Vegetables and Vegetables

Health Benefits of Watercress

The  watercress , scientific name Nasturtium officinale , is a semiaquática plant that is present in the power of man since the dawn of humanity, and is considered by most historians as the oldest plant that is part of our consumption.

Its scientific name comes from the union of the Latin words nasus (nose) and tortus (twisted), this due to the spicy aroma of this vegetable, which ends up irritating the nose. This vegetable is considered one of the most nutritious that exists and has its origins in Asia. In Egypt, watercress was associated with strength and its juice was given to slaves to increase their productivity.

Watercress arrived in Europe through Germany only in the 16th century and in the United Kingdom in the beginning of the 19th century. Currently, it is cultivated in several parts of the world, being widely used for the preparation of various dishes in world cuisine. Therefore, if you have any doubts about watercress, what it is used for, it is used in salads, sauces, soups, sandwiches, watercress oxtail, among others.

Its leaves are shiny, dark green in color, with an oval shape and smooth surface. The stems are between 5 and 10 cm long and form a large mass of angular stems. The flowers bloom in spring and summer, have a white color and are small, grouped in spikes.

To choose the ideal watercress, prefer bunches that have fresh leaves and a dark green hue, without the presence of spots or yellowish regions. Also, the stalks must be firm and brittle.

The properties of watercress include the high iron content. Calcium and Vitamin C. In addition, it contains other nutrients that are very important for health, such as magnesium, phosphorus, folic acid, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, among others. It is also rich in vitamin A and has more iron than kale spinach.

It is important to remember that the consumption of watercress by pregnant women should not be done excessively, as it can bring the risk of miscarriage.

WATERCRESS BENEFITS

The consumption of watercress helps to increase immunity, in addition to treating the thyroid and preventing certain types of cancer. Discover other benefits resulting from regular feeding of this vegetable. See below what are the main benefits it has.

1.Help in preventing cancer

According to studies carried out with this vegetable, when consumed daily, watercress is able to reduce the amount of substances present in the body that are responsible for the emergence of cancer. In addition, it is part of cruciferous foods, which, according to scholars, help reduce the risk of developing cancer.

Studies have also shown the benefits of watercress to stop the growth of cancer cells and also protect healthy tissue when radiotherapy treatment is done. Based on these studies, the component that could be responsible for this is probably sulfur, which is also present in watercress.

2.Reduces blood pressure

Regarding the properties of watercress, it has numerous vascular benefits, one of which is the reduction of blood pressure. This is because it contains a very significant amount of calcium, potassium and magnesium, components that are essential for people who have a tendency to high blood pressure.

3. It has antioxidant action

One of the reasons is because watercress has an antioxidant effect, which causes free radicals (substances that are harmful to the body) to be fought in the body. There is also the presence of micronutrients that prevent possible damage to white blood cells and DNA.

4.Contributes to weight loss

As watercress is a vegetable that has a low calorie content, around 28 per serving, it is considered a food that helps people who want to lose weight. In addition, it contains a good amount of soluble and insoluble fiber, which brings greater satiety and also an improvement in bowel movement.

Another factor why watercress loses weight is that it has a high amount of potassium, which, according to research, constitutes a stimulant for weight loss.

5. Improves digestion

This vegetable contains enzymes present in chlorophyll that help improve digestive function. That’s because these enzymes facilitate the absorption of nutrients during the digestive process. To obtain this benefit from the watercress, it is necessary that the leaves are consumed raw, since, when cooked, these enzymes end up being destroyed.

6.Protects lung health

The benefits of watercress for the lung are that this vegetable contributes to the lubrication of this organ, which helps to prevent coughing, inflammation of the airways and sore throat.

In addition, watercress protects against the action of toxic substances, especially if the person smokes or has smoked, due to the presence of a powerful phytochemical, called phenethyl-isothiocyanate, which promotes a cleansing and restoration of the lungs.

7. It contributes to bone and oral health

Watercress is a food that has a very high amount of calcium in its composition. For this reason, it is a powerful ally for the health of bones and teeth, keeping them stronger and healthier.

8.Helps treat respiratory diseases

The high amount of vitamin C present in this vegetable is essential for strengthening the immune system. In this way, it helps to avoid the flu and common colds, in addition to treating respiratory problems such as bronchitis, asthma, sinusitis, rhinitis, etc.

This is also due to its decongestant and expectorant properties, which help to eliminate mucus resulting from these pathologies. Watercress juice with milk and honey helps to treat bronchitis, rheumatism and catarrh. When mixed with honey, it becomes a good solution to fight bronchitis.

9.More willingness to practice physical exercise

With the regular ingestion of watercress, it makes the body’s energy levels be restored, bringing more energy to people who practice physical activities. This allows the exercises to be performed for a longer period of time, without compromising performance and also provides a faster recovery after exercise.

HOW TO GROW WATERCRESS

Watercress is an easy plant to grow, and no special care is required for it to develop correctly. He prefers mild climates, with the temperature between 10°C and 20°C. If planted in regions where the temperature exceeds 25°C, the watercress may end up flowering early and not reaching the ideal size.

This vegetable needs a good luminosity for its development and, for this reason, the ideal is to be exposed to direct sun for at least a few hours. However, if it is in a hot climate region, it is recommended that it does not receive the sun during the hottest hours.

As it is a semi-aquatic plant, planting should be done in waterlogged land, tanks or other containers with plenty of water. Watercress can also be planted in clay soils that are very wet. The layer of water on the ground should be at least 2-5 cm.

To plant watercress in the pot, simply place the pot with the soil in a larger container of water. It is important that the water is fresh and that the watercress does not receive manure as fertilizer. The reason is because this plant can easily become a transmitter of diseases and parasites if the water or soil is contaminated.

When watercress is planted in a pot or container, the water needs to be changed frequently to prevent mosquitoes from growing. Likewise, when planted in ponds, there needs to be a regular flow of water.

The watercress harvest takes place 40 to 80 days after sowing, or 40 to 50 days if planting was done using branches. Harvesting can be done several times each month.

WATERCRESS: RECIPES

See two watercress recipes that will contribute to the consumption of your important nutrients for your health.

WATERCRESS JUICE

Watercress juice gets thinner because

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch of watercress
  • 1 small cucumber
  • 1 neighbor
  • 3 medium carrots
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1-2 glass of water
  • 1 lemon juice

Preparation mode

  1. Chop the watercress, turnip, carrots and cucumber. Put these ingredients in a blender to blend together with the garlic and water.
  2. Squeeze the lemon when preparing the juice and place it in a blender as well.
  3. After beating, strain the juice and it is ready to drink. If you can’t find the turnip, you can do without it. Drink as soon as you are ready.

WATERCRESS SALAD

There are several ways to enjoy the benefits of watercress, such as making this nutritious and tasty salad.

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch of watercress
  • 2 tomatoes
  • Olive oil to taste
  • Vinegar to taste
  • salt to taste

Preparation mode

  1. Cut the watercress into thin slices. Also cut the tomato and mix the two ingredients.
  2. Add vinegar and salt to taste.
  3. In a saucepan, heat the oil over the fire, until it is very hot.
  4. Finally, drizzle the watercress with the still hot oil. Serve next.

 

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Robert Asprin, APD is a non-dieting Accredited Practicing Dietitian passionate about inspiring positive changes in eating and lifestyle behaviors to help improve health while nurturing relationships with food and body.

Robert Asprin

Robert Asprin, APD is a non-dieting Accredited Practicing Dietitian passionate about inspiring positive changes in eating and lifestyle behaviors to help improve health while nurturing relationships with food and body.

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