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Ways to enhance and support immunity from the flu and ill effects of pollution

November 22, 2016

Ways to enhance and support immunity from the flu and ill effects of pollution

The city is covered with blankets of smoke and whether its the fireworks, crop burning or industrial waste; it is getting lodged in our lungs and causing a lot of harm to us in the long run.  The PM 2.5 or small particulate matter is dangerous, hazardous at all levels and responsible for stinging eyes, coughing, wheezing and cancer. Young children and the elderly are particularly at risk for problems like strokes, respiratory trouble and cardiac ailments.  
Buying expensive air purifiers and wearing a mask is one way to tackle the problem but we have got to support our immunity now more than ever.  The pollution levels in Delhi are ridiculously high and there's a lot of reason for concern.  Since a lot of us have crazy schedules that prevent us from making a run for the hills; here are a few things you can do to alleviate the effects of air pollution on your body.


  • Eat small amounts of organic, unrefined gur or jaggery as it is highly anti inflammatory. If you consume good quality gur in polluted areas or on bad air days, you will experience some relief with the hoarseness in your voice and the heaviness in your chest.
  • This might sound counterintuitive but please avoid heavy, strenuous outdoor workouts on very polluted days. Try and workout indoors with an air purifier or avoid it until the conditions improve.
  • Try incorporating small amounts of raw, organic turmeric and mix it with peppercorn and tulsi leaves. You can choose to chew it as is or boil it in water and drink it like tea to reap the immune boosting benefits.
  •  If you are in a home with young children, invest in a good quality air purifier and keep all doors and windows sealed. Also, using a humidifier helps tremendously at restoring moisture levels and preventing dryness in the mouth and keeping germs at bay. 
  •  If you can, install a small purifier in the car so you are safe when commuting to work and back. Make sure the car settings are on recycled air so you aren't inhaling the noxious fumes from outside.
  •  Try adaptogens and immunity enhancers like Turmeric, Tulsi , Ashwagandha and Brahmi and incorporate them into your diet.
  •  Please urge your neighbours and help your colony by preventing people from burning leaves at night in residential areas and start donating blankets, heaters and jackets instead.
  •  For young kids and the elderly that have allergic rhinitis and hives because of the pollutants- they should invest in a humidifier and keep it on at night. You won't have to worry about the bacteria and the bugs in the air and the machine will restore moisture levels leaving you with hydrated skin. 
  •  Some plants make a huge difference to the air quality indoors. Make a trip to the nursery and get yourself money plant, mother in laws tongue and acacia palm that can help purify your home and office. 
  •  Stay hydrated. I know this is difficult to do particularly in winter time but make it a point to drink water, de caffeinated teas, herbal seltzers and unsweetened tonics made with ginger, turmeric, tulsi and cinnamon to boost your immune system.
  •  If you don't have an air purifier, run your air conditioner at night on 27-28 degrees or something that is comfortable to filter out some of the bad air.
  • If your commute is taking longer than expected to work or a commitment, make sure your car air conditioning is on the recycled air setting so you don't end up inhaling the unhealthy fumes.
  •  Antioxidants like goji berries, chia seeds, nuts help fight free radical damage, which in turn reduces chronic inflammation levels in the body. 
  •  If you can work remotely, ask your boss or your company to allow you to work from home on bad air days so you don't suffer.
  •  Download an app called 'Plume' that can help assess air quality levels. Use this as an indicator to see whether you should venture out and at what time. Typically, it is safest to leave the house around 1 or 2 pm whereas early mornings and late evenings are the worst.

 Lastly, when you buy a mask, please don't buy the surgical masks as they don't offer any protection. Go for either the Cambridge, Vogmask, N95 or N99 to protect yourself from the harmful effects of the particulate matter.

Word of advice- if you are exercising and feel lightheaded, dizzy or a tightness in your chest, please stop workout immediately and seek medical attention. Stay healthy! Stay Safe