Watercress is an aquatic vegetable that falls under the same family as cabbage, kale, and Brussels sprouts. In Indian cuisine, it is known by various names such as jalkumbi and Chansaur. It is a fast-growing aquatic plant that grows majorly in Europe and Central Asia. Watercress benefits are multiple and the plant is known to have been around since the Roman and Egyptian empires. According to the Greeks and Romans, watercress has multiple health benefits from improved brain functionality to curing sword wounds. According to some studies, watercress may support bone and eye health along with increasing athletic abilities. Cresswater is known to have a zippy, tangy, and peppery flavor and is used in many recipes. In this article, we discuss the significant watercress benefits that you can avail by consuming this vegetable.
The vegetable is packed with a plethora of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that contribute to the overall health and well-being of an individual. Here are some of the benefits mentioned below:
The plant is packed with a component known as beta-carotene along with other carotenoids that are known to be potent antioxidants. It is known globally that fruits and vegetables that are high in antioxidants have the potential to fight off free radicals and the damage caused to our bodies due to these free radicals. This leads to a lesser amount of oxidative damage to our cells and a lower risk of developing cancers and other chronic illnesses.
Rich in flavour watercress is used in multiple cuisines and dishes. Watercress is commonly found in sandwiches and salads for its peppery taste. It is also used as a garnish to enhance the flavors of other dishes as an accompaniment. Some people may also use it by wilting it and garnishing dumplings with watercress. It serves as a main ingredient in many Chinese dishes like Chinese watercress soup and cold cream of watercress soup. You may also have eaten it in sushi rolls in your favorite pan-Asian restaurants.
Watercress contains multiple vitamins and minerals such as iron, calcium, folic acid, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Beta-Carotene, Magnesium, Carotenoids, Protein, Fiber, Carbohydrates, and sugar. As it is an aquatic and semi-aquatic plant it is a rich source of iodine which helps in maintaining thyroid gland health beneficial for individuals who suffer from hypothyroidism.
When consuming watercress your body is provided with antioxidant benefits protecting you from cell damage. Being rich in nutrients and antioxidants provides you with the necessary weapons to fight off chronic illnesses such as Alzheimer's and Dementia protecting your cells from oxidative stress.
Watercress may be helpful in lowering cholesterol levels in your body inducing better heart health. According to a scientific study conducted on rats for 10 days treatment with watercress for high-cholesterol rats resulted in a 34% cholesterol drop.
Watercress contains many minerals and vitamins that are necessary to maintain bone health as we age such as calcium, magnesium, potassium, and phosphorous. Even though most of us associate calcium with better bone health it is important to note that potassium, magnesium, and phosphorous also play a key role in maintaining bone health. Vitamin K contributes to the formation of healthy bone tissues.
There is no scientific evidence for the claim that watercress may help in weight loss. However, it is an extremely nutrient-dense food and can contribute to providing the necessary antioxidants and vitamins that are required to maintain weight. Since it is a low-calorie food item, it can be added to various salads, sandwiches, or even soups.
Watercress is a versatile vegetable and can be added to your diet through various means like sprinkling it as a garnish in your salads or stirring it in the soup that you are preparing, you can even replace lettuce or iceberg lettuce with watercress due to its healthy nutritional value, make the pesto by blending olive oil, garlic, and watercress together, and more. The bottom line is that it contains a plethora of nutrients and antioxidants that will fulfill your daily nutritional value decreasing the risk of multiple ailments such as heart attacks, developing chronic illnesses, developing cancers, and more.