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Researchers have demonstrated a correlation between exposure to air pollution and the risk of developing certain respiratory disorders, including asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and lung cancer. The exact mechanisms remain unknown, but scientists believe there is a strong link between environmental exposures and the production of free radicals. These highly reactive compounds can cause inflammation in the lungs and damage the tissue lining the lung walls.
To help reduce free-radical formation and the damage they can cause, avoid exposure to cigarette smoke, secondhand smoke and air pollution. Increase your intake of foods rich in antioxidants, especially organically grown vegetables and fruits. Antioxidants are also found in green tea and dark chocolate. Consider taking a daily antioxidant supplement as insurance against those times when you can’t eat right.