Wildfire smoke is a health risk that disproportionately impacts sensitive groups. Poor air quality can temporarily affect your eyes, nose, throat, and skin. It can also cause breathing difficulties, coughing, and chest tightness. Extended exposure to the pollutants is even more harmful to the respiratory system. To help families stay healthy during exposure to wildfire smoke, the most important thing to do is be prepared. It is crucial to support your lungs, maintain your body’s detoxification mechanisms, and evacuate safely if necessary. Checking the Air Quality Index website for your Real-time Air Quality Index (AQI) is essential, as different colored AQI levels represent varying degrees of air quality.
Tips to Minimize the Impact of Wildfire Smoke
- Support Respiratory and Immune Health
To protect your family from the impact of wildfire smoke, you must choose nutrients that support your lungs and your liver’s detoxification pathways. Consuming antioxidants is a must, especially during times of stress. Eating as many phytonutrients and antioxidant-rich foods as possible is recommended. Drinking “green smoothies” with cilantro, parsley, beets, ginger, and turmeric is a great way to get your daily antioxidant support. Additionally, taking supplements like an antioxidant blend, N-Acetyl-Cysteine (NAC), Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Vitamin A, and Selenium can support your immune health. Extra magnesium can support lung and respiratory health and aid oxygen utilization for people with asthma.
- Eat Healthier
Diet can significantly affect our health and well-being, especially during stressful times. Along with eating more high-antioxidant foods, it’s also essential to reduce your intake of high-inflammatory foods, such as fried foods, foods high in sugar, and refined carbohydrates. Consuming sugar puts tremendous pressure on the liver, disrupting its proper functioning and leading to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). Unfortunately, this condition is becoming increasingly common in all age groups. Opt for a healthier diet where more than half of all food consumed is vegetables, about one-third is protein, and the remainder is fruits, dairy, grains, and starches.
- Support Gut Health
Probiotics have numerous benefits, making them essential to a healthy diet. Fermented foods like yogurt, miso, sauerkraut, kefir, kombucha, and kimchi are rich sources of probiotics. One can also reduce total toxic burdens by consuming organic foods, unprocessed foods, and filtered water. Avoiding artificial flavors, dyes, preservatives, plastic, and other harmful chemicals in personal care and household items can also help.
By actively incorporating these recommendations into your daily life, you can help support your lung health and detoxification mechanisms, protect yourself and your family from the effects of wildfire smoke and other environmental pollutants, and be prepared to evacuate safely if necessary. Remember, stay safe, calm, and healthy.