Consuming watercress on a regular basis may reduce breast cancer risk, according to findings published in the <i>British Journal of Nutrition and Biochemical Pharmacology.<i> This is because nutrients found in the plant can block the spreading of cancer-related proteins.
Following a fasting period, a group of breast cancer survivors were asked to eat 80 grams of watercress. After consumption, blood samples were taken from each individual for a 24-hour period.
The results of the study showed that the plant intake prevented hypoxia inducible factor, a cancerous protein, from developing. Also, the team discovered that watercress consumption bettered the phenylethyl isothiocyanate levels, which contributes to tumor growth prevention.
“The research takes an important step towards understanding the potential health benefits of this crop since it shows that eating watercress may interfere with a pathway that has already been tightly linked to cancer development,” said Graham Packman, co-author of the trial.
In 2006, a total of 191,410 women were diagnosed with breast cancer and more than 40,000 patients died from the disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.