Eating a Mediterranean diet may protect people from some of the harm of long-term exposure to air pollution, and reduce their risk of dying from heart attacks, strokes and other causes of death, according to new research.
Given that the Mediterranean diet is well-known to be high in antioxidants and essential micronutrients such as vitamins, the finding that it protects people from some of the harm of long-term exposure to air pollution is hardly surprising.
In further evidence that essential micronutrients are highly effective in protecting human health in this way, a study published in 2017 found that high-dose B vitamins may “completely offset” the damage caused by the most dangerous type of air pollution. Published in the prestigious Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) journal, the researchers showed that exposure to fine particulate matter of the type produced by burning fossil fuels in motor vehicles can be mitigated by a daily supplement of B vitamins. With such pollution being known to have significant adverse effects on human health, the finding has profound implications for public health policies worldwide.
Now that a safe and effective way of protecting against the most dangerous type of air pollution has been found, governments around the world are faced with a clear choice. Do they finally start to act in the health interests of their citizens, or do they continue to act in the financial interests of multinational chemical and energy companies and allow countless millions more deaths to occur that are already now preventable? Without doubt, history will not judge them kindly if they make the wrong choice.