The Leafy Green That's Great for Breasts

Medically reviewed in December 2020

Here's a peppery green that may do big favors for breast health: watercress.

A favorite addition to afternoon tea sandwiches, watercress should make an appearance in your salads and soups, too, because a recent study suggests that compounds in watercress may help thwart breast cancer.

Why Watercress?
The compounds in question? Isothiocyanates. They're present in all sorts of cruciferous vegetables, like broccoli, kale, and brussels sprouts. And studies suggest that these compounds help remove cancer-causing substances from the body and help suppress tumor growth by tamping down the cancer's blood supply. Now a new study suggests that one particular kind of isothiocyanate found in watercress may help amp up women's defenses against breast cancer. What's more, in a small study of healthy middle-aged breast cancer survivors, those who consumed just over 2 cups of watercress daily experienced a significant increase in circulating blood levels of isothiocyanates.

Count on Cruciferous
Larger scale studies are needed to see whether there's any connection between watercress consumption and a lower risk of developing breast cancer. But for now, we do know that eating lots of leafy greens is a boon to health in general. And a cup of watercress supplies not only isothiocyanates but also calcium, potassium, vitamin C, vitamin A, and lutein -- all for just 32 calories. There are hundreds of tasty ways to eat it up. Grab a bunch at the store and try something new, like this recipe: Lemon and Watercress Pasta Salad.

Find out what other fruits and vegetables you should eat for healthy breasts.

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