Watercress is a green leaves vegetables which has rich nutritional value. It has small round leaves with stems that tastes a little spicy
What is Watercress?
Watercress belongs to Brassicaceae family. In the early days, it was considered as a weed but was soon accepted & cultivated for large usage.
There are various benefits of watercress which we are going to write here. A scientific research has been conducted about Watercress and gave many reasons to eat this leafy vegetable.
Watercress has a lot of nutrition in it like vitamins, minerals & calcium. So let’s break down all the nutrition available in Watercress.
How much one cup (34 grams) of watercress contains, you can see this in the table below.
|Vitamin A||22% of the Reference Daily Intake (RDI)|
|Vitamin C:||24% of the RDI|
|Vitamin K:||106% of the RDI|
|Calcium:||4% of the RDI|
|Manganese:||4% of the RDI|
Benefits of Watercress
Watercress is rich in many minerals & nutrients, so eating it regularly helps us in protecting various diseases. here are some of them listed below.
Watercress is rich in Antioxidants that helps in lowering the risks of Chronic Diseases
Watercress is rich in antioxidants that protects us from various cell damage caused by free radicals. Free radicals are harmful molecules that results in oxidative stress.
Oxidative stress leads to various other diseases like diabetes, cancer and cardiovascular diseases. As watercress is rich in antioxidants, it protects us from various oxidative stress risks and reduce the chances of such diseases.
A study has ranked 12 in a list of 40 cruciferous vegetables which has unique flavonoids in it. Watercress has got this rank of 12 because of higher amounts of phenols and ability to neutralize free radicals. Due to antioxidants present in Watercress, the risk of various cancers is also lowered by regular consumption.
Watercress helps in reducing various forms of Cancer
Watercress is high in phytochemicals which helps reducing the risks of developing many forms of cancer.
Watercress consist of glucosinolates which are activated when it is cut by a knife or chewed. These glucosinolates consists of various other chemicals like sulforaphane and phenethyl isothiocyanate.
The compounds protect against cancer by securing and growing the healthy cells and reducing the growth of tumors.
Isothiocynates is a chemical which is found in watercress which prevents colon, lung, prostate and skin cancers. Breast cancer can also be prevented by the chemicals i.e. isothiocyanates and sulforaphane found in watercress. It reduces the growth of breast cancer cells and prevent this type of cancer.
Watercress Is a Cruciferous Vegetable
Watercress belongs to the cruciferous family of vegetables. If you include cruciferous vegetables in your diet, then it may benefit in your heart health. Studies has proved that cruciferous vegetables reduces the risk of heart disease upto 16%.
Watercress has rich amount of rich antioxidants i.e. beta carotene, zeaxanthin and lutein. Having a diet rich in carotenoids reduces the risk of heart diseases & High Blood pressure.
Watercress Boosts Blood Vessels Health
Watercress has dietary nitrates which reducing inflammation in blood vessels and hence reduces the stiffness in veins.
Dietary Nitrates has shown good results in lowering the blood pressure in blood. So if you are looking to regulate your blood pressure, then use watercress in your diet.
Watercress helps in lowering the cholesterol that can improve heart health. In a study , it has been proved that eating watercress helps in lowering the cholesterol by 34% which includes 53% of LDL cholesterol.
Watercress prevents us from Bone diseases i.e. Osteoporosis
Watercress helps in strong bones by providing calcium, magnesium. Potassium & phosphorus. We all know calcium is one of the core essence of bones with magnesium, vitamin K and potassium.
A balanced diet always keeps an eye on bone health, eating watercress helps in better bone health. According to the table, one cup of watercress provides more than 100% of the RDI for vitamin K.
Vitamin K helps in healthy bone tissues & regulate the bone turnover. A study has proved that those who take Vitamin K are 35% less likely vulnerable to any hip fracture.
Mineral and Vitamin K Contents Protect Against Osteoporosis
Watercress is helpful for minerals intake easily. Watercress intake provides calcium, magnesium, potassium and phosphorus. Calcium effects bone health, magnesium, Vitamin K & potassium. . Vegetables which are densely packed with minerals help in bone health.
Watercress Boosts Immunity in Human against diseases
Watercress improves immunity of body upto 20% because of Vitamin C. A small cup of Watercress consists of 15 mg of Vitamin C which is 20% of the RDI for women and 17% for men.
- Vitamin C deficiency leads to low immunity which results in frequent illness & inflammation.
- Vitamin C boosts the immune system by increasing WBC cells to fight infections in a better way.
- Generally Vitamin C reduces risk of common cold, flu and other common diseases to lead a healthy life.
Watercress helps in weight regulation
If your weight is increasing in an uncontrolled way, then you must start eating watercress. As Watercress is highly nutritious food, it helps in getting more nutrition and less calories. If you want to lose weight watercress is helpful in reducing weight.
Watercress Improves Physical Performance
Watercress is rich in dietary nitrates. Nitrates is a compound that is seen in green vegetables.
- Nitrates helps in blood vessel relaxation & increases nitric oxide in the blood and hence improves physical performance.
- Nitrate regulates blood pressure and reduces oxygen consumption in the body to increase exercise tolerance.
- Studies have shown that the consumption of Watercress helps in increasing the performance of athletes.
- Eating 100 gms of watercress helps in increasing CO2 production during exercise, eat a smaller amount only.
Prevents Eye Vision & Risk of developing Cataract
Watercress is beneficial for vision. As the presence of lutein and zeaxanthin, i.e. forms of antioxidant helps in better eye health.
It protects eyes from the blue light. In the older age, the muscular degeneration of ciliary muscles , eyesight get affected. Eating Watercress helps in increasing eyesight. Vitamin C also reduces the risks of developing cataracts in eyes.
Maintain a healthy iron levels in body
Watercress has high levels of iron which is rare in vegetables. It helps in converting the food into energy required for body growth. Iron & Vitamin C are two inseparable things, Iron helps in converting food to energy. And Vitamin C helps in retaining iron into body. As Vitamin C & Iron in Watercress is helpful for the body to produce more energy in the body.
Watercress Recipes– How to eat with Joy
Watercress is a tasty ingredient in a salad. It adds a crunchy & peppery flavor in the salad. You can add watercress in any salad by spreading it on the salad base. Some popular salads are
- Watercress, sweet potato and feta salad
- Pan-fried steak with watercress and olive salad
- Indonesian ‘Gado Gado’ salad
Adding watercress in a smoothie can add sweet flavors in the smoothie. Some popular smoothie are
- Watercress, mango and pineapple smoothie
- Watercress, avocado and lime smoothie
- Watercress, blueberry and pineapple smoothie
Watercress soup is a popular recipes in UK & Europe. Many world famous chefs like Gordon Ramsay & Raymond Blanc have made various tasty soup recipes in their kitchen. Some are available online. Watercress soups are made by mixing butternut squash or leek and potato, or blended into gazpacho to add a fantastic flavour.
Watercress pesto is a delicious food which is made by traditional basil. It adds more subtle peppery flavour, which is combined by various dishes to make some tasty one.
- Watercress pesto
- Pesto chicken with watercress mash
- Tagliatelle with watercress and walnut pesto
Watercress is used in many traditional chinese dishes. These recipes are mostly based on stir fry A small amount of watercress is added in the dish to add a peppery flavour in blend of garlic & ginger to make a delicious Oriental side dish.
- Hoisin pork with stir fried watercress
- Sesame chicken with stir fried watercress
- Teriyaki salmon with watercress and soba noodles
Cheese & watercress omelette is a very popular recipe on the Internet. Adding little watercress in the omelette provides a tasty blend in the omlette.
Final Words: Watercress is a nutritious vegetable that has nutrients and less calories. It consists of antioxidants which lowers the risk of various diseases like heart problems, Blood pressure problems. It is also helpful in bone health & provides enough iron for better physical performance. Watercress is a not a very commonly eaten vegetable in people’s diet, but it helps us in many ways , if we include it.