Watercress: The Most Super of All Superfoods?

By Anja Springthorpe

You’ve probably heard about superfoods, a frequently used, and misused, tag to promote foods believed to provide benefits for health and wellness.  Because the name “superfood” is not officially regulated, there is no telling just how good these foods really are for us.  This fact inspired a team of researchers at the William Paterson University in New Jersey to rank a number of these so-called superfoods based on their nutritional value.  

Watercress was crowned the clear winner (leaving Chinese cabbage and chard as runner-ups).  After comparing levels of fiber, potassium, calcium, folate, vitamin C and a number of other important nutrients, watercress was awarded an astonishing score of 100 out of 100, making this tender-leafed plant a bona fide superfood.  

One of watercress’ many benefits are the high levels of vitamin K which are not only needed for healthy blood clotting but also to maintain bone health and reduce fracture risk.  All you need is one cup of watercress per day to get 100 percent of your vitamin K requirements. 

Watercress is also associated with improved cardiovascular health.  The high levels of calcium, magnesium and potassium support lower blood pressure and may help to reduce the development of narrow arteries – the main culprit for heart attacks.

Because of its high nutrient content, watercress is an all-rounder when it comes to health and well-being.  Some studies suggest that watercress consumption may also be beneficial in the management of diabetes and certain cancers as well as supporting weight-loss and improving energy levels.  No wonder that Hippocrates, “the father of medicine,” recommended watercress dishes for many of his patients on a regular basis.  

How to Add Watercress to Your Diet:

  • Use watercress instead of basil to make pesto. 
  • Add watercress leaves to your favorite smoothie recipe.
  • Watercress makes a great base for a peppery soup.
  • Add watercress to sandwiches, wraps and salads.
  • Add chopped watercress to scrambled eggs, stews, meats and fish.

 

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