger, and cinnamon are powerful adaptogens (herbal ingredients used to improve the health of the adrenal system) that enable the body to handle stressors like pollution and environmental toxins. Raw turmeric also has curative properties that protect you from chronic bronchitis, wheezing, allergy coughs and colds. Drink an anti-inflammatory tea made from tulsi, ginger and raw turmeric to see the difference. Eating a diet rich in natural antihistamines (drugs for allergies) can help forestall allergic reactions. Try magnesium-rich foods such as almonds, cashews and wheat bran since magnesium is a natural bronchodilator (agent that relaxes the breathing tubes inside lungs). Omega-3 fatty acids are also capable of reducing allergic reactions and soothe inflammation. Eat Omega-3 rich foods like walnuts, flaxseeds and oils such as mustard, canola and flaxseed.

Exercises to prevent the effect of pollution on the body

1. Bhastrika:

This breathing exercise not only aids detoxification of the system but also helps in providing energy to the body. Bhastrika doesn't give the pollutants the chance to remain in the body for long. Before they can be stored, they are removed immediately. However that individuals who are experiencing breathing problems like asthma should practice this technique under guidance. 

Here's how to do Bhastrika in easy steps.

  • Sit up tall, relax your shoulders, take a few deep breaths in and out from your nose. With each inhale, expand your belly fully as you breathe. 
  • Begin breathing by exhaling forcefully through your nose. Follow by inhaling forcefully at the rate of one second per cycle.
  • Make sure the breath is coming from your diaphragm; keep your head, neck, shoulders, and chest still while your belly moves in and out.K

2. Kapalbhati

This is one of the most useful breathing exercises that help detoxify your entire system. For individuals who are suffering from breathlessness, this exercise helps in clearing out all the toxins from the frontal brain and lungs.

Here are the basic steps to do this exercise: 

  • Sit straight with your spine erect and cross your legs in front of you.
  • Take in a deep breath, exhale quickly and suddenly making a puffing sound while you do it. Focus on exhaling forcefully and not on the inhalation.
  • When you exhale, draw your abdominal muscles inward simultaneously. Your abdomen should rise when you inhale and fold when you exhale.
  • Continue this for another 10 minutes and then relax your body.

Kapalbhati involves a series of dynamic exhalations followed by submissive inhalations. Practicing it on a regular basis can boost energy and help cleanse the respiratory system. It strengthens the abdominal muscles, increases oxygen flow and can even improve digestion.

It often gets difficult to differentiate between Kapalbhati and Bhastrika. The major difference lies in the breathing technique. Kapalbhati is also called the sneezing technique and is done via the stomach. Bhastrika, on the other hand, involves fast breathing carried out through the chest. While practicing Kapalbhati, the emphasis is always on exhalation. Bhastrika gives equal importance to both inhalings as well as exhaling.

3. Agnisar Kriya:

The term means stimulating the digestive fire. The main purpose of Agnisar is to boost the metabolism and guarantee the proper functioning of all of the abdominal organs. We have a tendency to eat a great deal of junk food during festivals. Even the food that we eat at home has some amount of toxins present in it due to the smoke emitted by firecrackers. Agnisar Kriya helps in keeping our abdomen clean from these toxins and to some extent even increase our immunity system.

 Here are simple steps to do this exercise:

  • Sit in a comfortable position, placing the hands on your knees and hunch your shoulders up.
  • Inhale deeply and hold your breath. While holding the breath, bend your head forward and try to touch the chin to the chest. 
  • Pull the abdomen in (as if with a vacuum in the chest, bringing it as inwards as possible). Now the do just the opposite by expanding your stomach to the fullest. Repeat 10 times before taking a breath.
  • Inhale and relax the shoulders slowly.

Follow these steps And Enjoy a healthy and fit festival season.