Foods to fight radiation exposure.
We are currently receiving conflicting information about the amounts and dangers of the radiation exposure that we are receiving here in North America from the situation in Japan. It is not our place here to add to the amount of fear going around, nor do we wish to minimize the problem by suggesting that the tiny amounts we receive do not matter. All radioactive iodine that we absorb from the rain, the water and the foods (especially dairy products and meats, since it accumulates up the food chain) causes internal damage, both to the thyroid and free radical damage caused throughout the body. There is no doubt that the nuclear industry, poised for resurgence as an alternative to fossil fuels, is putting a reverse spin on the information, minimizing the dangers.
But, as discussed in the previous blog, we are constantly exposed to various radiations as a result of “better living through modern science” and what’s left over from above ground nuclear testing. So, my approach here is to empower you with the knowledge you need to stay safe year round, not just when faced with the latest nuclear disaster (and believe me, this is not the last one we will see.)
Seaweed and radiation
First and foremost, eat more seaweed. While many in the West have never acquired a taste for this food, outside of sushi, it is a superior food in many ways. Chinese Medicine uses it for shrinking tumors and growths in the body, and the extremely high level of iodine protects the thyroid while the high level of minerals protects the rest of the body from radiation damage. The brown seaweeds, including alaria, kelp, kombu, bladderwrack and wakame, are also high in algin which will actually pull radiation from the body. Algin as an isolate is also sometimes found in supplements as “sodium alginate.” For those not keen on seaweed, nori (used to wrap sushi) and dulse, the purple seaweed (also high in lithium), are two of the tastier seaweeds, and easy to add to soups, salads or grains.
Alkaline diet and radiation
Since some of the damage caused by radiation can be attributed to creating a high level of acidity in the body, all alkalizing foods are protective. These would include organic vegetables which are rich in minerals. Remember that organic food still has the full range of trace minerals, whereas agribusiness vegetables are not only lacking in minerals, due to topsoil erosion and the use of synthetic fertilizers, but also often contain high amounts of pesticide residue, which is also highly acidic to the body. See the link below to my newsletter “Why Organic?” for a list of the foods with the highest and lowest amounts of pesticides.
Followers of Macrobiotics (a Japanese dietary philosophy based on Zen Buddhism) maintain that after the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki , those residents (not directly affected by the blast) who had brown rice and miso to consume, did not suffer as much from the effects of radiation sickness as those still eating a modern diet. We can assume that as part of their traditional diet these people also consumed high amounts of green tea (extremely high in antioxidants) and of course seaweed. All these foods are very alkalizing to the body so much of their benefit may simply be from neutralizing the high acidity that is part of the damage done to the body by radiation. By now most of us know which foods are acidifying (sugars, refined carbs, fruit juices, “bad” fats, excessive meat, excessive refined salt, etc) and which foods are alkalizing (whole vegetables, dark leafy green vegetables, essential fatty acids, berries, whole grains, natural salts, lean proteins, sprouted and fermented foods, etc). It is also important to keep up a good intake of filtered water when the body is coping with an addition burden of toxins.
As an aside, the acid/alkaline proposition is not actually based on any change in the ph of blood, but on the tendency of the body to neutralize acidic foods by pulling minerals out of the body to maintain the ideal (necessary for life) ph of the blood. Since minerals are alkalizing the more we lose from our bodies and bones overtime, the weaker and more acidic our systems become. Acidity is related to inflammation and inflammation is related to a host of diseases.
Now, some other foods have a particular ability to help protect the body from radiation and to help flush it out with minimal damage. These include: sulfur containing foods, such as cabbage, broccoli, kale and eggs, since sulfur helps the body to produce the antioxidant glutathione; buckwheat, due to being high in the bioflavonoid rutin which protects against radiation; raw sunflower seeds and apples, both of which are high in the fiber pectin, which binds and removes radioactive particles from the body. Apples (along with grapefruit) are also particularly high in d-calcium glucarate a natural substance with powerful detoxification properties. Just make sure your apples (and grapefruits) are organic, or the pesticide levels outweigh the benefits.
As well as eating a mineral-rich diet, it is also important to keep our supplemental mineral intake high, in order to support alkalinity. I will take this opportunity to point out that the NutriStart, NutriPods daily multiple vitamin and mineral packet includes a wide array of minerals from “macro” minerals (calcium, magnesium, potassium, silica, zinc, etc) to trace minerals (boron, chromium, copper, iodine, selenium, etc). Another supportive product from NutriStart is the Provide Smoothie Mix. This mix provides soluble fibers, akin to pectin, berries for antioxidant activity, greens for alkalinity and whey protein isolate, the only protein with the ability to raise “glutathione” levels in the body. Glutathione is an internally produced antioxidant that aids the body in detoxification and raising immunity functions.
Currently, those who believe that the dangers are being minimized in the traditional media, advise against consuming fresh dairy products and fish, for the next 6 months or so (depending when the Japanese nuclear plants cease spewing radioactive waste). Fish harvested from around Japan are already showing excessively high radioactive contamination. Some authorites have suggested freezing fish and milk (and milk products) for two weeks before consuming. This allows time for the radioactive iodine to decay to the point of no longer being dangerous.
Next blog I will address the nutritional supplements that are helpful in protecting us against radioactive damage.