By Nina Sachdev
How can we protect ourselves from unhealthy air?
The AQI, or Air Quality Index, of Bangkok has already surpassed the levels of metropolitan cities we consider notoriously polluted — New Delhi, Beijing and Jakarta. While hoping for these numbers to decrease, let’s take a look at ways we can protect ourselves from the hazardous air pollution.
This obvious tip needs to be taken more seriously! Pedestrians, particularly children, pregnant women and elderly, should refrain from walking or exercising along busy streets. Instead, find indoor exercises to enjoy.
Use Effective Masks
Common masks, often called “surgical masks” don’t fully cover or protect your nose and mouth, and are therefore ineffective. It is time to invest in the N95, which can filter up to 95 percent of particulate matter in the air.
When you do leave the house for work or outdoor activities, make sure you check the air pollution levels beforehand. This will remind you to wear a mask and take precautions by limiting your time outdoors. If it is a particularly bad week, make sure you notify your family and friends to spread awareness.
Don’t Forget to Invest
Buy a good quality air purifier, so when you open your windows for cleaning purposes and sunlight exposure, the air you breathe at home is fresh enough.
Masala Swaps Outdoor Activities for Indoor Fun!
• Instead of evening runs in the park, try treadmill runs in the gym
• Morning swim with the kids could be replaced with baking cookies or cupcakes instead
• Instead of morning boot camp at Benjakitti Park, try a HIIT Yoga workout at home
• Take your baby to an indoor mall for a stroll instead of an outdoor walk
• A team lunch at an open-air noodle shop could be replaced with an office potluck where everyone brings a dish from home to share
Helpful Food to Consume
Research shows that foods high in Vitamin C and E can help clean your airways, as they are rich with antioxidants and antiinflammatory qualities. Olive oil, for instance, contains alpha-Tocopherol (Vitamin E), which improves lung function, as well as fatty acids, useful for reducing inflammation. More pollution-fighting foods include:
People who eat broccoli excrete toxins associated with ozone and particulate matter pollution. This excretion is due to the presence of Sulphoraphane, an anticarcinogenic compound contained in broccoli, which inhibits the development of cancer.
Tomatoes contain lycopene, an antioxidant that protects against respiratory illnesses.
Avocados and Spinach
Both are high in Vitamin E, which helps counteract the effects of certain types of particulate pollution.
Flaxseed has high levels of phytoestrogens and omega-3 fatty acids. Phytoestrogens have antioxidant properties that reduce the symptoms of asthma and other allergic reactions. Try incorporating flaxseed daily in your smoothies, salad or oatmeal.
Antioxidants in fruits will help you breathe easier. Pollution from industrial and transportation sources may increase the amount of free radicals in your body, so antioxidants such as Vitamin A, C, and E will protect your cells by offering up electrons to satisfy the free radicals’ needs.
Peppermint is an antihistamine and an antioxidant, which makes it effective for decongesting and fighting organisms that are harmful to the respiratory system. Overall, it soothes the respiratory tract for freer breathing.
Let’s Protect Your Skin
Industrial and transportation-related air pollution has been proven to expedite the signs of ageing. Pollutants in the air can easily enter your skin and cause inflammation, discoloration, fine lines and breakouts. Just like with your food, look for antioxidants!
Kiehl’s Cilantro & Orange Extract Pollutant Defending Masque
This product defends against impurities and helps replenish skin. The first key ingredient is cilantro extract, also known as coriander, an edible herb valued for its medicinal uses. Cilantro helps supply the skin with essential nutrients and strengthens the skin barrier which is often depleted by pollution damage. The second key ingredient is orange extract, an antioxidant that helps defend the skin from damage-causing pollutants.
It is suitable for all skin types, and recommended for use three times per week at night.
Lancôme Advanced Genifique Sensitive Dual Concentrate
This serum contains pure ferulic acid and pure self-activating Vitamin E. Ferulic acid is an antioxidant found in the cell walls of plants such as rice and oats, and the seeds of apples and oranges.
These ingredients instantly calm distressed skin and protect against environmental aggressors like pollution. It is best used when you are experiencing bad skin days. Use every night for one month for visibly rejuvenated skin.