The increasing levels of air pollution in the capital have gone from being the talk of the city to being the talk of the whole world lately. While the link of pollution to respiratory diseases is well established, according to the report of the Children’s Fund on Tuesday, air pollution can also permanently damage a child’s brain. The UNICEF report entitled “Danger in the air” also states that South Asia has the highest proportion of babies living in areas where air pollution is at least six times higher than international limits (10 micrograms per cubic meter) .
Worldwide, 17 million babies under one year of age live in densely contaminated areas that can be highly toxic to a child’s immune system. An estimated 12.2 million live in South Asia, which is the highest in East Asia and the Pacific that has 4.3 million children breathing toxic air.
Informed brain damage can occur through several mechanisms. The particles can trigger neuroinflammation by damaging the blood-brain barrier, a membrane that protects the brain from toxic substances. Another reason could be specific air pollutant particles, such as magnetite, which can cause oxidative stress, which is often the cause of neurodegenerative diseases. The report also tried to explain how polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in areas of high traffic could cause the loss or damage of white matter in the brain.
In addition to their lungs, which is obviously the first goal, these harmful contaminants can also affect a child’s brain endangering their future, says the report. Contaminants inhaled during pregnancy can penetrate through the placenta and possibly hamper the development of the brain at the stage of the fetus.
The report also hinted at the likely link in prenatal exposures and the delayed development of a baby’s brain, along with psychological and behavioral problems that may occur later in childhood.
While the government does something to improve air quality, much can be done for you to prevent contaminants from affecting you. According to consulting consultant Dr. Rupali Dutta, here are some natural antioxidant nutrients that can help your body cope with this violent attack.
Vitamin C: it is the only powerful antioxidant for our body. This water soluble vitamin is present throughout the body and eliminates free radicals. Vitamin C also contributes to the regeneration of vitamin E. The right vitamin C in our daily diets is crucial to maintain its level in the lungs. Adults need 40 mg of this vitamin / day.
1. Vegetables such as coriander leaves, chaulai ka saag, chicken legs, parsley, cabbage and turnip greens are good sources to load.
2. Fruits rich in vitamin C are amla and guava.
3. The easiest way to get your daily dose of vitamin C is to include the juice of 2 lemons in your daily diet.
4. Citrus fruits also increase the vitamin C content in foods.
Vitamin E: this fat-soluble vitamin is the first line of defense against injuries to human tissues.
1. Vitamin E in our diet usually comes from cooking oils based on plants. Sunflower oil, safflower and rice bran are the three main sources, followed by canola, peanuts and olive oil.
2. Almonds and sunflower seeds are also good sources of this vitamin. Seeds and nuts are also rich in fat calories, so about an ounce a day is adequate.
3. Among fish: salmon, roe deer and eel are recommended for their vitamin E content.
4. Spices and herbs such as chili powder, paprika, cloves, oregano, basil and parsley contain a decent amount of vitamin E. However, most of these are consumed in very small amounts. Making them part of your daily kitchen will help you add up the total.
Ayurvedic solutions: Certain herbs and spices have been suggested in Ayurvedic medicine to cure common respiratory ailments.
1. Turmeric is a known antioxidant and is said to help protect the lungs from the toxic effects of contaminants.
2. Mix turmeric and ghee to relieve cough and help during asthma. During an asthma attack, you can take turmeric with brown sugar and butter to relieve symptoms.
3. Jaggery mixed with onion juice is said to have an expectorant effect, useful during wet and dry cough.