Monday, March 14, 2011

Is The West Coast At Risk For Radioactive Contamination? How Your Diet Can Help You Avoid Radiation Poisoning.

Sea vegetables can protect the body from radiation
and remove radioactive particles from the body.

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A Tragedy of Monumental Proportions
It's hard to watch the suffering in Japan from Friday's earthquake. For me, it's painful on many levels. Over the 3 decades I spent in high tech, I traveled to Japan many times during which I fell in love with this beautiful country, its delicate and healthful cuisine and of course, its amazing and caring people. 
As a child I heard numerous stories from my Dad who was stationed in Japan during the war. He came home with many tales of the wonderful friends he made there. I always wondered how one makes friends during a war with the people that you are supposed to be at war with but that is just indicative of the depth of generosity and kindness possessed by the Japanese people.
This tragedy is also very personal since my husband and I have lived on the U.S. side of the "Ring of Fire" for over 20 years, experienced the Loma Prieta earthquake in 1989, and often wonder when the "big one" is going to happen.
So my heart goes out to the people of Japan. May they get the strength and support they need to survive this terrible tragedy from all the prayers, good wishes and donations coming from all over the world. 

Who is at Risk from the Nuclear Disaster?
As Japan works diligently to cool their nuclear reactors and prevent meltdown, worldwide experts are already saying that the possibility of radiation exposure remains low. I often disregard experts when it comes to health risk. Need I list the things that the experts think are not a risk? I think not.
In a worse case scenario, the core of the nuclear reactor melts and is not totally contained in the reactor vessel or the concrete containment building. Radiation would then escape into the environment. This radiation would not only harm Japan but may also effect other countries, especially the West Coast of the United States. The jet stream winds blow directly across the Pacific ocean and if airborne radiation gets into the jet stream, it can make it over to the west coast in about 36 hours.

Dietary Precautions 
If there were a nuclear emergency, the local health officials would be passing out potassium iodide pills to help block the absorption of radioactive iodine by the thyroid. With low levels of questionable contamination in the jet stream, I don't think I am going to do anything this drastic since there are plenty of side effects of taking potassium iodide including loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, and possible severe allergic reactions.
A more gentle approach could be adding some foods to your diet.

Seaweeds or sea vegetables can protect the body from radiation and also remove radioactive molecules from the body. These properties come from their high content of sodium alginate and iodine. A 1964 study at McGill University demonstrated the ability of the sodium alginate found in kelp to significantly reduce the absorption of radioactive strontium in the intestines and help bind it and excrete it out of the body. To get more sea vegetables in your diet, cut about 3 inches of kombu and add it to the water when making beans, stews or soups. 
If you are looking for a supplement, a good combination of 6 seaweed species can be found in Naturespirit Herbs'  "Wild Pacific Sea Vegetable Blend" which contains Kombu, Wakame, Kelp Fronds, Sea Fern, Gigartina and Iridea. 

Apple's Contain Pectin that can bind to radioactive particles and remove them from the body. So there's another reason to eat this healthful fruit! Pectin is also found in carrots, beans and from the peels of citrus fruits. Try putting an orange, peel and all, into your morning smoothie.  (Don't try this unless you have a really powerful blender!)

Foods Rich in Chlorophyll have been said to reduce radiation toxicity. So if you've been dying to try that shot of wheatgrass, now is the time! Spirulina, chorella and wild blue-green micro-algae are also rich in chlorophyll as well as more common foods such as kale, mustard greens, collard greens, bok choy and other dark leafy vegetables.

A Macrobiotic Diet may help with radiation poisoning. One story that came up many times while researching this topic is one from Michio Kushi, author of the book Macrobiotic Diet. In it he states, "At the time of the atomic bombing of Nagasaki in 1945, Tatsuichiro Akizuki, M.D., was director of the Department of Internal Medicine at St. Francis Hospital in Nagasaki. Most patients in the hospital, located one mile from the center of the blast, survived the initial effects of the bomb, but soon after came down with symptoms of radiation sickness from the radioactivity that had been released. Dr. Akizuki fed his staff and patients a strict macrobiotic diet of brown rice, miso and tamari soy sauce soup, wakame and other sea vegetables , Hokkaido pumpkin, and sea salt and prohibited the consumption of sugar and sweets. As a result, he saved everyone in his hospital, while many other survivors in the city perished from radiation sickness.’”

Essential Fatty Acids, according to Paul Pitchford author of Healing with Whole Foods, can help initiate cell renewal after exposure to radiation. He recommends a daily tablespoon of fresh flaxseed oil. 
Pitchford also urges prudence while recalling some Americans who became ill after Cherobyl, not from the radiation but from taking too many remedies simultaneously in hopes of preventing radiation poisoning!
For a simple recipe that combines many of these important foods, check out my Radiation Detox Smoothie.

Hopefully the scientists will prevent a meltdown at these nuclear power plants in Japan and no one will have to worry about radioactive contamination. I just wanted to give you a few simple things to do to help prevent illness in case of minor exposure. 


Cheryl Allen Salinas said...

What wonderful information! Thanks for this . . .

Wade said...

Yes, thank you Joanne, for this timely, important article.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this great info. I was wondering: does cooking beans with Kombu add iodine to the beans are do u have to eat the Kombu? Also, is that roasted seaweed snack (seaweed, canola oil, sesame oil, sea salt) an ok source of iodine ... My toddler loves that but it'll be a challenge getting her to eat much of these other foods.

Dr. Joanne L. Mumola Williams said...

Yes, you will get the minerals from the kombu from just eating the beans.
Also, sea salt contains very little iodine. If you are trying to get more iodine, use iodized salt instead.
Take care,