Protect yourself from pollution - Food for the Brain

Protect yourself from pollution

There are two sides to nutrition – one is your intake of nutrients, such as antioxidants. The other is your intake of antinutrients, such as oxidants.

Smoking is a good example – it uses up vitamin C at a rate of something like 25mg per cigarette smoked. Smoking is a choice but breathing in exhaust fumes, if you live in a city or industrial area, or live with a smoker, is hard to avoid completely. That is why the incidence of many diseases, especially those of the lungs, is higher in cities than in the countryside.

So, how can you protect yourself from pollution? There are a few ways, depending on where you live and what you do.

Firstly, it is best to exercise away from (busy) roads. So, when you go for a walk or a jog go to a park or make a trip to the country once a week and have a long walk. If you go shopping on the high street, don’t do it in rush hour. If you have flexibility in the time you travel, avoid rush hour if you’re driving. City dwellers need more vitamin C.

Exercise actually uses up antioxidants. That’s why a lot of long distance runners get worse colds. It also makes them more susceptible to COVID-19 unless they increase their intake of vitamin C and other antioxidants. The more energy you’re expending the more antioxidants you need. By the way, a Montmorency cherry drink, made with a pure concentrate called Cherry Active, has been shown to speed up recovery and muscle stiffness after exercise. It’s a superb antioxidant with one shot equal to a hundred carrots for its ORAC (oxygen radical absorption capacity) score.

Plan trips where you spend some time in unpolluted air, perhaps with trips to the seaside or the mountains of natural places. ‘Earthing’ is an antioxidant. That’s right. We accumulate electrical charge as a consequence of making energy, and discharge when standing on the earth or swimming in a lake or the sea. So get your shoes off and stand, sit or walk on the earth barefoot whenever you can. Growing your own veg, and doing some gardening barefoot is a lovely way to ‘earth’.


If you do suffer from asthma or breathing difficulties, consider getting an ioniser. This ‘sucks’ small particulates from the air which would otherwise get into your lungs.

Learn deeper breathing techniques, as taught in yoga, or practiced in t’ai chi. When you work through the ACTIVE BODY domain we’ll go into this in more detail.

These are a few simple steps you can take to help reduce your total pollution load.