One of the earliest leaf vegetables used for human consumption, watercress is considered to be a weed in many regions of the world, but is also a prized herb or an aquatic vegetable in many other regions. The plant is composed of hollow stems that float and small round leaves arranged around a common axis. For best flavor the leaves have to be harvested before the flat clusters of white flowers known as corymbs appear. The flowers turn into pods containing a double row of seeds which upon reaching maturity are edible. After flowering the leaves however turn bitter and are no longer suitable for eating.
Basic Watercress Drink
- 1 cup chopped watercress (34 grams)
- 1 large green apple
- 1 lime juiced
- 1 large cucumber
Wash and chop the ingredients so they will fit the juicer with ease. Juice and enjoy!
Watercress is a highly nutritious vegetable/herb. In fact the Egyptian Pharoahs made it available to their slaves to improve productivity! One cup (34 grams), of the raw stuff contains only four calories and no sugar, carbohydrates or fats. Additionally it supplies one gram of protein and a small amount of dietary fiber.
Watercress is particularly rich in vitamins and minerals providing a wide array of the most vital nutrients. A single cup serving delivers 32% of the daily vitamin A supply, 24% of vitamin C, 106% of vitamin K and 2% of vitamin E. Furthermore, it supplies 1% of the folate requirements. Watercress is certainly not lacking in any way in the mineral department either. A single cup serving supplies 4% of the calcium and manganese needs, 3% of potassium, 2% of magnesium and phosphorus, and 1% sodium. Lastly, watercress is also good supplier of some important flavonoid antioxidants like lutein, carotene and zeaxanthin. It also contains elevated amounts of glucosinolate compounds.
Health Benefits of Watercress
According to the latest studies the glucosinolates in watercress have strong anti-cancer effects. Consumption of such compounds averts the formation of breast colon, lung and prostate cancers. The antioxidants in the vegetable avert age related vision problems and aid in protecting against damage caused to the healthy cells by free radicals.
The ample amounts of vitamin K promotes good bone health and also minimize damage to the neurons in the brain thus aiding against Alzheimer’s disease. A wide range of phytochemicals found in watercress aid in maintaining healthy skin. In fact according to one study, a significant improvement in skin tone along with reduction in wrinkles was observed in almost all study participants after just four weeks of watercress consumption. An amazing 39% decrease in wrinkles was recorded in one of the study participants.