Watercress: The Forgotten Superfood

Have you ever tried watercress? You’ll find it in the salad section of your supermarket all year round – very often forgotten and underestimated.

However, if you haven’t already, it’s high time you added it to your menu!

Watercress is one of the oldest known vegetables. Persians, ancient Greeks, Romans praised its medicinal vertues (recognising up to 40 different uses for it) and often used it as a fortifier to keep their troops healthy.

Why is Watercress a Superfood

They didn’t know the science bit at the time but here’s why watercress is such a superfood:

  • 100g of watercress will give you twice the vitamin C contained in one orange
  • watercress contains more calcium than milk
  • it also contains high levels of magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, iron, beta-carotene, vitamins A, B1, B6, K and E, anti-oxydants
  • it is high in fibers and contains no fat

Health Benefits of Watercress

Some of watercress health benefits are:

  • diuretics
  • breaks up kidney or bladder stones
  • helps with weight loss
  • purifies the blood and relieves phlegm
  • stimulates thyroid
  • promotes healthy hair and skin
  • helps digestion (through enzymes contained in its chlorophyll when eaten fresh and uncooked)
  • anti-cancer (it would reduce the DNA damage to white blood cell considered to be an important trigger in the development of cancer)
  • natural antibiotics
  • prevents heart problems
  • lowers cholesterol
  • normalizes blood pressure

Convinced yet? If not, I should add that it is cheap, is in season all year round (although at its best from April to October) and has a most interesting and satisfying peppery taste.

The British are so proud of their watercress growing methods (in fresh spring water) that they’ve been lodging a request with the EU for protected status. They claim that, unlike cress grown in soil, watercress benefits from rich mineral flowing water which adds to their taste. Result from the EU should come later this year…

Watercress originated from Europe and central Asia but has been exported all over the world. It’s now eaten in many different ways: in salads with oil and vinegar (like the Romans used to), in soups, in sauces, in stir-fries,in sandwiches,…

Being French, I can’t resist giving you the Soupe de Cresson recipe, enjoy!

But, before, as always, word of caution, don’t go crazy on the watercress alone, use it as part of a balanced diet 🙂

Soupe de Cresson Recipe

Preparation: 20 mn

Cooking time: 40 to 45 mn

Ingredients (for 4):

  • 300 g watercress
  • 3 medium size potatoes
  • 1 shallot
  • 1 twig of thyme
  • 1 spoon of butter
  • 1 stock cube
  • 1 litre of water


  • Wash the watercress.
  • Peel the potatoes and cut them in cubes.
  • In a large saucepan, heat the butter, add the watercress, the potatoes, the chopped shallot and the thyme.
  • Add water and the stock cube (the water should cover the vegetables by 3cm).
  • Stop the heat once the potatoes can be mashed easily.
  • Remove some of the water. Mix the soup and add the water little by little to the right consistency.


Watercress: The Forgotten Superfood — 8 Comments

  1. Hi,
    Yes, I’m not surprised you didn’t know about all the health benefits of watercress as, sadly, it’s not often talked about. As for growing it, I have never tried it but choose the watercress variety rather than cress. Although watercress is traditionnally grown is streams (which might not easy to come by in your garden….), you can also plant it in a shaded area with moist soil from May. I’ve read that you can also simply buy a watercress bunch from the supermarket, put it in a glass of water. It should grow as long as you change the water everyday. Worth a try!

  2. I adore watercress soupe. My aunt in Montreal used to make me creamed watercress soupe which is so tasty. I ‘m going out to the the market tomorrow to make some now especially since i didn’t know about all the health benefits.

  3. I wasn’t aware of the dietery benefits of watercress before. I consider myself someone who is knowledgeable about what foods are good, but this was still new to me. I’m not so much concerned about getting more vitamin C, but I like the fact that it has so much calcium in it. Sometimes I get tired of drinking milk to get my calcium intake. I can see why this is a superfood.

  4. Isabelle,

    I did not know watercress was so nutritional! Especially in calcium. I am always trying to get more calcium into my family’s diet, especially for my daughter and I. We enjoy dairy but it is nice to find calcium in other types of food.

    I may have to check out this beautiful little green.


    • HI Stuart,

      I’m pretty sure it’s really really easy. A quick google search would tell you but I do remember growing watercress at school. We did it using tissues soaked in water and placing the watercress seeds on the wet tissues. I can’t remember much else apart from leaving them for a period – probably about a week-10 days – at the back of the class and at a certain point putting them into little pots to continue their growth.

      check it out with your wife – I’m sure she’ll know?


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