If you’ve ever been to Europe, then you’ve probably seen watercress. It’s huge over there! You’ll find it on sandwiches, in dips, and even mixed in with veggies or as a garnish on the plate.
But over here in North America, we don’t see this little green as much. In fact, you may have never even heard of it all!
It’s time for that to change – especially if you’re looking to get healthier or lose weight this year.
Watercress is an amazing superfood that not only tastes great, but it can greatly improve your overall health and wellness, too. It’s even been proven to KILL CANCER CELLS.
If you haven’t tried watercress yet, it’s time to do so – and to work it into your weekly menus as much as possible. You’d be surprised at the difference it can make on your body!
What is Watercress?
Before we get into the nitty gritty health benefits of watercress, let’s take a look at this unique veggie first. Chances are, you’ve never even seen it, let alone know what it is or what it tastes like.
Watercress is a small, green, leafy vegetable. It looks sort of like parsley or cilantro, only the leaves are a little larger and ovular shaped, like the traditional leaves you’d see on trees. It also has a hollow stem, and it grows small, white and green flowers in clusters. It’s closely related to the mustard, radish, broccoli, arugula, kale, Brussels sprouts and wasabi plants.
It’s grown mostly in Europe and Asia, in watery, semi-aquatic locations, and it’s one of the oldest known edible leaf vegetables in the world. In fact, it’s said to have been a staple of the Roman soldier’s diets, back in the time of Caesar. Hippocrates even used it as a form of medicine to treat his patients with.
Sometimes, watercress is referred to as a “sprout,” and it has a bitter, tangy taste to it. It can be eaten either raw or cooked (though they don’t have much flavor when cooked), and is often seen in egg dishes in the United Kingdom.
The Power of Watercress
According to a study in the CDC’s “Preventing Chronic Disease” journal, watercress is the single best superfood known to man. In fact, on a score of 1 to 100, researchers gave it a solid, perfect 100. The only other veggies to come close were Chinese cabbage, chard, beet greens, spinach and chicory.
But why is watercress so great for you? Well, that’s due to a few things.
First, it’s extremely high in vitamins and minerals. It has more vitamin C than an orange, more calcium than milk and more folate than a banana (all things these foods are touted for having high amounts of!) Just one small bowl of the stuff offers up about 42 percent of your daily vitamin A needs and a whopping 50 mg of vitamin C. It’s also high in manganese, potassium, vitamin E, thiamin, riboflavin, vitamin B-6, magnesium, phosphorus and vitamin K (it has 212 percent of your daily recommended value!).
Watercress is extremely low in calories, with only 7 calories in two whole cups of it. This makes it a great choice if you’re watching your weight or looking to lose a few pounds. Of course it’s not a miracle cure, but when combined with a reduced calorie diet and regular exercise, it can certainly help you slim down easily.
Thanks to watercress’ high calcium levels, it’s also great for maintaining bone density and preventing osteoporosis (especially in women.) It can be helpful in boosting cardiovascular health, too, and it can even fight off high blood pressure and diabetes.
Additionally, because of its high folate and calcium content, watercress has also been known to help fight cancer cells – particularly breast cancer ones. Studies have also shown it can increase antioxidants levels in the blood and subsequently lower risks of prostate, breast and colon cancers when consumed regularly.
You see, cress contains glucosinolates, which have anti-cancer affects. They protect cells from cancer invaders, and they shut down the signals from tumors, keeping them from getting blood or nourishment. Over time, this causes the tumors to stop growing, shrink or even die off completely.
If you’ve never heard of watercress before, you’re probably pretty stumped as to how to eat it. But don’t fret; it’s actually pretty easy.
Like any green, you can simply chop it up and put it on your salads. You can also throw it in the blender with your morning smoothie for a quick and easy fix.
If you want to get a little more creative, you can try my favorite way of eating watercress: just mix it up with some boiled egg, a spoonful of Greek yogurt, and some salt and pepper. Serve it cold on a slice of Ezekiel bread, and you’ve got a healthy egg salad sandwich that’s to die for.
Do you have other ways you like to eat watercress? Share them with me in the comments!
Remember to share this article with all the people you love, so that they can also benefit from this powerful super food.
Together we can make this world a happier, healthier world!