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:
- 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.