The World Cancer Research Fund has revealed that up to 30-40% of cancer can be prevented by improving our eating habits, which must include regular intake of cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, watercress, spinach and kale.
Cruciferous vegetables have long been known to be incredible for our health due to their intense levels of dietary fiber, vitamins and minerals, but new research has offered even more reasons to have broccoli and watercress on the dinner table.
A study conducted at the South Dakota State University has proven that greens like broccoli and watercress have the ability to destroy as much as 75% of cancer stem cells within 24 hours, attacking it right at the source.
As much as 5% of tumors contain cancer stem cells that can enter the bloodstream and metastasize, even after intensive therapy.
Associate Professor Moul Day confirms that even after a cancerous tumor has been treated with chemotherapy or radiation, the stem cells still remain and can continue to develop unnoticed. This fact inspired her and her colleagues to find a way to destroy those stem cells, and they discovered their most lethal weapon sooner than they had expected.
“These tiny cells are very difficult to detect in a tumor- It’s like finding a needle in a haystack,” said Day.
Using a petri dish, they administered phenethyl isothiocyanate (PEITC) to cervical cancer cells and found that it destroyed 75% of the stem cells within 24 hours. PEITC is a naturally occurring substance that is released during the chewing process of cruciferous vegetables.
Why Broccoli and Watercress?
Broccoli and watercress are full of phytochemicals that are known as glucosinolates that help to inhibit the growth of cancer stem cells.
They are loaded with antioxidants and are highly alkaline sources of nutrition, which has been proven to reduce the risk of developing multiple types of cancer. They also contain lutein, a compound that the American Cancer Society has linked to reducing the risk of colorectal and bladder cancer significantly.
Watercress, in particular, has been found to increase the levels of antioxidants in the body and to prevent oxidative stress on a cellular level to such a degree that it is now being considered as important as cruciferous vegetables on an anti-cancer diet.
It has been linked to reducing the risk of developing multiple types of cancer, including prostate, colon and breast cancer. Complex compounds found in this peppery plant have demonstrated their effect on shutting off the signals to supply tumors with oxygen, blood and nutrients to thrive, thereby causing them to shrink and shut down.
How Much Do You Need to Have?
During this study the researchers used a 20 micromolar concentration of PEITC on cancer stem cells and further tested a dosage of 5 to 15 micromolar on mice which proved to also be effective.
The researchers at the South Dakota State University have confirmed that including just a few ounces of broccoli and watercress in the diet per week can have a positive effect on reducing the development and spread of cancer stem cells.
Associate Professor Moul Dey states that “You cannot go wrong with having cruciferous vegetables with every meal”.
Have broccoli as a regular side dish and sprinkle some peppery watercress on salads, soups and starchy meals. Your body will thank you for it!
More Posts By Author Sophie Robinson.