Watercress: its enormous nutritional benefits

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Watercress is a powerful, pungent and peppery food that offers many possibilities for consumption. It is especially popular in soups, salads and stews. Traditionally grown watercress is green and has a distinctive peppery taste, similar to that of mustard. It became a cash crop in England around 1808, prized for its flavor and nutrient density.

Typically grown in pure spring water, watercress has been considered a superfood for centuries. It is known that Hippocrates had his first hospital set up near a stream, where watercress grows best, so that his patients could be treated with this plant, and Greek soldiers were given watercress as a tonic to purify the blood before go into combat.

Are you wondering where to buy watercress? This delicious vegetable is available at most grocery stores and farmers markets, along with other leafy greens like spinach and kale.
If you have watercress seeds, you may also choose to grow them indoors. There are many guides online on how to grow watercress, even without access to your own river or pond. Watercress is spicier than spinach due to its mustard undertone. Excellent in salads, alone or mixed with other green vegetables.

It can also add a pop of flavor to sandwiches and can be pureed and added to soups for an extra kick. It also pairs well with melons, nuts, potatoes, sweet potatoes, beets, leeks, and corn. You can also try taking out the juicer and making a glass of watercress juice. With its mild and refreshing taste, watercress goes particularly well with fruits such as kiwis, apples or pineapples.

Watercress is a cruciferous vegetable, this cousin of cabbage has a long history as a deliciously nutritious herb and as a natural remedy for many ailments. It is also often served in salads, added to sandwiches, and enjoyed as a lightly steamed side dish.

Why exactly is it such a healthy food?

Not only does research show this nutritious cruciferous vegetable may be linked to a reduced risk of cancer, but it may also help lower blood pressure, fight inflammation, support bone health, and more. Watercress is a perennial vegetable that grows naturally along waterways, thriving in both sun and water. This leafy green thrives especially well in a variety of soil conditions, as long as the soil stays waterlogged. The leaves and shoots are grown for their culinary and medicinal uses. While it tastes best during the colder times of the year, watercress can be harvested throughout the winter. However, after flowering, the flavor of watercress usually diminishes. Watercress is closely related to other cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, kale, and collard greens. It is also very common and can be found in the produce section of most supermarkets along with other vegetables.

Keep in mind that it’s important to wash it thoroughly before cooking or consuming it, as it may contain harmful parasites and pathogens from growing in nearby standing water.

Benefits of watercress

Thanks to its impressive nutritional profile, watercress has been linked to a number of health benefits. In fact, adding this leafy green to your diet can help protect against disease, fight inflammation, and promote better health.

1. May help reduce the risk of colon cancer

As a leafy green and cruciferous vegetable, watercress has secured its place on the list of cancer-fighting foods. It is in fact rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, while being very low in calories, fat, carbohydrates and sodium. It also contains beneficial compounds, such as isothiocyanates, which are natural chemicals found in many cruciferous vegetables. Promising research shows that these compounds may possess potent anticancer properties and may even help stop the growth and spread of cancer cells. Other studies have noted that these compounds, when broken down, can help protect cells from DNA damage by inactivating carcinogens. These findings suggest that this vegetable, along with other cruciferous vegetables, may help prevent and fight other forms of cancer, including liver, lung and breast cancer.

2. Contains useful Omega-3s

Most of us are familiar with foods that contain omega-3s, such as salmon, tuna and mackerel. However, did you know that you can get your fix of these heart-healthy fats by upping your intake of leafy green vegetables? While watercress contains a variety of phytonutrients, vitamins, and minerals, it also contains a relatively high percentage of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), primarily in the form of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). Although alpha-linolenic acid must be converted into active forms of omega-3 fatty acids, including eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid, adding watercress to your daily diet can be an effective strategy for increasing intake of omega-3 fatty acids and protect yourself from heart disease if you don’t eat fish regularly.

3. Provides beneficial anti-inflammatory effects

Cruciferous vegetables are anti-inflammatory foods that contain antiviral and antibacterial effects that can help reduce inflammation. In fact, research published in Pharmaceutical Biology showed that giving subjects watercress extract was effective in reducing swelling and tissue damage. Watercress is also rich in antioxidants, which can help neutralize harmful free radicals to fight inflammation at the cellular level. These antioxidants play key roles in maintaining immune function, improving eye health, promoting better blood sugar control, and more.

4. Lower blood pressure

Minerals such as calcium, magnesium and potassium all play central roles in regulating blood pressure levels. Watercress is an excellent source of calcium and magnesium and could potentially help lower blood pressure levels. According to a study conducted by King’s College London British Heart Foundation Centre, watercress and similar foods have been shown to benefit blood vessel health and can help lower blood pressure, block platelet aggregation and even improve endothelial dysfunction to protect against heart disease.

5. Promotes healthy skin, hair and nails

Phytonutrients found in foods like watercress can provide great health benefits for hair, skin, and nails. That’s because superfoods like watercress are packed with nutrients like calcium, magnesium, and potassium, all of which are essential for healthy hair, skin, and nails. Thanks to its high water content, watercress can also promote good hydration.

6. Strengthens bones and teeth

While dairy products are one of the most well-known sources of calcium, leafy green vegetables also provide a healthy dose of calcium in every serving. In addition to providing a good amount of calcium, watercress is also a good source of magnesium and vitamin K, both of which can help maintain strong, healthy bones. Calcium can help prevent osteoporosis, a disease caused by a gradual loss of bone density. Vitamin K, on ​​the other hand, can help maintain calcium stores in bones to keep them strong, and magnesium has an impact on bone cell formation.

Nutrition facts

One cup (about 34 grams) of chopped fresh watercress contains about:

3.7 calories
0.4 grams of carbohydrates
0.8 grams of protein
0.2 grams of fiber
85 micrograms of vitamin K (106% DV)
14.6 milligrams of vitamin C (24% of the daily value)
1085 IU of vitamin A (22% of the daily value)
40.8 milligrams of calcium (4% of the daily value)
0.1 milligrams of manganese (4% of daily intake).

Each serving also contains 7.8 milligrams of omega-3 fatty acids and 4.1 milligrams of omega-6 fatty acids.

* Presse Santé is committed to transmitting health knowledge in a language accessible to all. In NO EVENT can the information provided replace the opinion of a health professional.








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