You don’t need your yoga teacher to tell you that the breath provides our life-force. But what about the quality of the air within that breath? What kind of air do we breathe in urban Canada when we are negotiating the downtown cores in each of our major cities?
Urban air pollution continues to be a major assault to human health. The volume of pollutants that pour out of a vehicle tailpipe has gotten smaller, but this sets up a false illusion that urban air is somehow Kootenay-Clean. It is not. As highlighted in a new research report, the non-exhaust part of emissions – e.g. brake wear, road wear, tire wear and road “dust”- contribute easily as much and often more than the tailpipe exhaust to urban air pollution. Then we have other volatile organic compounds (pollutants) emerging from gas stations, factories, dry cleaners, paint shops and many other urban sources. There is absolutely no debate concerning the ability of environmental pollutants to adversely affect health – of course asthma and lung diseases are probably the best known health consequence, however, air pollution is linked to lowered mental outlook, cardiovascular disease and stroke, cognitive function, and worsening of allergies.
The reason that air pollutants can contribute to so many chronic illnesses appears to be due to
- They increase the production of inflammatory chemicals
- They increase oxidative stress/free radical damage
- They diminish the diversity of beneficial microbes in the gut
- They alter gene expression, enhancing the cellular aging process
Even short term exposure in humans can alter physiological processes. Whether you cycle or walk for pleasure, to get to work, or both, consider this – during exercise, the intake of air pollution increases significantly due to changes in breathing and higher “stickiness” or what researchers call deposition of pollutants into the linings of the respiratory passageways. Depending on the situation, the burden on the antioxidant defense system may be 20+ percent higher while exercising in areas with high vs. low air pollutants. Based on this, in 2014, researchers indicated that breathing in airborne pollutants can put a dent in the well-known health benefits of exercise.
So what to do? Give up walking, running and cycling in urban environments? We don’t think so.
Research shows that the adverse health effects of air pollution are magnified by poor dietary choices. And vice versa. On the other hand, colourful diets rich in a variety of antioxidant phytonutrients can offer a layer of protection against environmental contaminants. There are about a dozen studies showing that dietary antioxidant support can provide value in the presence of air pollution. The lessons from these studies is that a variety of colourful antioxidants, rather than just a single-nutrient hope for defense (like vitamin c or E alone), is a much safer bet.
Dietary choices and select nutritional supplementation can provide a defensive shield around you. greens+ is the easy choice in supplementation – only greens+ contains the synergy that is required for defense. It contains so many of the individual ingredients known to protect against the detrimental effects of air pollution – e.g. green tea, ginseng, grape phytonutrients, green ingredients like spirulina and chlorella, apple pectin and beets. However, what really gives greens+ the edge is research-based consumer confidence. There is no mystery as to whether or not its broad array of phytonutrients are actually going to work inside your body as you pedal or walk down the streets of our urban centres. Two separate University of Toronto studies show that the colourful, defending antioxidants in greens+ are indeed absorbed into the bloodstream of healthy Canadian adults. So keep on keeping on, walk, run and cycle and know that the invisible shield of greens+ is working.
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