Watercress - Superfood

Healing Properties and Health Benefits

Watercress has been renowned for its healing properties. Watercress is one of the oldest known edible leafy greens and has been a part of human diets for centuries.

Historically, it is one of the It was especially popular as a natural remedy for digestive ailments and also used in the treatment of scurvy. Other ailments it is said to have cured included anaemia, eczema, intestinal parasites, circulation, sluggish menstruation, lack of energy, kidney and gall stones.

High in Nutrients - Low in calories

Watercress is an incredibly versatile ingredient that can be used in a variety of dishes. You can add raw watercress to salads for a crunchy, peppery taste. It can also be cooked into soups and stews to add flavor or used as an alternative to arugula on sandwiches. Additionally, watercress makes a great garnish for fish or other proteins and roasted vegetables.

The Greeks believed that eating this peppery powerhouse would give them a clear mind; the Romans believed it prevented baldness and the Victorians believed it could cure a toothache. More recently cress has become popular as part of the foods that detox the body as well as for it's use as a blood cleanser in fashionable detox diets. It's sometimes recommended as a weight loss aid.

Coming from the same cruciferous family as kale, Brussels sprouts and cabbage, Watercress is a superfood that is packed with health benefits. It has high amounts of calcium, iron, and Vitamins A and C, making it beneficial for bone health. Watercress also contains antioxidants which help reduce the risk of certain cancers, as well as anti-inflammatory properties ( dietary nitrites reduce blood vessel inflammation) which can help ease symptoms associated with arthritis. Additionally, watercress has been known to promote healthy skin, support detoxification processes in the body, and provide cardiovascular protection.

How Does Watercress Detox the Blood?

Watercress contains a compound called glutathione, which helps in the detoxification of the blood. Glutathione is an antioxidant that binds to toxins and heavy metals in the blood, allowing them to be more easily excreted from the body. Additionally, it binds to free radicals and neutralizes them before they can cause any damage to cells.

A study done at Ulster University found that eating 85 grams of cress per day significantly reduced cancer damage to white blood cells and increased the body's levels of cancer-fighting antioxidants. This has led scientists to believe that the vegetable may hamper the growth of cancer cells, or even kill them.

This is a little leaf that packs a lot of power. It has a peppery taste and adds great texture to salads. It's distinctive mustard flavour gives a new dimension to a number of cooked dishes.

Cress can be eaten raw or cooked and makes a good substitute for spinach in soufflés, roulades and soups. In fact watercress soup is a well-known classic. In the East it is eaten sautéed or steamed like spinach.

Alfalfa sprouts, sunflower shoots and mustard cress are referred to as cress, landcress or cressy but are in fact the germinating shoots of seeds such as mustard, alfalfa, and pumpkin or the sprouts of legumes such as lentils, snow peas or mung beans. The high nutritional value of these shoots makes them a valuable addition to a healthy diet.

The stems and stalks of cress can both be eaten. Rinse them under cold water in a sieve or colander and pat dry with kitchen towel. Cress can be stored in an airtight container or plastic bag with a piece of damp paper towel in the refrigerator. It will generally keep for 3 - 4 days. To revive limp leaves, submerge the leaves in iced water.

Osteoporosis and Watercress

If you suffer from osteoporosis, a painful and debilitating condition, it is important to find natural ways to support your body. One way to do this is with nutrient-rich foods that help nourish your bones and minimize bone degradation.

Watercress is one of those nutrient-dense vegetables which can positively impact bone health and it's easy to incorporate into your diet.

  • Watercress contains minerals important for bone health, such as calcium, magnesium, potassium and phosphorus.
  • Magnesium, Vitamin K and potassium also contribute to strong bones.
  • A cup of watercress provides more than 100% of the RDI for vitamin K.
  • Vitamin K is an integral part of osteocalcin which makes up healthy bone tissue and regulates its turnover rate.
  • A study showed that people with the highest intake of Vitamin K were 35% less likely to experience a hip fracture than those with the lowest intake.

Watercress Recipe


Watercress Dressing makes a superb accompaniment to cold summer salads. Whizz together all of the following ingredients in your food processor until finely chopped:

100ml watercress

60ml parsley

40ml Basil leaves

20ml mint leaves

50ml lemon juice

This tangy dressing is great drizzled over a salad.

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