Mustard oil compound in watercress has anticancer properties
Watercress ( Nasturtium nasturtium ) is highly nutritious, rich in calcium, iron, folic acid, vitamin C, potassium, beta-carotene, and iron. The plant is considered to be an antioxidant, diuretic, expectorant and digestive aid. Horses love to graze on watercress. It thrives in cool watery environments.
Watercress is one of the best sources of phenylethyl isothiocyanate (PEITC). This compound is not as familiar to us as other nutrients, but it just might turn out to be the most valuable ingredient of watercress. PEITC is a well recognized potential chemopreventive compound against human cancers (1). It is believed to inhibit the activation of an enzyme that's necessary for cancer to thrive.
Steve Rothwell, member of the Watercress Alliance comments: ?Research...suggests the anticancer properties of watercress go beyond those attributable to PEITC and, more importantly...demonstrate[s] a direct correlation between eating watercress and reducing one's susceptibility to cancer.?
Published in May 2006, the study showed that a watercress extract had beneficial effects on initiation (the DNA damage that triggers cancer cell development), proliferation (uncontrolled growth of cancer cells), and metastasis (the spread of cancer cells). These are the three key stages of carcinogenesis, the process that results in cancer. Watercress extract was also shown to trigger apoptosis (death of cancerous cells) (2).
Add watercress regularly to salads, soups and sandwiches to enjoy the refreshing spicy flavor.
1. Effects of antioxidants and caspase-3 inhibitor on the phenylethyl isothiocyanate-induced apoptotic signaling pathways in human PLC/PRF/5 cells. Wu SJ , Ng LT , Lin CC . http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/sites/entrez?cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&list_uids=16054126&dopt=Abstract
2. http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/medicalnews.php?newsid=63314 Main Category: Nutrition / Diet News , Article Date: 18 Feb 2007