Watercress (Nasturtium officinale) is a perennial herb that usually grows near springs and slow-moving streams in Asia, Europe, and America. It is part of the cruciferous family of vegetables along with Brussels sprouts, broccoli, kale, and arugula.
This amazing leafy green has become very popular in recent years due to its flavoring, therapeutic and aphrodisiac properties.
The fresh, tender leaves of this aquatic plant need to be harvested just before flowering, otherwise, they become bitter and are no longer good for consumption.
- NUTRITIONAL PROFILE
Watercress is full of many essential nutrients, such as fiber, vitamin C, beta-carotene, folate, iron, potassium, calcium, and phosphorus. In addition to this, it also contains a moderate amount of iodine.
Its main active principles are classified as thioglycosides (glycosides containing sulfur) — an anti-thrombosis with a mild anti-coagulant effect. Watercress is also a good source of vitamins B1 and B2, copper, zinc, and manganese.
- HEALTH BENEFITS
Watercress has numerous health-boosting properties. However, due to its strong and bitter taste, it is never used alone, but is always added to salads, juices or other dishes.
Anti-anemic effect: Watercress can be very useful in the treatment of different types of anemia due to its high amount of iron. As you probably know, iron is needed for the synthesis of hemoglobin, and folic acid, which plays a major role in the maturation of red cells in the bone marrow. Also, the high levels of vitamin C in watercress will help improve the absorption of iron.
Anti-oxidant and anti-cancer effects: Watercress is also rich in anti-oxidant substances, which are well-known for their ability to prevent or fight the damage caused by free radicals to body tissues. In this way, this leafy green helps prevent premature aging, and significantly reduces the risk of cancer and many other chronic or degenerative diseases.
Anti-inflammatory properties: Watercress is full of vitamin C, which has powerful anti-inflammatory properties and can help prevent or reduce the symptoms of cold, flu and other types of inflammation.
Aphrodisiac effect: Numerous relevant historical sources show that watercress has been used for its aphrodisiac effect ever since the age of the ancient Romans. This could be due to its high amounts of iron and zinc.
Bone health: The high levels of magnesium, calcium, manganese, vitamins A, C, and K in watercress will also help us maintain healthy and strong bones.
Blood glucose: Some recent studies suggest that watercress can help prevent or treat high blood glucose. These properties of watercress are probably due to its high amount of soluble fiber, which helps reduce the absorption of carbohydrates from the intestine. This fantastic effect can be very helpful for people who suffers from diabetes.
Cough: Many studies have shown that the Sulphur glycosides found in watercress have the ability to modify bronchial secretions and exert an expectorant effect, which can be used in the treatment of many forms of chronic bronchitis.
Digestive function: Watercress will also significantly improve digestion due to its high levels of vitamin C and fiber, which stimulate salivary and gastric secretions and the motility of the intestinal tract.
Eye health: This aquatic plant is also rich in phytonutrients lutein and zeaxanthin, which are potent antioxidants that are known for their ability to improve eye health.
Hair health: Watercress can be used topically to treat dandruff and prevent hair loss due to its high levels of vitamin A, sulfur, zinc, and iron. For best results, it is recommended to rub the scalp and the hair with a watercress tincture.
Hangover: A hangover occurs when the liver is overloaded with alcohol. Watercress juice is so rich in some essential nutrients that it activates the detoxifying enzymes in the liver which are needed for detoxifying a hangover.
Purifying effect: Watercress enhances the diuresis, which helps the colon to remove toxins from the body more effectively.
Skin health: Watercress juice can help relieve skin eczema (as well as other skin conditions) when applied topically due to its high levels of vitamins A and C.
Teeth: You may find it hard to believe, but chewing watercress makes teeth stronger and cures bleeding of the gum.
Thyroid gland: The iodine content in watercress can help improve the function of the thyroid gland and reduce the symptoms of many forms of hypothyroidism.
- HOW TO Reduce RESPIRATORY PROBLEMS using WATERCRESS
Watercress is a highly effective expectorant due to its Sulfur glycosides. Many studies have found that watercress can reduce mucus caused by cold, and relieve phlegm that causes cough. Additionally, this amazing leafy green also has the ability to reduce the symptoms of other respiratory ailments such as asthma and emphysema.
If watercress is regularly consumed by individuals who are already suffering from a cough or cold, the duration and the intensity of the symptoms will be significantly reduced. Also, if you start consuming watercress when you notice the first symptom, there is a big possibility that you will avoid a full-fledged infection
- How To Consume Watercress For Respiratory Health
- Eat about an ounce of fresh watercress each time, 2 or 3 times a day.
- Boil a bunch of watercress for five minutes in a stainless steel pot with water just enough to cover the herb. Let it cool for a few minutes and drink it throughout the day.
- Juice a bunch of watercress with ½-inch ginger and 3 carrots. Drink this mixture until mucus/phlegm is gone.
- CONSUMPTION TIPS
Watercress can be used as a basic ingredient for salads (using the leaves), sauces, or in soups. You can also add watercress juice to a variety of vegetable juices to give them flavor and health benefits.
Due to its strong and bitter taste, it is recommended to consume no more than two ounces of concentrated watercress juice each time. A far better solution is to mix watercress with juices of potato, carrot, spinach, and turnip leaves. In this way, you will make it more palatable and easier on the stomach. You can also squeeze in half a lemon to reduce its pungent taste.
The Chinese people like to boil watercress soup (which includes some super healthy ingredients such as carrots, ginseng, carrots, goji berries, black pepper, dates, and ginger). There is no doubt that some nutrients will be destroyed in the heat. But, the phytonutrients cannot be destroyed – they will leach into the soup. Discard the leaves.
People who are suffering from bladder inflammation should limit the consumption of watercress due to its possible bladder pain-inducing effects.
People with hyperthyroidism should also avoid watercress due to its high iodine content. Also, if you are taking medications, you should consult with your doctor before eating watercress or drinking its juice.