Watercress has outstanding cancer fighting properties, reports a new study that was recently published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. The study, which was conducted by scientists at the University of Ulster, found that watercress can actually help to significantly reduce DNA damage to red blood cells, which is a huge trigger in the development of cancer.
The Watercress Anti-Cancer Fighting Study
The study involved a set of 30 men and women who were in great health, including smokers. During the study, which lasted for an 8 week period, the participants ate one 85 gram bag, about the size of a cereal bowl, every day for the full 8 weeks.
At the end of the 8 week period, the effect of the watercress on the participants’ health was examined. Surprisingly enough, it was found that the cruciferous vegetable has the biggest positive impact on the health of the smokers.
Ian Rowland, the professor who led the study, stated that these findings were extremely significant. He said that while there have been plenty of studies that have linked the cancer fighting properties of various types of cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts, none of them have actually shown the casual effects of the veggies, which this study did.
He also said what made the study that he led so different was that it focused on people eating watercress in amounts that were actually achievable in order to see what type of impact it would have on the elements that are known to cause cancer, like DNA damage.
The majority of the studies that have been conducted to show the results of cruciferous vegetables have been conducted in test tubes or on animals with chemicals that were derived from the vegetables, not on people who actually consumed the vegetable, which this study did.
Significant Findings of the Watercress Study
While a lot was determined from this study, the most notable findings include:
- A significant reduction in the amount of DNA damage to white blood cells.
- A reduction in the DNA damage to white blood cells when a sample was exposed to hydrogen peroxide, a free radical generating chemical.
- A notable reduction in triglyceride levels
- A large increase in blood levels of lutein and beta-carotene, both of which are known for their antioxidant activity.
It was also found that the intake of dietary fiber, vitamins E and C, folate and beta-carotene were much higher in the participants during the study.
The study was funded by The Watercress Alliance, which is a group that is made up of watercress growers in Britain. The study is said to be groundbreaking and its findings are thought to have huge implications on preventing cancer.