For the past few decades, watercress has been used as little more than a plate garnish. However, this ancient green is said to have been a staple in the diet of Roman soldiers. It is now regaining popularity as one of the next big superfoods, and for good reason!
This leafy green grows in natural spring water, mainly from April to October. It contains more vitamin C than an orange, more calcium than milk, more iron than spinach, and more folate than bananas. Additionally, it is rich in vitamin A, vitamin B6, magnesium, and phosphorus. Due to the numerous nutrients watercress contains, it is not surprising that its health benefits are extensive. Here are some of the top reasons why you should have watercress in your diet:
Cancer Prevention and Treatment: Eating watercress daily can significantly reduce DNA damage to blood cells, which is considered to be an important trigger in the development of cancer. Further research also found that a daily portion of watercress increased the ability of those cells to resist further DNA damage caused by free radicals.
Lowers Blood Pressure: People who consume diets that are low in calcium, magnesium, and potassium are more likely to have high blood pressure. These minerals are thought to bring blood pressure down by releasing sodium out of the body and dilating arteries. Watercress contains all three of these healthy minerals!
Prevents Iron Deficiency (Anemia): Watercress is high in iron, a nutrient required to provide hemoglobin to the body for the increase of red blood cells. It also contains vitamin C, which is necessary for the absorption of iron. With this nutrient combination, watercress makes for an excellent aid for people with anemia.
Improves Bone Health: Watercress is rich in calcium, a nutrient that works to repair and build bones by causing an increase in the production of osteoblasts, the cells responsible for this beneficial activity. This little green is also a good source of folate, which plays a direct role as an interactive nutrient in maintaining bone density.
Helps In Pregnancy: When it comes to pregnancy, folate is important for the development of a healthy embryo, as it plays a crucial role in a normal cellular division. Additionally, pregnant women who consume at least 400 micrograms of folate every day may help reduce their chances of neural tube deficiency, a birth defect of the brain, spine, and spinal cord.
Watercress is most commonly consumed raw, but you can also incorporate it into your soups, sauces, or dressings. Whether fresh or cooked, including this leafy green in your diet will bring you a lot of health benefits.