Watercress: The Miracle Food

Watercress is called Sai Yeong Choy in Cantonese 

UK Scientists say watercress is the new super food, able to prevent certain types of cancer. According to a study published this week in The British Journal of Nutrition, the consumption of a three ounce portion of watercress reduced the presence of a key tumor growth factor six to eight hours after eating the watercress in healthy patients who had previously been treated for breast cancer. The study was conducted by the Cancer Research Center at the School of Medicine , Southampton General Hospital in the United Kingdom and concluded watercress is as therapeutic as traditional drug treatments with tamoxifen & herceptin, commonly used chemotherapy drugs.

The study also said that through regular consumption, watercress "has the potential to confer valuable protection against cancer in general." "Watercress has the ability to turn off HIF1, a signal sent out by cells calling for blood supply," said noted aging scientist Dr. Nicholas Perricone.

When HIF1 becomes incorrectly regulated, otherwise harmless precancerous clusters of cells have the opportunity to grow to form invasive tumors.  "Scientists have been looking for anti-angiogenesis agents for years because if we can turn off the blood supply, we can kill the cancer," said Perricone.  "And it looks like watercress can do that."

Another study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in February of 2007 showed that, in addition to reducing DNA damage, a daily dose of watercress increased the ability of cells to further resist DNA damage that may be caused by free radicals.

In the study, 60 men and women, half of whom were smokers, consumed their usual diet plus 85 grams of raw watercress daily for eight weeks. Blood samples were analyzed for plasma antioxidant status and DNA damage in lymphocytes, a type of white blood cell. Watercress consumption significantly reduced lymphocyte DNA damage. In the time of the Romans, Greeks and Persians watercress was used as a natural medicine, prescribed for migraines, anemia, eczema, kidney and liver disorder and tuberculosis.

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Peter Lai

Peter Lai

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