Watercress: A garnishing green that provides bountiful health benefits

 If watercress is served as a garnishment In a restaurant, don’t throw it out. Eat it with the food served. It will help you digest your meal and provide many more health benefits than most know about. As a matter of fact, you’d be wise to mix it in salads or juice it with other veggies often.

Watercress Details

Watercress is a leafy green cruciferous that’s been around for a long time. It gets its name from the fact that it originally grew wild along the banks of streams and slow moving rivers. Essentially it is a water plant. They have long green stems with small roundish bright green leaves.

The early Romans and ancient Persians used watercress as a brain food, a nerve tonic, and an aphrodisiac. Perhaps they overdid the latter. It is often used as a throw-away garnish. But its nutrient value is so high its bitter peppery tasting leaves deserve to be eaten uncooked often.

Naturally, raw leaves offer the highest nutrient value. But watercress can be juiced with other vegetables or even used for soups. For soups, place watercress in the waterafterreaching a boiling point to avoid destroying the nutrients by overheating.

Once you find a good source of organic watercress, you can wrap the leaves around grapes or pineapple chunks and snack with them. You can mix raw watercress leaves with other greens for salads. Many consider watercress too bitter to eat alone. Try it that way first then decide.

Health Benefits

Watercress is considered an anti-aging food, as good as or even better than many herbs used for that purpose. It contains a lot of lutein, which helps improve or maintain eye health despite aging. Watercress is very high in naturally occurring iodine. So high that it is not advised for anyone with hyperthyroidism.

However, hyperthyroidism is rare these days. Hypothyroidism is much more prevalent because iodine nutrients are not common in most modern mineral deficient diets. Hypothyroidism causes lethargy, depression, goiter, and poor metabolism leading to obesity. So unless you’re specifically diagnosed with hyperthyroidism, eat as much watercress as you can.

The high iodine content gives watercress a nutritional breakaway value from other cruciferous vegetables. Cruciferous veggies all have cancer preventative nutrients. They are all high in phytonutrient compounds containing different sulfur molecules. Some of those sulfur nutrients assist the liver in its phase two detoxification process.

Cruciferous vegetables also contain enzymes that help the liver manufacture and transfer glutathione to our bodies’ cells. Glutathione is considered the master antioxidant because it replenishes and recycles spent antioxidants for more activity to protect cells from oxidative damage.

Don’t confuse oxidation or oxidative damage with oxygenation, without which cancer takes over healthy cells. Oxygenation is part of a healthy cell’s function to properly metabolize cellular activity and growth while creating energy.

So with sufficient antioxidants preventing cellular damage, whatever enhances oxygenation is welcome. Watercress provides both antioxidant activity and oxygenation. Its high chlorophyll content provides what’s essential for oxygenation and red blood cells.

Rotating watercress with other organic cruciferous uncooked or lightly steamed veggies ensures your daily intake of many anti-aging cancer inhibiting nutrients.

Watercress is very low in calories too.