What is Watercress? Benefits and Salad Recipe

March 21, 2013

Written by Eniko A. Nagy, Health Advocate/Raw World Order

Watercress is an herb that grows along slow-running streams and rivers in Europe, Asia and America. It has small round leaves and its flowers grow in flat clusters. Its high nutrient content and peppery flavor makes it an ideal addition to salads and juices. It is rich in iron, vitamin A, C, E, K, folic acid and antioxidants. There are many health benefits to consuming watercress.

1. Treating Anemia
Watercress is high in iron. Iron is essential for life and efficient functioning of the body. It is necessary for hemoglobin production, which is the primary component of red blood cells. For this reason, watercress is helpful to treat different types of anemia. Additionally, the high vitamin C content in watercress, allows for better iron absorption.

2. Bone Health
Watercress is rich in absorbable calcium, magnesium and manganese. These minerals, along with the vitamins, contribute to healthy bones.

3. Healthy Immune System
The high Vitamin A, B and C contents in watercress boost the immune system, and the sulphur glycosides help treat bronchitis and coughs.

4. Anti-cancer Properties
Watercress contains phenethyl isothiocyanate which limits cancer development; also, it is high in antioxidants that help prevent cell damage from free radicals. Free radicals cause DNA damage, premature aging, cancer and other diseases. An especially powerful cancer fighting combination is Watercress and salmon.

5. Thyroid Function
Watercress is high in iodine; therefore it is beneficial for people with hypothyroidism. Iodine is essential for the health and proper functioning of the thyroid gland. The thyroid gland is responsible for regulating the body’s metabolism and calcium balance.  People with hyperthyroidism should limit watercress consumption.

To get the most benefit out of this nutritious herb, include it in your diet two to three times per week.
1 oz. watercress contains 3 calories, 65 g protein, 40 mg of calcium, 1mg of iron.

Here is an easy way to incorporate watercress in your diet.
Watercress and Arugula Salad with Honey Mustard Dressing
Combine watercress and arugula in a bowls.
Honey Mustard Dressing
1/4 cup raw honey
1/4 cup raw apples cider vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
2 Tbsp. prepared mustard (use organic stone ground)
2 tsp. Bragg’s Liquid Aminos (or salt to taste)
1 clove garlic
1/2 tsp. mustard powder (optional)

Combine in blender until smooth and creamy. Enjoy!

Please check out these sites for more information about watercress:

http://www.marthastewart.com

http://www.motherearthliving.com

http://www.juicing-for-health.com

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