Letter: Five apples a day keep the ozone at bay

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The Independent Online
Sir: In these last few weeks, our attention has been drawn to the increased environmental pollution in cities from exhaust fumes forming further toxic chemicals by photochemical interaction with the sun.

Headlines such as 'Cauldron of deadly smog', 'Why are we poisoning our families?' have been commonplace.

The polluted atmosphere we breathe has many dangerous consequences for us, including increased generation of the activated chemicals called free radicals. While there is not much we can do individually to improve the quality of the air around us, we do know that dietary antioxidant nutrients can exert protection against excess free radicals and oxidative stress arising from inhalation of pollutants, ozone, nitrogen dioxide, etc, and of course, cigarette smoke.

Many studies show the beneficial effects of diets rich in fruit and vegetables. The World Health Organisation and government agencies have recommended that an appropriate dietary target for the maintenance of optimal health should include at least five 'helpings' of fruit and vegetables per day.

We should be recommending that everyone takes simple steps towards contributing to the maintenance of health by ensuring appropriate levels of consumption of fresh fruit and vegetables and the dietary constituents they contain.

Yours faithfully,

A. T. DIPLOCK

CATHERINE RICE-EVANS

Free Radical Research Group

Division of Biochemistry

Guy's Hospital

London, SE1

11 July

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