Scientists have been unanimous for years – green leafy vegetables are a true health booster. They are especially rich in chlorophyll, which helps cleanse our body of toxins, as well as B vitamins, which support the nervous system – especially folic acid (vitamin B9), which prevents anemia.
When you lack vitamins
Watercress is a good source of vitamins. It is especially rich in the anti-hemorrhagic vitamin K. A handful (about 25 g) of watercress leaves is enough to meet the daily requirement for this component. It is also rich in immunity-supporting vitamin C, carotenoids (lutein and zeaxanthin) that care for the appearance of the skin and good eyesight, as well as the already mentioned B vitamins. This small plant will also provide us with some minerals. For example calcium, which is the building block of bones and teeth, and manganese, which supports the absorption of many vitamins (including vitamin C). It also contains some phosphorus, magnesium, and potassium. At the same time, it is low in calories. Just like lettuce, 100 g of watercress contains only 11 kcal.
How can watercress help?
As a member of the cabbage family, watercress also contains other compounds beneficial to health. These include glucosinolates – very strong antioxidants.
Among them, watercress is particularly rich in phenethyl isothiocyanate – a substance considered, like sulforaphane (which is abundant in broccoli sprouts, among others), to be an ally in the fight against cancer. In studies conducted on both animals and humans, it has been found to help reduce the risk of lung cancer, among other things.
In addition, scientists recommend watercress as a panacea for a variety of skin problems. According to research reports, it is supposed to primarily reduce the depth of wrinkles. In natural medicine, in turn, wraps made of watercress are used to treat skin lesions, which are the result of psoriasis and eczema, as well as relieve the symptoms associated with boils and hemorrhoids.
What does it come with?
You can eat this vegetable both hot and cold. In the first version, a watercress is a good addition to a sandwich, and also an ingredient of a salad or a sandwich spread. In the second one, blend it as a part of cream soup or add it to a tart. However, it is best not to heat it up as this way it will lose some of its valuable properties.
Like lettuce or sprouts, watercress is best stored in the fridge for a few days at most. In order for it not to lose its firmness but also not to spoil, you can, for example, put it – like a bouquet of flowers – in a dish with water, or wrap it in a paper towel and put it in a not too airtight container.