The impact of air pollution; diet info for diabetes, heart disease – The McPherson Sentinel


By Dr. Michael Roizen

Q: I keep hearing about how pollutants in the air are causing all kinds of health problems. I live in the heart of a big city. What can I do to reduce the risks? — Dyana G., New York

A: You are correct that air pollution can cause everything from respiratory distress and lung cancer to weight gain, diabetes and even ovarian dysfunction that’s associated with Alzheimer’s disease, osteoporosis and cardiovascular disease, according to a new lab study. Of particular interest to researchers are the effects of certain fine particulate matter concentrations on both health and longevity.

A new study in Lancet Planetary Health reveals that around 2.5 billion people around the globe are exposed to air pollution levels that are seven times greater than the levels the World Health Organizations says are safe. Of the 1.8 million deaths attributed to these unhealthy levels of urban pollution, 33% could be avoided if cities would meet WHO guidelines.

In 2018, New York registered more than 200 days of air quality that was unhealthy for children, the elderly and the sick. And it doesn’t do the healthy any favors. Fortunately, there are ways you can reduce the negative effects of air pollution.

— Pay attention to air alerts. Those are days to exercise indoors at home or the gym. To see how your area is doing, check online at

— When you do exercise outdoors, do it in a tree-filled park or by a body of water. Stay clear of high-traffic areas. A long jog down city streets may be counterproductive.

— Consider getting athome air filters that are made to clean the air of small particles of pollutants — this is especially helpful for infants and children, anyone with asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and older folks.

— Feel confident that the long-term benefits of regular exercise outweigh the risks associated with exposure to air pollution — as long as you are smart from the start about when and where you do it.

Q: I have just been diagnosed with a mild case of Type 2 diabetes and would like to know what food plan I should follow — I’m getting confusing advice. Can you help me? — Carl F., Moline, Illinois

A: The good news is that most people with newly diagnosed diabetes can reverse it — and diet is an important part of doing that. (Physical activity is another component, as well as stress management and good sleep habits.) Researchers from the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University just did an exhaustive look at dietary factors that protect against diabetes and those that speed you on your way to serious diabetes woes. Writing in JAMA Open Network, they say whole grains, yogurt (we suggest milk alternatives and low-fat plain yogurts), fiber-rich foods (veggies and fruits) and polyunsaturated fatty acids (salmon, vegetable oils, nuts and seeds) that you eat in place of carbohydrates are associated with protection from diabetes.

White potatoes, processed meat and red meats, sugar-sweetened beverages, animal protein (there’s that red meat again) and anything with a high glycemic load sets you up for developing and worsening diabetes. Foods with a high glycemic load (that’s sugars/syrups, starchy veggies and fruits, and processed/simple carbs) and sugar-sweetened beverages are the most harmful.

A note on potatoes: Beta-carotene rich, fiber-filled baked sweet potato (no butter, try a splash of extra-virgin olive oil) is part of a diabetes-fighting, heart-friendly diet.

Since diabetes is a huge risk factor for cardiovascular disease, cancer, kidney failure and dementia, you will also be glad to know that the researchers also found that a diet based on a good daily supply of whole fruit and vegetables as well as total dietary fiber was associated with good cardiovascular health.

If you adopt these dietary guidelines and start walking daily with a goal of 10,000 steps a day or the equivalent, you have a very good chance to see healthy glucose levels and improve your heart health, too.

Health pioneer Michael Roizen, M.D., is chief wellness officer emeritus at the Cleveland Clinic and author of four No. 1 New York Times bestsellers. His next book is “The Great Age Reboot: Cracking the Longevity Code for a Younger Tomorrow.” Do you have a topic Dr. Mike should cover in a future column? If so, please email


Source link

Leave A Comment

All fields marked with an asterisk (*) are required