Tuesday, October 1st 2013 at 5:15 pm
Long associated with tea sandwiches and white gloves, watercress contains a powerful plant compound that may help fight breast cancer.
According to a study conducted at the University of Southampton and published in the British Journal of Nutrition and Biochemical Pharmacology, the plant compound known as phenylethyl isothiocyanate, may suppress breast cancer cell development. It works by turning off a signal in the cells which is necessary to cancer cell growth.
When cancerous tumors outgrow their blood supply, they send out signals to normal tissues to feed them oxygen and nutrients. This compound in watercress interferes with those signals. That results in the starvation of the cancerous growth by blocking essential blood and oxygen.
Prior studies had found the same plant compound to be effective in blocking the growth of prostate and colon cancer cells.
In the current study a small group of breast cancer survivors ate a bowl of watercress and then had their blood tested over the next 24 hours. The researchers found significant levels of the plant compound in the blood following the watercress meal. The signaling function was also measurably affected in the blood cells of the women.