Can Eating Tulsi, Amla Reduce Impact of Air Pollution on Health?

Air pollution has reached dangerous levels in Delhi - so much so that a health emergency has been declared.

People are being advised not to leave their houses. Schools, too, have been shut.

Air purifiers, anti-pollution masks and indoor plants are being prescribed as ways of handling polluted air. Meanwhile on social media, some food items are being portrayed as a means of reducing the dangerous effects of pollution.

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Here is a WhatsApp forward stating that vitamin C, omega fatty acids, and magnesium rich foods can be helpful in reducing the damage from polluted air.

Also Read: A Doctor’s Guide on Coping with Air Pollution

In this message, it is recommended to eat tulsi, ginger, lemon, cashew nuts, walnuts and jaggery to save one from pollution. But while eating healthy is always good, to find out how effective these things can be in reducing the harm of pollution, we spoke to Dr. Arvind Kumar, Chest Expert at Sir Gangaram Hospital and Founder of Lung Care Foundation and Dr. Rupali Dutta, Consultant Nutritionist.

Right or Wrong?

Dr. Arvind told Fit that considering the extent to which pollution has increased today, no remedy can reduce the impact of polluted air. However, he did add-

Dr. Arvind KumarAs far as ginger, turmeric, amla and lemon are concerned, I consume them myself. But as a doctor and scientist, I cannot claim that eating them will result in zero impact of air pollution on health.

Dr. Kumar informed that such a claim can be said with certainty only if you take 100 people, divide them into two groups - one of whom eats these things and the other does not - let both groups be in contact with the polluted air, and study them after five years.

If the health problems are reported less in the eating group, and more in the non-eating group, only then can we conclude that these food items protect one from air pollution.

Dr. Arvind KumarMy opinion is that there’s no harm in these things. Anyway, colored vegetables come with a lot of antioxidants which activate our body’s reparative process. Antioxidants minimise damage... I am not disagreeing to that... I am just saying that there’s no scientific proof to this claim.

Dr. Kumar also emphasizes on hydration; he says if the amount of fluids in the body is less, then the damage will be more. Therefore, keep drinking water and do not let the body get dehydrated.

While at the same time, Consultant Nutritionist Dr. Rupali Dutta recommends taking foods rich in Vitamin C, Vitamin E and Omega-3 Fats as a way of dealing with the harmful effects of air pollution.

Dr. Rupali Dutta, Consultant NutritionistWith increasing pollution, it is necessary to strengthen oneself from the inside. Antioxidants can be helpful in the protection and recovery of the body from the damage caused by air pollution to it.

(Delhi is in a public health emergency and schools have been shut. The air outside is visibly toxic - how has the hazardous air #pollution impacted you? Write down your #PollutionKaSolution and send it to us at

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