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Dr. Akizuki's Miso Soup and the Atomic Bomb

Simple, Plant-Based Foods Can Be Quite Powerful

Dr Padma Garvey/Plant-Based Doctor Mom

Dr. Akizuki's Miso Soup and the Atomic Bomb

Dr. Tatsuichiro Akizuki was born in Nagasaki, Japan on January 3, 1916.  His is the only first-hand account of the bombing of Nagasaki in 1945.  I read a translation of his account which is gripping.  Nagasaki is a city right on the coast of Japan.  Before World War II, Nagasaki was a bustling, busy port with lots of goods.  Food of all kind was plentiful including meat and fish.  His parents, however, were originally from a town in the middle of Japan, Oija.  As a result, his mother and father grew up on a diet typical of Japanese people living far from water.  They ate a lot of potatoes, brown rice,  pickled vegetables and plums.  They  also ate a lot of miso soup which was one of the few food items available to inland Japanese.  Miso is fermented soybean paste so it has a lot of probiotics in it.  Typically it is prepared as a light broth.  His parents left their inland hometown and moved to Nagasaki for work.  Nagasaki being a seaport had lots of fish.  People in Nagasaki ate a lot of fish and more meat than inland Japanese and did not eat as much miso soup typically. 

Inevitably, his parents changed their eating habits and the family ate a diet typical for Nagasaki, lots of fish and not as much miso.  As a young adult, Dr. Akizuki developed tuberculosis and became rather ill.  Western medicine was not helping him.  He decided to change his diet to one that his parents grew up on of mostly plants including a lot of miso soup.  He recovered from his tuberculosis and worked in a hospital in Nagasaki to treat patients with tuberculosis.  He put all his patients on a strict plant-based diet that included lots of miso soup.

On August 9th, 1945 Nagasaki was bombed with the second atomic bomb ever used.  Dr. Akizuki’s clinc was about 1.4 kilometers from the site of impact.  Being so close to the impact guarantees an individual will suffer extensive radiation burns.  Many people died from such radiation burns and many others were severely disfigured.  However, none of the patients in Dr. Akizuki’s clinic, or any of the nurses,  or Dr. Akizuki, himself, suffered any radiation burns. 

Many scientists are still puzzled by this anecdote.  Could miso soup really be that powerful?  Researchers in Japan actually put it to a test.  They took two groups of mice and fed one group a miso diet and the other one a miso-free diet.  They found that the miso group had less radiation induced skin damage, had fewer colon cancers, fewer breast cancers, fewer liver cancers, fewer stomach cancers, and less high blood pressure. 

Regular consumption of miso soup seems to have tremendous health benefits.  It is believed that most of these health benefits come from the fermentation of soy and the probiotics in miso.  It might be especially beneficial for anyone facing radiation therapy for cancer.  At the very least, there seems to be no downside to eating miso. 

Try making some miso soup tonight.  I make a large pot of it one night a week when my husband and I have dumplings for dinner.  I then take some to work for lunch for the next few days.


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