The diet, which focuses on fresh vegetables, fruit, olive oils and nuts, can at least halve the chance of developing heart disease from air pollution.
People who closely followed the diet were 50 per cent less likely to die from any cause and reduced their chances of dying from a heart attack or developing heart disease around three-fold.
Researchers from the New York University School of Medicine analysed the health of nearly 550,000 people living in five different states in the US, and who were exposed to varying degrees of air pollution. During the 17 years of the study, 126,000 people died.
The antioxidants in the diet protected people from exposure to fine particulate matter and nitrous oxide pollutants in the air, but not from harmful effects of high ozone levels.