Could omega-3 foods help reduce the damage caused by pollution? Oily fish, soybeans, and spinach can cut your risk of disease by up to half, experts say
- Harvard Medical School researchers say toxic particles can enter the lungs
- Poor air quality is a leading cause of illness and death and increases the risk of stroke
- The study found that omega-3 fatty acids in oily fish, soybeans, and spinach can be used to prevent damage from polluted air
Eating foods rich in omega-3s can reduce the damage caused by air pollution by up to half, according to a study.
Harvard Medical School researchers discovered that toxic particles can enter other organs, including the brain and testes, through the lungs.
Poor air quality is a leading cause of illness and death. It increases the risk of stroke, heart disease, lung cancer, and chronic and acute respiratory diseases, including asthma.
According to a study, consuming omega-3-rich foods like oily fish (file image) can reduce the damage caused by air pollution by up to half
However, the study found that omega-3s found in fatty fish, soybeans, and spinach can be used to prevent and treat the damage caused by polluted air.
More than 90 percent of the UK population live in areas where air pollution has recently been researched above safety limits set by the World Health Organization.
Some of the deadliest pollutants are PM2.5 particles, which irritate cells and increase inflammation levels – this is the main risk factor for related diseases.
In the most recent study, administration of doses of omega-3 fatty acids (OFAs) mitigated this effect by one-third to one-half.
Lead researcher Dr. Jing Kang of Massachusetts General Hospital said although the experiments were done on mice, he expected the same changes to apply to humans.
“These pathological changes are very important as they are the fundamental mechanisms behind the most common chronic diseases we have today,” he said. “I can assume the same thing would happen in humans, as many other inflammatory diseases in humans can be treated with OFAs. We are very confident that OFAs can do something very good. ‘
In the most recent study, administration of doses of omega-3 fatty acids (OFAs) reduced the impact of pollution by one-third to one-half. Tablets are pictured above
He recommended between two and four grams of omega-3s – the equivalent of two 85g servings of salmon a day – although NHS guidelines recommend eating no more than one serving a day. Dr. Kang added, “I would definitely recommend taking OFAs to counter air pollution issues. OFAs are known to have many other healthy benefits, and most importantly, they’re not like a drug, but a nutrient with so many benefits. ‘
Other experts noted that while the research was “thorough,” the results should be viewed with caution because the levels of soiling mice were exposed to were high. Dr. Kang also suggested that reducing pollution at the source was key.