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Using Food Therapy to Manage Radiation Treatments

From a Chinese medical perspective, Radiation treatments introduce a great amount of heat into the body, which leaves one feeling like they’re “cooking” even days after a treatment. This accumulation of heat is called “toxic heat” in Chinese medicine. In an attempt to help balance and strengthen the body so that it can withstand radiation treatment, many different foods can be consumed without interfering with treatment in order to:

  1. Clear toxic heat (manifests as skin rashes, dry painful throat, mouth ulcers)
  2. Strengthen the spleen (so that one has enough appetite)
  3. Tonify Qi (strengthen the immune system)
  4. Tonify Yin (replace vital fluids that are lost due to toxic heat)

Here are some recipes to address the above mentioned conditions:

Daikon Carrot Slaw

1 medium sized Daikon peeled and shaved into thin slices
3 large carrots peeled and shaved into thin slices
3 cloves garlic minced
1 tablespoon sugar (can substitute honey here)
2 tablespoon sesame oil
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 tablespoon soy sauce or tamari

Mix shaved daikon and carrot together
Heat sesame oil and add garlic.
Cook until fragrant, about one minute.
Remove pan from heat
Mix sugar or honey in, and stir until dissolved.
Add rice vinegar and soy sauce.
Pour liquid over carrot and daikon.
Mix well, then serve.

This recipe is quick, tasty and aids in digestion and benefits the lungs.

Cleansing Seaweed and Scrambled Eggs

2 tablespoons coix, also called yi yi ren
1 tablespoon dried precut wakame seaweed
3 eggs
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
Salt and Pepper to taste

Soak the coix in warm water for 30 minutes. Drain.
Boil 2 cups water, add coix and seaweed.
Lower heat and simmer, with pot partially covered for 30 minutes, until ingredients are soft. Drain off the liquid. Set Coix/seaweed aside.
Heat oil in a pan. In a bowl, crack and whip the eggs. Add eggs to pan when hot. When the eggs are still a little runny, but almost cooked, add the well drained Coix and seaweed mixure. Cook for another minute. Add salt and pepper to taste.

This dish detoxifies, clears heat, and strengthens yin and the Qi of the spleen and stomach.

Sesame Cellophane Noodles with Mushrooms and Bok Choy

1/3 cup dried black wood ear mushrooms
5 dried or fresh shitake mushrooms
3 (2-ounce) bundles of cellophane noodles (mung bean based if possible)
4 tablespoons sesame oil
3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1 (1-inch) piece fresh ginger peeled and minced
1 small onion diced
1 large carrot cut into matchstick shaped pieces
2 clusters baby bok choy or ¾ pound regular bok choy or napa cabbage, cut into ¼ inch strips
2 tablespoons mirin or dry sherry
3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons sesame seeds (preferably black)

1. Soak wood ear mushrooms in warm water for 30 minutes. Rinse mushrooms and discard fibrous base. Cut into ¼ inch strips.
2. If using dried shitake, soak them in warm water for 20 minutes, or until soft. Reserve the water. Cut the mushrooms into ¼ inch slices.
3. Soak noodles in a bowl of hot water and cover for 15 minutes or until soft. Drain noodles and cut into 3-inch pieces.
4. In a large wok or sautee pan, heat 2 tablespoons of sesame oil over medium-high heat. Add garlic, ginger, and onion. Stirfry for 2 minutes.
5. Add the carrot, then bok choy or cabbage. Stirfry for about 5 minutes until the veggies are cooked.
6. Mix together a sauce from ½ cup of the water from soaking the mushrooms (or veggie broth if using fresh shitakes) with mirin or sherry, soy sauce, and the remaining 2 tablespoons of sesame oil.
7. Add the noodles to the pan, then pour the sauce over the top.
Continue cooking until the noodles have been heated and the liquid has been absorbed (5-10 minutes).
8. In the meantime, lightly toast the sesame seeds in a dry skillet for a couple of minutes. Take care not to burn them.
9. Sprinkle sesame seeds over the top of the noodles, and enjoy

This dish clears heat, moves blood, and regulates the stomach.

Mungbean –Kudzu Congee

¼ cup mung beans
¼ cup short grain white rice
pinch of salt (optional)
5 cups cold water
3-4 tablespoons kudzu powder
Either soy sauce and green onion as garnish for a savory congee
Or honey to drizzle over the top for a sweet congee

  1. Combine mungbeans, rice and salt (if going for savory) in a large pot.
  2. Add 4.5 cups of the water and bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer, covered with the lid slightly ajar, for about 1 hour.
    Add a little water if the congee is drying out or becoming too thick.
  3. Mix the kudzu with ¼ cup cold water to make a paste, then stir the mixture into the pot.
  4. Cook the ingredients together for 2-3 minutes then serve.

This dish has a creamy oatmeal like texture to it, and can be garnished with cooked veggies and meat, or cooked fruit and honey. This dish also features the mung bean, which clears heat and toxins from the body, balances the organs and skin, and tonifies Qi.


Juicing any combination of cucumber, honeydew melon, watermelon, and celery, is going to cool the throat. Honeydew and cucumber is a nice combination.

Here are categories of other types of foods and their benefits:

Chlorophyll-Containing foods:

Chlorophyll resembles human blood and cleanses, detoxifies, and increases wound healing. It has a protective effect against inflammatory processes. You can get this from fresh wheat grass, and chlorella powders at your local health food stores.

Cruciferous Veggies:

This family of veggies contain substances that inhibit breast and colon cancer growth. They contain dithiolthiones- a group of compounds that have antioxidant and anti-radiation properties. These include:

Arugula, Bok choi, Broccoli, Broccoli rabe, Broccoli romanesco, Brussels sprout, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Chinese broccoli, Chinese cabbage (Nappa), Collard greens, Daikon, Garden cress, Horseradish, Kale, Kohlrabi, Komatsuna, Land cress, Mizuna, Mustard – seeds and leaves, Pak choi, Radish, Rutabaga, Turnips – root and greens, Watercress

Recipes taken from “Ancient Wisdom, Modern Kitchen”

Fawn Rangel, LAc, MSTOM

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