Anti-Cancer Strategies: Countering Radiation

Dahl soup with mung beans

Taking CT scans or radiation treatments? Confused about what to eat in the wake of  Japan’s quake?

● For starters, try miso soup, prescribed by Japanese doctors for radiation poisoning after Hiroshima and Nagasaki.  Miso is made by fermenting barley, soybeans and/or brown rice with salt and a fungus loaded with enzymes and probiotics. According to Japanese researchers, it helps protect the body from absorbing radiation.

Traditionally, miso soup is prepared with seaweed, which according to Canadian researchers, binds radioactive elements and helps eliminate them from the body, even long after exposure. Seaweed works in part because it’s high in iodine—thus preventing radioactive iodine from moving into your cells. But if you have or have had cancer, seaweed is not for you.

Iodine stimulates the thyroid, and research shows that people living with cancer have a better prognosis, better response to treatment and longer survival time when their thyroid function is low. If you’re living with cancer and exposed to large dosages of radiation and choose to eat seaweed, however, be sure to monitor your thyroid function with blood tests to make sure it doesn’t get overly active.   

And of course, you’ll want to purchase clean sources of both seaweed and miso. You can find some on the net or at your local health food store. (If the products are from Japan, make sure they were shipped prior to the disaster.)     

The key: Don’t boil the miso. That destroys its living medicinal organisms. Just boil water, let it settle, and whisk in the miso paste right before eating.

Here are some other foods recommended by various experts to counter radiation along with the theories behind them:

● Mung beans, lentils and other dried beans– contain protease inhibitors, which help keep cancer cells from making an enzyme (protease) that promotes metastasis. In Vietnam, mung beans are used traditionally for detoxification, and a group of researchers there found that a constituent in the bean (vitexin) improved the blood in women with breast cancer who were undergoing radiation and protected them from many of its side effects.

● Brazil nuts—major source of selenium, which helps the body metabolize free radicals, unstable atoms created by radiation. Other food sources include garlic, some teas and mushrooms, but selenium content varies, depending on the soil plants are grown in.  And don’t eat more than a handful of nuts a day as they’re high in Omega 6 fatty acids—which can promote inflammation under certain conditions. More on that in future posts.    

●Reishi and cordyceps mushrooms—protect bone marrow from toxicity

●Black and especially green tea—contain catechins, which absorb radioactive isotopes and remove them from the body, but of course, don’t purchase tea grown in or near post-quake Japan.  Sri Lanka is producing an organic green tea sold under various brand names.  You can also order pure green tea capsules or grow your own plant. 

● Bright-colored veggies and berries—contain antioxidants, including carotenes, which scavenge free radicals.Think orange/red veggies and notably, cooked tomato paste, which also has the antioxidant lycopene, activated by heat. Chlorophyll (think green veggies) detoxes poisons, including mercury, lead ,dioxins, PCBs and radiation.    

●Skins of veggies and hard fruits, especially apples—contain pectin, which binds radioactive residues and removes them from the body.       

●Alliums and crucifers—detox liver, enhance carcinogen excretion (See prior posts.)

●Burdock root–helps remove radioactive isotopes from the body. Chop up the burdock and add to soup for an earthy taste.    

●Culinary herbs and spices, notably cilantro (chelates radiation and heavy metals), curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric (see prior post) and chai tea, because it’s made up of so many spices —They all contain antioxidants. Plus, spices block NF kappa B cells, considered the black knight of cancer because they protect cancer cells from the body’s natural defense mechanisms. (But if you’re on chemo, check with your doctor before using curcumin, turmeric or plants that interfere with liver metabolism or drug clearance, including dandelion and artichoke.)

And what NOT to eat in the wake of the quake?

●Anything from the area in question, including Japanese seaweeds, mushrooms, shellfish and finfish. Some fish–tuna, for example–can migrate from the coast of Japan way across the Pacific, so stick to salmon ( not laden with mercury, like tuna, and higher in omega 3s.) Of course, the question is: How widespread is the contaminated area? I’ll update you soon on what the experts have to say.     

●And from the director of internal medicine at a Nagasaki hospital in August, 1945, who fed his patients miso soup daily, comes this advice: “Never take sugar. Sugar will destroy your blood.”

                                                                                                                                                                        –Dr. Tatsuichiro Akizuki