Air pollution and Bangkok foods we can count on

Bangkok and other major cities in Thailand have had poor air quality over the past few days. The government has ordered many schools to close for several days due to air pollution. Children and those with lung problems are of immediate concern.

For many of us who have no choice but to stay in Bangkok, our fight against air pollution is to stay indoors and keep our bodies healthy.

Here are some foods that are cheap and readily available in Bangkok supermarkets that will help our bodies fight against the damaging effects of air pollution:


A study by Egner et al. (2014) from Johns Hopkins focused on an air-polluted region near the Yangtze River delta in China; they showed that drinking broccoli sprout juice for 12 weeks led to excretion of more toxic compounds as measured in the urine (1). Broccoli sweeps those harmful pollutants out of our body. Have you tried broccoli juice? Share your simple recipe in our comment section below.


Tomato contains lycopene, an antioxidant that protects against respiratory illnesses. Consume this regularly in your diet. You can eat tomatoes raw or cooked, or even drink it. Ketchup? uhmmm… double check the sugar content first!


Strawberries contain Vitamins B, C, E, and K. Simply put, these vitamins help protect our body’s cells, ensure healthy skin, keep the nervous system working, and create red blood cells. It is suggested that the glossier and more reddish the berries are, the better (2).


This is quite expensive compared to others on the list, but you can see discounted prices every now and then in major supermarkets in Bangkok. Almonds are rich in magnesium, which boosts our immune system and relaxes the breathing tubes inside our lungs. Its Vitamin E content helps in guarding toward injuries to tissues.

Food rich in Vitamin C

Guava, orange, apple, watermelon, kale, parsley, cauliflower, papaya, and spinach are all good sources of Vitamin C. These foods are the inner pollution cleansers in our body. It helps build the immune system, making us less susceptible to allergies. Never hesitate to grab a couple of these at Tesco or BigC.

What to avoid?

Staying outdoors, sleeping late at night, drinking sugary liquids such as chai yen (Thai milk tea), soft drinks, tetra pack juices, and all artificial sweeteners and sugar-laden favorites should be avoided.

Also, there are studies that support the negative effects of supplements to our bodies. Hamishehkar et al. (2016) suggest the following:

“Our recommendation is that taking high-dose supplements of vitamins A, E, D, C, and folic acid is not always effective for prevention of disease, and it can even be harmful to the health” (3).

Conclusion: Balanced diet and healthy lifestyle

Just because these foods are good at fighting the harmful effects of air pollution does not mean that we should triple the intake in one serving while living in poor air quality conditions. The key is always balance and variety. One easy tip is that the more colorful your plate with natural food, the better.

In addition to proper diet, rest and exercise are also recommended.

“Such exercise (brisk walking) would in many cases be better for the health than medicine. Physicians often advise their patients to take an ocean voyage, to go to some mineral spring, or to visit different places for change of climate, when in most cases if they would eat temperately, and take cheerful, healthful exercise, they would recover health and would save time and money” (4).

The One who created us knows what we need. He said,

“I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food”

Genesis 1:29 KJV

God has placed all our basic needs into our close surroundings. Let us use them for our utmost benefit and for His glory.

What other tips can you share with us in fighting the effects of air pollution in Bangkok?

(1) Egner, P. A., Chen, J.-G., Zarth, A. T., Ng, D. K., Wang, J.-B., … Kensler, T. W. (2014). Rapid and sustainable detoxication of airborne pollutants by broccoli sprout beverage: results of a randomized clinical trial in China. Cancer Prevention Research (Philadelphia, PA), 7(8), 813–823. doi: 10.1158/1940-6207.CAPR-14-0103

(2) Busch, S. (2018). What vitamins do strawberries contain. Hearst Newspapers, LLC. Retrieved from

(3) Hamishehkar, H., Ranjdoost, F., Asgharian, P., Mahmoodpoor, Ata, & Sanaie, S. (2016). Vitamins, are they safe? Advanced Pharmaceutical Bulletin, 6(4), 467–477. doi: 10.15171/apb.2016.061

(4) White, E. G. (1905). Chapter 17: the use of remedies. In The ministry of healing. Pacific Press Publishing Association.