While no food can block radiation or make you immune to its effects, nutrients have been repeatedly shown in scientific studies to help the body adapt to radiation exposure and speed cellular repair. Here's a look at some of the best options.
This superfood algae, which grows in freshwater, is one of the top radioprotective foods you can find. It gets its deep blue-green hue from a protein called phycocyanin, which binds to radioisotopes and heavy metals to help flush them from the body. In animal studies, spirulina has been shown to promote new blood cell formation and boost immunity in mice with damage from gamma radiation; it can also decrease radiation damage in general.
With its distinctive and delicate taste, this soup can be surprisingly powerful in protecting your body from radiation. It contains fermented soybean paste, which studies demonstrate can protect mice from sustaining damage from radiation with just one dose. It also contains an isoflavone called genistein, which promotes blood cell production after radiation exposure and is being explored for its potential to protect soldiers and civilians from nuclear threats. Miso soup also has a radioprotective enzyme that activates the genes used to repair DNA.
Berries and cherries
With their high amounts of antioxidants like quercetin and resveratrol, organic berries and cherries offer some protection from the free radical damage caused by radiation. Quercetin can protect proteins and lipids from deadly dosages of gamma radiation and shield mitochondrial DNA from damage due to oxidants, while resveratrol has been shown in animal studies to protect chromosomes from being damaged by radiation.
If you have any doubt about ginkgo biloba’s radioprotective power, consider this: It was used to treat workers who were present for the nuclear reactor meltdown at Chernobyl in 1986. That’s because extracts of ginkgo protect organs from incurring radiation-induced oxidative injury. It reduces the effects of substances like plutonium that can cause damage to DNA and chromosomes. It is also used to protect people with Graves’ disease from cell damage following radioactive iodine treatment.
It may not come as much of a surprise that green tea is one of the most powerful radioprotectants among antioxidants, and this is largely due to its high amounts of the polyphenol known as EGCG. The catechins in green tea absorb radioactive isotopes and eliminate them. It can also protect cells from being damaged by radiation therapy; black tea has been shown to have similar effects.
Turmeric always seems to pop up on lists of healthy foods thanks to its active ingredient, curcumin, which boasts an impressively long list of health benefits. Known for anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, and antioxidant properties, this overachiever is also pretty good at protecting from radiation damage. In animal studies, it stopped tumor formation and DNA damage in rats who were exposed to high doses of radiation and improved their survival rates. It has also been shown to reduce the dangerous peroxidation of fats. Keep in mind, however, that it has poor bioavailability; taking it with a bit of black pepper can help.
Unfortunately, our exposure to radiation is only likely to grow in the years to come. That’s why it has never been more important to protect yourself from radiation damage. With so many delicious options, it’s easy to give your body an edge in the face of all this radiation!
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