While I’ve written a lot about nutrition and the absorption of macro and the conventional micro nutrients (minerals and vitamins), I haven’t talked much about negative micro nutrients.

Our bodies absorb pollutants and toxins in the air the same way we absorb nutrients from food and beverages. These toxins and pollutants do a wide range of damage to our system and thus need to be processed, assimilated and excreted from the body.  You should consider everything you absorb as nutrition and attempt to limit exposure to toxins whether it is air pollution or artificial foodstuffs.

There are so many things to love about Vietnam but pollution in the two main cities isn’t one of them.  The environment ministry’s study between 2011 and 2015 found the air quality has become much worse. Hoang Duong Tung, the deputy director of the Vietnam Environment Administration, said traffic and industrial activities are major sources of air pollution in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. Approximately 140 new cars and 750 new motorbikes are registered every day in HCMC.

The Real-time Air Quality Index on aqicn.org this morning at 7am ranked the pollution level in HCMC as “Good (42)” and Hanoi as “Moderate (108)”. However, as the cities come to life and traffic increases, so does the pollution reaching an average range between “unhealthy for sensitive groups” and “unhealthy”. If you live in heavy traffic areas the reading will be higher again. These readings are high enough to warrant action to protect your health.

One lifestyle blogger recommends not living in HCMC or Hanoi for more than two years… MAX! To me this is a very extreme view especially when you can take action to limit your exposure. For example only perform exercise outside in the early hours of the morning when levels are lower, wear an air pollution mask when near traffic areas and have a clean home environment by obtaining an air purifier.

We spend the majority of our lives indoors… on average 86% of our time is spent indoors (The National Human Activity Pattern Survey). Whether you are healthy, sick, young, or old, everyone can benefit from an air purifier. Every home contains environmental toxins, even ones that are often cleaned thoroughly. It is proven that the air inside our homes can be more harmful than the air outside because air in the home recirculates and never has the opportunity to be filtered.

Air purifiers can also reduce the spread of illnesses and viruses like the common cold or the flu. They are very beneficial to people with low immune systems, like the elderly, and families with children because they lower the spread of illness.

Air ionisers and HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filters are the most commonly used air purifiers. Air ionisers distribute negative ions throughout the air causing the toxins to bond and fall out of the air. HEPA filters draw the air in using a fan, where it filters the air, and redistributes it back throughout the house.

In our society today there is more pollution now than there ever was before, especially in the home – I have them in my home and fitness studio. I believe air purifiers are essential because they greatly reduce your exposure to toxins and pollution meaning your body is under less stress. Air purifiers are one of the best things you can invest in for your home and your health today more than ever.

Phil Kelly is a health practitioner and expert in body transformation. His services are available at Star Fitness (starfitnesssaigon.com).