Most adults do it between 12 and 18 times a minute. As you get older you do it even more often. And it’s absolutely necessary for life.
I’m talking about breathing.
Some folks call bread the staff of life, but I’d argue it’s air. But we have a growing problem. Our air has become increasingly polluted.
If you we’re born in the 1950s you’ve seen the U.S. population increase almost 100% in your lifetime. That means more cars, more industries and more air pollution.
Air pollution is aging us faster
And now the American Lung Association is reporting that bad air quality is literally driving more than half of us into an early grave. In other words, air pollution is taking years off of many of our lives.
How bad is it?
A 2015 study that focused on Hong Kong—where air pollution is already such a big problem that it’s like peering into our own future if we don’t turn things around—found that higher air pollution counts sent folk’s risk from dying of cancer skyrocketing by a shocking 22 percent.
A breakdown by cancer types is enough to give you chills…
- 35% increased risk of dying from liver, pancreas or other organ cancers
- 36% jump in death risk from lung cancer for men
- 42% increase in risk of dying from upper gastro-intestinal tract cancer
- 80% climb in death risk from breast cancer for women
But even if air pollution doesn’t end up killing you tomorrow, the toxins you’re breathing in can accelerate aging and make you miserable at the same time.
Exposure to air pollution is linked to…
- Heart damage
- Asthma attacks
- Lung cancer
- Child development issues
- Fertility issues
Heavy metal exposure could be making you sick
Damaging heavy metals such as cadmium, lead and mercury are finding their way into the air we breathe through poor industry practices, pesticides and fertilizers.
Cadmium has been linked to bone and kidney damage and is believed to be a carcinogen that can cause lung cancer. Lead exposure is associated with dementia, developmental issues in unborn babies and raised blood pressure.
And while there are signs of things getting better as government regulations are put into place and more folks have begun to be concerned about how their own behaviors may be affecting the air, soil and water we still have a long way to go to significantly slash our risk for an early death or fast-tracked aging.
3 “tricks” to help you breathe easier
But you don’t have to just accept the path to an early grave. You can make a couple of small changes that could help you live longer… and better.
And they don’t require donning a hazmat suit or strapping on a gas mask.
1. Clean your air:
Invest in a HEPA air filter (or several if you have a larger home). While you can’t do anything to instantly change the quality of the outdoor air you breathe, you can cut down on the toxins you’re breathing in while at home. And since most of us spend a fair amount of time at home that can make a big difference.
To qualify as HEPA (High-efficiency particulate arrestance) an air filter must remove 99.77 percent of particles that are 0.3 micrometers in size.
2. Clean your home:
The dust that sticks to your carpets and drapes and that settles onto your furniture is full of damaging pollutants. Commit to cleaning more often and more thoroughly.
And rather than spreading the dust around with say a feather duster, use products that will help you capture it and get rid of it. Certain microfiber cleaning clothes are good for this and a vacuum—preferably one with a HEPA filter—is a good option too.
3. Clean your body:
The reality is you’re going to still be exposed to pollutants, and the toxins you’re absorbing can still make you sick and shorten your life. But you can fight them with supplements.
To help rid your body of toxins I typically recommend…
- A daily probiotic, and/or
- Chlorophyll-rich spirulina
Also make an appointment to see a holistic doctor to have your exposure levels checked. If your heavy metal levels are through the roof you might want to discuss chelation therapy.
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