Is the AIR killing you?
Maybe the summer sun doesn't seem quite so bright... and yet the sunrise and sunset seem more colorful and spectacular than ever.
Unfortunately, you have only one thing to thank for BOTH those hazy days and those stunning evening colors: pollution.
More Americans are sucking up more smog than ever, with more than half the nation inhaling sub-quality air with every breath -- and it's become so common that most folks don't even notice it anymore.
Now, the latest research shows how all that bad air can do bad things inside your body, causing your arteries to age faster and setting the stage for a lifelong battle with heart disease.
The new study finds folks exposed to high levels of particulate matter from pollution have higher levels of junk building up in the arteries, specifically dangerous calcium deposits.
That's what causes arteries to harden and choke off the supply of blood -- and it's one of the single biggest risk factors for heart attack and stroke.
And if you're breathing polluted air, specifically air laden with particulate matter, those calcium deposits build up 20 percent faster than they would under normal circumstances.
The study also found slight increases in LDL ("bad") cholesterol and triglycerides, and a small drop in HDL ("good") cholesterol after persistent exposure to polluted air.
Put it all together, and that's a perfect storm for heart risk... and you don't have to live in a big city known for its pollution, like New York or Los Angeles, to face those risks.
More than half the nation is inhaling air so polluted that it's doing damage inside the body, according to a study I shared just last month.
So you've got two options.
You could move somewhere with better air, which isn't a terrible option -- but it's also not terribly convenient, especially if you want to keep close to your friends and family.
Or you can take smart steps to limit your exposure.
First, get a quality air purifier for your home with a HEPA filter, and be sure to clean or change it regularly.
Second, keep an eye on air quality forecasts and consider staying in on days when the ozone levels are high.
And third, be sure to get plenty of olive oil in your diet. As I shared last year, olive oil can protect against the vascular damage and inflammation caused by pollution, and you can read all about it in this free report from my House Calls archives.