However, for frequent flyers especially, there are some more common and insidious risks.
health concern for frequent flyers particularly is radiation. All
radiation is known to cumulatively increase one’s risk of cancer.
higher altitudes, occupants are exposed to more cosmic rays, a high
energy radiation that is largely absorbed by the atmosphere. So one
cross country round trip, it turns out is equivalent radiation exposure
to a chest x-ray. Back scatter x-rays used by TSA at airports has also
had some experts concerned.
So what can be done to counteract this? Surprisingly the answer may be diet.
funded by the National Cancer Institute, studied what foods might
protect pilots who receive far more frequent radiation exposure than
findings: pilots who ate the most dietary antioxidants suffered the
least amount of DNA damage. However, not by taking supplements, which
actually increased damage.
consuming a mix of fruits and vegetables such as citrus, nuts, seeds,
pumpkins, and peppers did best. Also green leafy veggies like spinach,
ginger root were found to protect against radiation.
results were found in studies of other population groups exposed to
high amounts of radiation including survivors of the atomic bombs at
Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the nuclear accident at Chernobyl, hospital
x-ray workers, and in Pentagon Cold War experiments.
The radiation protective foods may include herbs garlic, turmeric, goji berries,
mint leaves, oregano and especially tea from Lemon balm.
when taking those frequent long distance trips, take some kale chips
and wash it down with lemon balm tea; then dine on a green veggie salad
with herb dressing with fruit for dessert!
See Limaye MR, Severence H. Pandora’s Boxes: questions unleased in airport scanner debate. J Am Osteopath Assoc. 2011; 111(2):87-8, 119.
LC, et al, High Dietary antioxidants intakes are associated with
decreased chromosome translocation frequency in airline pilots. Am J
Clin Nutr. 2009; 90(5):1402-10.
W et al, Radiation exposure during air travel: Guidance provided by the
FAA for air carrier crews. Health Phys. 2000; 79(5):591-5.
Sauvaget C et al. Dietary factors and cancer mortality among atomic bomb survivers. Mutat Res. 2004:551(1-2):145-52.
EA et al. Dietary and clastogenic factors in children…contaminated by
Chernobyl accident. Arch Environ Health. 2001; 56(4):320-6.
Arora R, et al, Radioprotection by plant products, Phytother Res. 2005:19(1):1-22.
See Gen. Greger, Michael with Gene Stone, How Not To Die, Flatiron Books, 2015, p. 241-3