Watercress Benefits, Side Effects and it’s Recipes

Watercress benefits

Watercress is a green leaves vegetable that has rich nutritional value. It has small round leaves with stems that tastes a little spicy

Watercress belongs to the 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 about here. 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.  

One cup (34 grams) of watercress contains

Carbs0.4 grams
Protein0.8 grams
Fat:0 grams
Fiber0.2 grams
Vitamin A22% 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

High Antioxidant Content May Lower Your Risk of Chronic Diseases

Watercress is rich in antioxidants that protect us from various cell damage caused by free radicals. Free radicals are harmful molecules that result 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 them. Watercress has got this rank of 12 because of higher amounts of phenols and the ability to neutralize free radicals.

Due to antioxidants present in Watercress, the risk of various cancers is also lowered by regular consumption.  

Contains Compounds That May Prevent Certain Types of Cancer

Watercress is high in phytochemicals which helps to reduce the risks of developing many forms of cancer. 

Watercress consists of glucosinolates which are activated when it is cut by a knife or chewed.  These glucosinolates consist of various other chemicals like sulforaphane and phenethyl isothiocyanate. 

The compounds protect against cancer by securing and growing healthy cells and reducing the growth of tumors.  

Isothiocyanates are a chemical that is found in watercress that 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 prevents 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 your heart health. Studies have proved that cruciferous vegetables reduce the risk of heart disease up to 16%.

Antioxidants Improve Heart Health

Watercress has a 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. 

Dietary Nitrates Boost Blood Vessel Health

Watercress has dietary nitrates which reducing inflammation in blood vessels and hence reduces the stiffness in veins.  

Dietary Nitrates have shown good results in lowering blood pressure in blood. So if you are looking to regulate your blood pressure, then use watercress in your diet.  

Watercress May Lower Cholesterol

Watercress helps in lowering 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.  

Mineral and Vitamin K Contents Protect Against Osteoporosis

Watercress helps in strong bones by providing calcium, magnesium. Potassium & phosphorus. 

We all know calcium is one of the core essences 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 & regulates 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 affects bone health, magnesium, Vitamin K & potassium. . Vegetables that are densely packed with minerals help in bone health.  

Boosts Immune Function Thanks to High Vitamin C Levels

Watercress improves the immunity of the body up to 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. 

  1. Vitamin C deficiency leads to low immunity which results in frequent illness & inflammation. 
  2. Vitamin C boosts the immune system by increasing WBC cells to fight infections in a better way.
  3. Generally Vitamin C reduces risk of common cold, flu and other common diseases to lead a healthy life. 

Nutrient Density May Aid Weight Loss

If your weight is increasing in an uncontrolled way, then you must start eating watercress. As Watercress is a highly nutritious food, it helps in getting more nutrition and fewer calories. If you want to lose weight watercress is helpful in reducing weight. 

Dietary Nitrates May Enhance Athletic Performance

Watercress is rich in dietary nitrates. Nitrate is a compound that is seen in green vegetables. 

  1. Nitrates helps in blood vessel relaxation & increases nitric oxide in the blood and hence improves physical performance. 
  2. Nitrate regulates blood pressure and reduces oxygen consumption in the body to increase exercise tolerance. 
  3. Studies have shown that the consumption of Watercress helps in increasing the performance of athletes. 
  4. Eating 100 gms of watercress helps in increasing CO2 production during exercise, eat a smaller amount only.

Rich in Carotenoids and Vitamin C, Which May Protect Eye Health

Watercress is beneficial for vision. As the presence of lutein and zeaxanthin, i.e. forms of antioxidant helps in better eye health. 

It protects the 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 the eyes. 

Helps maintain healthy iron levels 

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 in the body. Vitamin C & Iron in Watercress is helpful for the body to produce more energy in the body. 

Watercress Recipes 

Watercress Salad

Watercress is a tasty ingredient in a salad. It adds a crunchy & peppery flavor to the salad. You can add watercress to any salad by spreading it on the salad base. Some popular salads are  

  1. Watercress, sweet potato and feta salad
  2. Pan-fried steak with watercress and olive salad
  3. Indonesian ‘Gado Gado’ salad

Watercress Smoothies

Adding watercress to a smoothie can add sweet flavors to the smoothie. Some popular smoothies is  

  1. Watercress, mango and pineapple smoothie
  2. Watercress, avocado and lime smoothie
  3. Watercress, blueberry and pineapple smoothie

Watercress Soup

Watercress soup is a popular recipe in UK & Europe. Many world-famous chefs like Gordon Ramsay & Raymond Blanc have made various tasty soup recipes in their kitchens. Some are available online. Watercress soups are made by mixing butternut squash or leek and potato or blended into gazpacho to add a fantastic flavor. 

Watercress Pesto

Watercress pesto is delicious food that is made with traditional basil. It adds a more subtle peppery flavor, which is combined with various dishes to make some tasty one. 

  1. Watercress pesto
  2. Pesto chicken with watercress mash
  3. Tagliatelle with watercress and walnut pesto

Watercress Stir-fries

Watercress is used in many traditional Chinese dishes. These recipes are mostly based on stir fry A small amount of watercress is added to the dish to add a peppery flavor in a blend of garlic & ginger to make a delicious Oriental side dish. 

  1. Hoisin pork with stir fried watercress
  2. Sesame chicken with stir fried watercress
  3. Teriyaki salmon with watercress and soba noodles

Watercress Omelets

Cheese & watercress omelet is a very popular recipe on the Internet. Adding little watercress to the omelet provides a tasty blend in the omelet. 

Final Words 

Watercress is a nutritious vegetable that has nutrients and fewer calories. It consists of antioxidants that lower 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 not a very commonly eaten vegetable in people’s diet, but it helps us in many ways if we include it.

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