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by author, natural beauty expert & cancer survivor Britta AragonRSS

Yummy Indian Food…Did You Know It Can Reduce Skin Damage from Radiation?

By Britta Aragon on March 19, 2009 | 1 Comment

If you’ve been lucky enough to escape stomach upset or loss of appetite from cancer treatments, here’s a good reason to visit your favorite Indian Restaurant, or to make your mom’s curried chicken this weekend. The benefits of eating Indian food go beyond the taste buds: did you know these culinary gems can also help reduce skin-tissue damage from radiation burns?

Radiation dermatitis can be an extremely painful and debilitating condition, yet recent studies have shown that negative side effects can be diminished by ingesting curry-containing foods prior to treatment. The article “Curry Spice Takes Burn Out of Radiation” explains that the anti-inflammatory properties found in curry (known as curcumin) “work in ways similar to the popular Cox-2 inhibiting drugs, including aspirin and Celebrex,” while still being an entirely natural substance. (We love it!)

The University of Rochester Medical Center recently revealed a connection between patients who ate meals high in curry and those who had a decreased likelihood of burning after radiation. “Curcumin, the substance that gives turmeric its yellow color, is a natural anti-inflammatory compound and scientists have already shown that it can suppress tumor blood-vessel growth.” Although the test has only been conducted on mice, researchers believe there is a positive connection between the ingestion of anti-inflammatory foods during radiation treatment (like curry), and the lowered likelihood of extreme burning.

In the fight against cancer, researchers have continued to search for links among nutritional supplements, dietary habits, and lifestyle changes to improve the results of radiotherapy treatments. Try reducing your own internal inflammation by creating a diet rich in anti-inflammatory foods, including unprocessed whole grains, colorful produce, lean proteins (white meats instead of red), and plenty of healthy fats. Choose items that are rich in natural Omega-3 fatty acids like unsalted nuts or organic fish (always choose wild over farmed), and pick deep, dark colors of produce. (They’re high in cancer-fighting antioxidants.)

Start avoiding foods that can increase inflammation, such as fried foods, preservatives, white flours, refined sugars, and saturated fats (found in full-fat dairy products, butters, or fatty meats like bacon). Remember to drink plenty of water or herbal teas (we love antioxidant-rich green tea) throughout the day, instead of caffeine or sugary sodas. Find out more by researching Dr. Weil’s Anti-Inflammatory Diet here. We also fell in love with Dr. Perricone’s philosophy, which discusses the connection between diet and skin inflammation. By choosing foods rich in anti-inflammatory properties, we’ll help lessen the severe cancer-related side effects on our hair, skin and nails.

* Let us know if you’ve used any of these nutritional tips and found them helpful in coping with side effects.

Photo courtesy of Flickr

Posted in: Nutrition, Rosacea and Flushing, Side Effects

One Comment to “Yummy Indian Food…Did You Know It Can Reduce Skin Damage from Radiation?”

  1. Leah Ramella says:

    Great post – I came across a reference to the original study (, and another article as well about how turmeric may help prevent colorectal cancer (

    Thanks for the post!

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