Watercress and broccoli are two vegetables of the cruciferous family. Although they have a reputation for causing excess gas, a recent study may change that to a much, much more impressive standing. They have been proven highly effective in fighting cancer.
Both these vegetables, and watercress in particular, are high in glucosinolates and phytochemicals, that when hydrolyzed produce isothiocyanates. It’s that third big, unpronounceable word that is the main cancer fighter.
When a Petri dish of human cervical cancer stem cells was treated with phenethyl isothiocyanate (PEITC) approximately three quarters of the cancer cells were killed in the first 24 hours. To match these findings and show just how effective watercress can be as a cancer fighter, a group of breast cancer survivors ate a bowl of watercress, then had their blood tested over the next 24 hours. The results showed significant levels of the cancer-fighting phenylethyl isothiocyanate in their blood!
It turns out, lung, colorectal, head and neck, and prostate cancers succumbed to the power of PEITC as well. Not only that, but it is able to turn off the liver’s carcinogen activating enzymes, halting a chain reaction of cancer-growing excretions in the body.
Traditional radiation therapy attacks tumor growth, and in the process depletes the body of its health. Sadly, while this method may remove the tumour, the cancer cells live on, and can come back together and produce new cancer growth.
PEITC on the other hand fights the cancer growth by starving the cells directly. “When a tumor outgrows its own blood supply, it sends signals to surrounding tissues to deliver more oxygen and nutrients. Its these signals that phenylethyl isothiocyanate—the watercress compound—may actually shut off.”
Treating the source instead of the symptom is always a more productive approach in my mind.
The best part of this news is that eating watercress, unlike chemotherapy, doesn’t deplete your immune system, damage other functioning parts of the body and generally make you ill, weak and exhausted.
If you’re thinking, like I was, that in order to ingest sufficient amounts of this incredible cancer-fighting enzyme you must have to take a dietary supplement of it to save forcing down massive bowlfuls of these greens every hour.
While a supplement is in the works, someone can see sufficient cancer-preventing levels of PEITC simply by incorporating it into their diet.
Watercress is a peppery, light leafy green that really can be used much like other leafy greens. Try replacing spinach with it. Or add it to salads. It is also delicious steamed with fresh cracked pepper and himalayan salt on top.
Broccoli is delicious raw with a dip, perhaps hummus. You can chop it fine and add it to salads for some crunch. Or try steaming broccoli and sprinkling it with fresh cracked himalayan salt, pepper and nutritional yeast for a boost of folate.