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As we all celebrated love being in the air with Valentine’s Day last week, Susan Froome looks at what else can be hidden all around us – and what to do about it.

I don’t know about you but I like Valentine’s Day.  My husband and I don’t go too mad though, especially with two small girls to factor in, but it’s a nice time to celebrate the power of love in our lives.

We generally cook a nice meal, have a glass of wine and thank our lucky stars that we and our children are healthy, warm and together.

It’s been a while since we would venture out for a meal, primarily because of the children, but also because these days, you have to face the seriously over inflated prices associated with Valentine’s Day.

The other thing that makes me stop and think before I go out is all the reports I’ve been seeing about pollution in the air and air quality in general.

Long-term exposure

As my colleague Janvi has already reported in a previous blog, air pollution is a major crisis and there are an estimated 9,000 people in London alone dying prematurely each year because of long-term exposure to air pollution.

Now I’m not advocating hiding away and never venturing out but it does make me think, especially with two growing girls.

So, what can we all do to help keep ourselves safe in the outdoors and ensure our hearts are healthy and ready to flutter again next Valentine’s Day? Here’s my top 5 recommendations:

1. Avoid high pollution routes

There are now a number of apps you can get on your phone that will show the pollution rate in real time, so you can judge for yourself when it’s best to venture out, and where to avoid.

There are many out there as a quick Google will show and include the BreezoMeter; CleanSpace – Air Pollution; Plume Air Report; London Air iPhone App.

2. Walk don’t drive

Incredibly, the levels of pollution inside your car can be up to five times higher than outside.

So limiting the amount of time you spend idling in traffic will not only be good for you and your family, it will also help minimise the amount your own car is emitting.

3. Don’t forget the indoors

Indoor pollution can be just as damaging as outdoor pollution, and these can be caused by cooking, smoking, cleaning and washing and the levels can often be more concentrated.

That is where a suitable ventilation system can help by refreshing the air inside your home. 

The best ones also recover up to 80% of the heat energy you’ve spent getting your home warm and cosy. 

4. Use natural cleaning products

The everyday cleaning products we all use in our homes contain chemicals which can release toxic pollutants into our homes.

You can reduce these toxins by buying all natural or organic products, or even by making your own, using vinegar, lemon, baking soda etc. There are plenty of websites showing you how.

5. Antioxidants

Our exposure to toxins are high with pollution and these can be harmful to our wellbeing as well as ageing to skin. This is due to the oxidative stress this causes to the body, so you can help fight this process by introducing more antioxidants into your diet.

Organic food is up to 60% higher in antioxidants, but even non-organic fresh fruit and veg can help as it tends to be high in antioxidants.

Drinking green tea is also another way of introducing antioxidants into your diet.

Of course I can’t promise I’ll be doing all these myself but if, like me, you worry about the effect all these hidden pollutants can have on your health, then it’s got to be worth making an effort hasn’t it?

After all, I want to do everything I can to make sure that it is predominantly love in the air around me this time next year!

Susan Froome is Marketing Administrator at Mitsubishi Electric

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