Science has recently provided one more reason your mother was right. Eating broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables — like cauliflower and watercress — could prevent cancer since a substance found in them targets a mutation-suppressing gene.
The research was published in the American Chemical Society's Journal of Medicinal Chemistry and suggests that compounds called isothiocyanates (ITCs) stop the growth of cancer.
Study authors said that the ITCs prevent the mutation of a gene that aids in suppressing tumor growth. When the gene experiences a change, it loses its ability to stave off abnormal growths.
While looking at the ITCs' effects on a variety of cancer cells, the researchers noted that the compounds eliminated mutated genes but had no adverse impact on normal genes. Authors concluded that the use of ITCs could supplement existing cancer treatments and perhaps lead to preventative medicines.
An article on WebMD.com says cruciferous vegetables contain other essential nutrients like phytochemicals, fiber, vitamins and minerals. They recommend eating several servings per week to help prevent cancer, cardiovascular disease and possibly reduce stress.