Cruciferous Vegetables are vegetables in the family of Cruciferae, including cauliflower, cabbage, garden cress, broccoli and similar green leaf vegetables. Recently, a new study found that a compound and an enzyme that occur naturally in cauliflower, cabbage, broccoli and Brussels sprouts may have the ability to help prevent cancer from recurring or spreading. In the scientists’ word in this study, a serving of broccoli or watercress can help keep cancer at bay.
According to previous statistics, when cancer is treated with chemotherapy or radiation, the tumor can disappear but the cancer stem cells still live on. Those stem cells are now resistant to conventional therapies. However, though the amount of stem cells in a tumor is small, it can regenerate the original tumor and migrate through blood vessels, spreading cancer to secondary locations. So, killing these cancer stem cells is of great importance, but how?
Scientists in this research have been studying phenethyl isothiocyanate (PEITC) for five years, and they found that the precursor compound and enzyme in cruciferous vegetables combine during the chewing process to produce PEITC within the body.
Treated with PEITC, a 20-micromolar concentration of the compound, in a Petri dish, about 75 percent human cervical cancer stem cells died within 24 hours. It has also been proved that 10-micromolar concentrations of PEITC can dramatically prevent the spread of cancer in mouse lung tissue. Though mice can provide a model for human disease, further studies are still needed to see if this can work the same in humans.
Based on information from scientific literature, the concentrations of PEITC from 5 to 15 micromolars can be achieved through diets in certain types of cruciferous vegetables. So maybe it’s better for us to eat more of these vegetables.