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Food helps to resist pollution?

By Liu Zhihua (China Daily)

16:00, January 16, 2013

(China Daily)

Key Words: Pollution; haze; smog; food; diet; health

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On Jan 9, when smog began to enshroud cities in China, a post suddenly went viral on Sina Weibo, a popular micro-blogging platform in China.

Written in a funny style by a netizen identified as a Traditional Chinese Medicine food therapy specialist in Guangdong province, the post advises people to eat black fungus and coagulated pig blood to protect themselves against the negative effects of particles in the polluted air.

So far, the "TCM" post has been reposted nearly 2,000 times, and received hundreds of comments.

Some people said they would follow, while others laughed at the advice. Yet many asked for a scientific explanation of this advice so they could decide whether or not to follow it.

In China, black fungus (or "wood ear") and pig blood (black pudding) have long been considered as body cleansers. Therefore, many people conclude the two kinds of food can help get rid of particles invading the human body, when smog lingers where they live.

Zhang Shu'nan, a TCM chief physician of respiratory diseases with Beijing's China-Japan Friendship Hospital, says the belief is groundless.

"It is nonsense that a specific food can clear dust out of a human body," Zhang says.

"It is far less efficient than a mask."

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