Throw open your windows and suddenly, your house smells like smoke out of hell’s deepest fire pits.
It’s that time of the year again for Malaysians to put on their face masks and shake their fists in the general direction of our neighbours across the Straits of Melaka.
Whether or not Malaysia is right to blame its neighbours, there is no denying that the general quality of air has deteriorated to the point coughs and sore throats are now common place among the population.
So, you might be wondering how to protect yourself from these ailments.
In addition to wearing an effective face mask, you should also consider observing a healthy diet to keep your immune system up and ready for action.
Consider consuming more of the following foodstuffs and beverages to keep haze-related ailments away:
The most important thing to do during this annoying haze season is to keep hydrated.
As the haze shrouds Malaysian neighbourhoods, the air becomes much more arid thus the need to drink water to keep cool is more necessary now than ever before.
In addition, the haze contains many toxins which your lungs and skin absorb, forcing your kidneys to work harder to cleanse your body.
To ease excretion of these toxins, your kidneys need as much water as possible to flush it out.
A hydrated body will have its vital organs perform their functions smoothly, without wearing themselves out.
In the same vein, avoid caffeine and alcohol as consumption can lead to dehydration.
2. Vitamin C-filled vegetables and fruits
Antioxidants, such as vitamin C, may protect the body from harmful molecules called free radicals that damage cells.
Vitamin C contributes to immune defence by reinforcing many cellular functions of the immune system.
Sources of vitamin C are not hard to find, with large amounts in broccoli, potatoes, tomatoes, spinach and cabbage.
No need for vitamin C supplements as you can easily obtain it by eating a wide variety of fruits such as citruses, berries, mangoes and watermelons.
Or if you happen to have a brand-new blender to try out, turn the fruits into a refreshing juice or smoothie.
3. Oily fish with Omega-3
Sashimi lovers should probably have a field day during these hazy times gorging on delicious, succulent salmon.
And despite the bill, it might just be worth it as salmon, an oily fish, is filled with omega-3 fatty acids.
Omega-3 plays a vital role to reduce inflammation and greatly strengthen your immune system.
They reduce the production of inflammation-linked molecules and substances and are known to lower asthma risk in both children and young adults.
If salmon is too pricey, consider mackerel, herring, sardines and anchovies as substitutes.
4. Seeds, nuts and beans
For those hungry for snacks, consider investing in sunflower seeds and peanuts the next time you hear your stomach growling.
Bursting with vitamin E, these are healthy snacks that will also keep your body in top shape to combat the haze.
Vitamin E is a good antioxidant, which may protect your cells against the effects of the dangerous molecules floating about in hazy air.
These molecules may also be causing heart disease, cancer and other diseases.
So instead of buying a packet of salt-filled chips, throw in some nuts or seeds into a bowl instead and start chomping away.
5. Cooling teas
As the haze comes with an uncomfortable stifling heat, your body too will experience a change in temperature as the mercury shoots up.
Hence, you should consider stocking your refrigerator with cooling herbal teas that can be found in Chinese medicinal stores and teashops.
Most of these herbal drinks are made using natural ingredients that are believed to help in the nourishment of the lungs and body.
Chrysanthemum and wolfberry teas are effective at bringing your temperature down to a safe level.
Drinking teas hot also has its own benefit as it can help soothe throat irritation.
In the event of persistent health-related issues, consult a medical professional for diagnosis and treatment.