Food fends off bad air days

November 24, 2000

A healthy diet may offer some protection against the possible health impact of air pollution.

Preliminary results of a study by Frank Kelly, professor of respiratory biochemistry at King's College London, are showing how air pollutants such as nitrogen dioxide, particulate matter and ozone can damage the lungs.

Oxidative stress, a chemical process that can disrupt cell function, seems to be important. The extent of this stress is reduced by the antioxidant defences in the lung lining fluid, where pollutants first come into contact with living tissue. As several antioxidants, such as vitamins C and E, are derived from foods, healthy eating may be a good defence.

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