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Watercress is a vegetable rich in vitamin C, Vitamin A and flavonoids, compounds with anti-inflammatory properties and antioxidants that fight free radicals and strengthen the immune system, helping to prevent situations such as diabetes, high blood pressure and flu, for example.
By containing great amounts of fiber, watercress prolongs satiety, reducing food intake and favoring weight loss. In addition, this vegetable also increases the hydration of feces and facilitates the formation of the fecal cake, preventing constipation. See a list of other fiber-rich foods.
The watercress has a slightly spicy flavor and is usually found in supermarkets and fairs, and can be consumed raw, as in salads, pates and juices, or cooked, in preparations such as stews, stews, soups, omelets and rice.This vegetable can also be used in the preparation of home remedies, such as teas and syrups.
The main he alth benefits of watercress consumption are:
1. Prevent diabetes
By containing good amounts of fiber, watercress helps balance blood sugar levels, preventing insulin resistance and diabetes, as well as helping to control blood glucose in those who already have the disease.
2. Strengthen the bones
Watercress is rich in vitamin K, an essential vitamin for the formation and strengthening of bones, preventing osteoporosis and situations such as falls and fractures. Here's how to include other foods rich in vitamin K in your diet.
Furthermore, watercress also has good amounts of calcium, a mineral that participates in the formation and maintenance of bone he alth.
3. Help prevent cancer
Watercress helps prevent some types of cancer, such as pancreatic, breast or colon cancer, because it contains great amounts of flavonoids, isothiocyanates and glucosinolates, bioactive compounds with potent antioxidant action, which fight free radicals, preventing the emergence and multiplication of cancer cells.
4. Prevent premature aging
As a vegetable rich in vitamin C, an important vitamin for the production and absorption of collagen, watercress helps maintain skin elasticity, preventing wrinkles and premature aging.
Watercress is also rich in glucosinolates, bioactive compounds with potent antioxidant action that fight free radicals, one of those responsible for damage to he althy skin cells.
5. Keeping your eyes he althy
Watercress contains good amounts of lutein and zeaxanthin, carotenoids present in the eyes that help fight free radicals and protect the retina.These compounds are important for maintaining eye he alth, preventing conditions such as age-related macular degeneration and cataracts.
6. Prevent cardiovascular disease
By containing fiber, watercress helps reduce the absorption of fat from food in the intestine, promoting the balance of cholesterol and triglyceride levels in the blood and preventing diseases such as atherosclerosis, heart attack, high blood pressure and liver fat.
7. Strengthen the immune system
Watercress is rich in vitamin C, vitamin A and flavonoids, compounds with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory action that strengthen the immune system, fighting viruses, bacteria and fungi, helping to prevent and treat situations such as coughs, allergies, bronchitis, sinusitis and flu. Here's how to use watercress to help fight a cough.
8. Fight constipation
By containing good amounts of fiber, watercress helps to increase the absorption of water in the intestine, leaving the stools softer, improving the functioning of the intestine and fighting constipation.
9. Prevent bleeding
Present in great amounts in watercress, vitamin K is an essential nutrient to maintain normal blood clotting, preventing bleeding in case of injuries, such as cuts or fractures.
10. Help with weight loss
Watercress can help with weight loss, because it is a source of fiber that helps to prolong satiety, reducing food intake throughout the day.
Furthermore, watercress is low in fat and calories, making it a great option to include in weight loss diets.
Nutrition Facts Table
The following table provides nutritional information for 100 g, equivalent to 3 cups, of chopped raw watercress:
100g (3 cups) of raw watercress
|2, 7 g|
|0, 2 g|
|2, 3 g|
Lutein + Zeaxanthin
It is important to remember that the benefits of watercress are achieved mainly when maintaining a balanced diet associated with regular physical exercise.
How to consume
Watercress can be consumed raw, in salads, spreads and juices, or cooked, used in preparations such as stews, stews, soups, omelets and rice.
The cooked form of watercress contains higher carotenoid content when compared to the raw version. However, antioxidant compounds such as glucosinolates and flavonoids are usually lost during prolonged cooking of watercress, so you should avoid cooking this vegetable for too long.
Watercress can also be used in home treatments for expectoration or cough for the preparation of teas and syrups:
- Watercress syrup: in a pan, place 250 ml of pure watercress juice, blended in a blender with 1 cup of bee honey and boil over low heat, until have a viscous texture. After cooling, add 5 drops of propolis. Take 1 tablespoon of this syrup, 3 times a day, until the expectoration improves;
- Watercress tea: Add 1/2 cup of chopped watercress leaves and stems in 150 ml of boiling water, cover and let the mixture rest for 5 to 10 minutes minutes.Strain, sweeten with 1 tablespoon of honey and drink 2 to 3 cups of this tea a day, until coughing and expectoration improve.
The watercress can also be used in the preparation of a homemade syrup with turnip, pineapple and beetroot, being indicated to reduce the symptoms of bronchitis and cough. See how to use watercress to help treat bronchitis.
Who cannot consume
Excessive watercress consumption can increase the risk of miscarriage and, therefore, pregnant women should not consume this vegetable in the form of teas or syrups.
Furthermore, watercress can interfere with the action of some medications, such as warfarin, lithium and chlorzoxazone and, therefore, it is recommended to consume this vegetable only under the guidance of a doctor.
He althy watercress recipes
Some he althy recipes with watercress include watercress juice, salads and stir-fries.
1. Watercress juice
- 2 watercress stalks;
- 200 ml of orange juice;
- 5 drops of propolis.
Wash the watercress stalks well. Mix all ingredients in a blender and drink up to three times a day.
2. Watercress Salad
- ½ bunch of watercress;
- ½ red onion;
- 1 Italian tomato;
- 1 pinch of s alt;
- Black pepper to taste;
- 1 coffee spoon of lemon juice;
- 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
Wash the watercress leaves well, dry and place on a plate. Chop the onion into thin slices and add to the watercress. Cut the tomato into cubes and transfer to the platter. Season the salad with olive oil, s alt, pepper, lemon juice and s alt. Mix well and serve.
3. Sauteed watercress
- 1 bunch of watercress;
- ½ small onion, chopped;
- 1 minced garlic clove;
- 1 chopped tomato;
- 1 teaspoon of s alt;
- 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
Wash well and dry the watercress leaves. In a pan, heat the oil and sauté the onion and garlic over medium heat for 3 minutes. Add the watercress and stir, with a spoon, until the leaves wither. Add the tomato and s alt, let it cook for another 3 minutes, and serve.
4. Ricotta and watercress pate
- ½ bunch of watercress (chopped leaves only);
- ½ cup cup of curd;
- 150 g fresh ricotta;
- ½ onion;
- Black pepper to taste;
- 2 cloves of garlic;
- juice of ½ lemon.
Wash well and dry the watercress leaves. Chop the onion and garlic into cubes. Place in a food processor and blend until finely chopped. Add the watercress leaves and lemon juice and beat a little more until smooth. Add the ricotta and beat a little more in the processor. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and add the curd and black pepper, mixing well with a spoon. Serve with toast or bread.