If we are what we eat, what about what we breathe?

It’s time to eat, drink and breathe healthily

We’re frequently bombarded with advice on what we should and shouldn’t eat and how much we should or shouldn’t drink, but no-one ever tells us what we should or shouldn’t breathe – despite the fact that breathing polluted indoor air has been linked to a range of serious health conditions.
We breathe in far more than we eat and drink. On an average day, working-age people eat and drink a combined total of 2.7 litres, yet breathe a staggering 13,000 litres of air.

NHS experts offer wide-ranging advice on how to eat healthily; from 5 fruit and vegetables a day, guideline daily amounts on food products, to advice on red meat intake. The Government also recommend we drink 6-8 glasses of water a day and limit our daily alcohol intake but no advice is issued on what the air we are breathing in could be doing to our bodies, or what we can do about it.

This is despite the fact that we spend up to 90% of our time indoors and breathing polluted indoor air has been linked to allergies, asthma, lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, airborne respiratory infections and cardiovascular disease.

Research shows that the best way to tackle indoor air pollution is to make sure that you have effective ventilation. This is because effective ventilation removes indoor air pollutants from the home, stopping them from accumulating and keeping indoor air quality at a healthy level.

Professor Peter Howarth, Consultant Physician at the University of Southampton, said:

“When individuals and families are exposed to a potent mix of airborne pollutants within the home, it is well documented that a range of health conditions occur more frequently. I have had many patients come to me with health problems due to indoor pollutants and this is normally down to poor ventilation and high levels of moisture in the air”.

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