Potent cancer-fighters are hidden within the leaves, stalks, husks and stems of cruciferous vegetables like watercress and broccoli.
A study shows a compound and enzyme found in these foods can kill cancer stem cells, which is a discovery that could help prevent the re-occurrence and spread of some malignancies.
The Danger of Cancer Stem Cells
According to lead author Moul Dey, cancer stem cells present quite a danger. They are resistant to chemotherapy and radiation, so they continue to live in the body after such traditional treatments. While the stem cells only comprise about 5 percent of a cancerous tumor, they act like a ticking time bomb. “These tiny cells are very difficult to detect in a tumor,” she says. “It’s like finding a needle in a haystack.” Consequently, they can migrate through the blood vessels, thus causing the cancer to metastasize.
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Seventy-Five Percent of Cancer Stem Cells Died Within 24 Hours
When cruciferous vegetables are eaten, a compound and enzyme combine during the chewing process to form phenethyl isothiocyanate (PEITC). Scientists at South Dakota State University tested the effects of this substance, known as PEITC, on human cancer stem cells in a Petri dish. The results were impressive, as 75 percent of the cells died within 24 hours. Even low concentrations of it proved effective. This finding builds upon previous research that reveals the anti-cancer properties of similar foods.
When a tumor outgrows its blood supply, it sends a sign to surrounding tissues to deliver more nutrients and oxygen. Prior studies show PEITC switches off this sign.
Cruciferous vegetables include watercress, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, radishes, arugula, bok choy, kale, turnips and rutabaga. The researchers found concentrations of PEITC were particularly present in land and watercress. If you want to ingest the amount of PEITC used in the research, eat a diet rich in these vegetables, especially watercress.
Earlier Research Suggests Watercress is a Cancer-Fighting Powerhouse
A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found a daily serving of watercress can significantly curtail DNA damage to blood cells, a problem thought to be a major trigger of cancer. In addition, the vegetable boosted the ability of the cells to resist further harm perpetrated by free radicals. This study is one within a body of accumulating research that indicates watercress may reduce the risk of colon, breast and prostate cancer.
Try This Watercress Recipe:
Live in the Now consulted Sylvia Meléndez-Klinger, registered dietitian and leading expert in cross-cultural Hispanic cuisine as it relates to health. She shared the recipe below that combines two extraordinarily healthful foods: watercress and fatty fish. “Everyone should aim to eat 2 to 3 servings of fish, especially those high in omega-3 fatty acids, each week to reap the benefits that include cognitive function, heart health and more,” she says.
Tarragon Tuna Watercress Salad
• 1/2 cup reduced fat mayonnaise
• 1/4 cup low fat sour cream
• 1/4 cup fresh tarragon, chopped or 2 teaspoons dried
• 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest plus 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
• 2 5-ounce cans solid white albacore tuna fish in water, drained
• 2 green onions, sliced
• 2 celery stalks, sliced
• ground pepper to taste
• 1 pound watercress, thick stems removed
In a medium bowl, mix together the mayonnaise, sour cream, tarragon, lemon zest and juice. Gently fold in tuna fish, green onions, and celery. Season with pepper and serve over the watercress.
Makes: 4 servings
Mary West is a natural health enthusiast, as she believes this area can profoundly enhance wellness. She is the creator of a natural healing website where she focuses on solutions to health problems that work without side effects. You can visit her site and learn more at http://www.alternativemedicinetruth.com. Ms. West is also the author of Fight Cancer Through Powerful Natural Strategies.