London: Daily intake of a small portion of watercress could help protect against cancer, a new study says.
Southampton University scientists found that volunteers who took 80 grams of watercress a day had elevated levels of cancer-fighting molecules in their blood within hours of eating.
Watercress is the latest in a long line of so-called `superfoods` found to have beneficial and protective health effects.
Extracts from crushed watercress were also shown to inhibit the growth of breast cancer cells, reports the Telegraph.
The pilot study suggests that eating watercress could help prevent the development of breast cancer while helping recovering breast cancer victims avoid a recurrence of the disease, according to the British Journal of Nutrition.
The research was led by Professor Graham Packham from the Cancer Research UK Centre at Southampton University.
The study authors said chemicals in watercress, isothiocyanates, appeared to interfere with the growth of cancer cells.