The health benefits of watercress are providing nutrition, boosting immunity, cancer preventive, and thyroid support. These health benefits begin with a single serving of watercress as a dietary supplement. Watercress is a cruciferous plant grown for centuries as a mineral rich green leafy vegetable. A brassica family member of plant genus, Watercress has the health benefits of other brassica’s. This health benefit is obtained from the high content of vitamins and minerals and the antioxidant properties of the phyto chemical structure of watercress plant. Weight for weight, watercress contains more vitamin C than an orange, more calcium than milk, more iron than spinach and more folate than bananas. Each phyto nutrient is where the health benefits of watercress are contained. These phyto nutrients and their benefits will now be discussed. Watercress contains vitamin A, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, iron, magnesium, calcium, phosphorus which are all required for a healthy body. Here are some amazing benefits of watercress.
Watercress as Anti-carcinogenic
Breast Cancer: Watercress has such effective cancer preventive phytonutrient that even eating a single salad shows increase of molecules into the body’s circulatory system that may prevent and stop the recurrence of breast cancer. Based on a study those who ate at least 80 grams of watercress on a daily basis were shown to have beneficial results. Another study on the anti carcinogenic abilities of watercress showed great benefit when added to the diet as a cancer preventive for stomach and lung cancer as well as breast cancer.
Watercress is a member of the brassica family of cruciferous vegetable which has shown beneficial effect in thyroid health. Watercress like other brassica’s may work by reducing thyroid hormone production and are most beneficial when eaten raw. Water cress may also lightly steamed so not to lose nutritional value.
In addition to the nutrient content of watercress many secondary metabolites that may help lower risk of many chronic diseases. Cruciferous plants like watercress are shown to be beneficial in lowering LDL-Cholesterol which reduces risk of cardiovascular diseases such as arteriosclerosis and other chronic heart disease. Watercress contains vitamin C which works as an antioxidant and help in reducing heart tissue damage caused by oxidative stress. Vitamin C is active in the process of embryonic cells developing into cardiac myocyctes and improving heart health.
Studies show that inclusion of calcium rich food such as watercress works in reducing risk of osteoporosis. Calcium works in repairing and building bone by effecting the increase in the production of osteoblasts, the cells responsible for this beneficial activity. This benefit of calcium is essential for the aging population though the youthful population may also benefit if their lifestyle sedentary which promotes bone density loss. Watercress is also a good source of folate which plays a direct role as an interactive nutrient in maintaining bone density. Post-menopausal women may have benefit from folate in their diet as a preventive against osteoporosis.
Low folate levels may cause by lack of dietary intake or excess alcohol intake. A meta-analysis of 19 studies, inclusive of 15,315 participants, showed that low folate level increases risk of depression. Folate works with the neurotransmitters pathways of the central nervous system effecting production of such neurochemical such as serotonin. With depression affecting a significant percentage of the world populations the addition of foods with high folate content such as watercress is an important dietary supplement in reducing risk of this chronic disease.
Watercress is a beneficial food that is a strong preventive medicine when eaten daily. Doing so effects many body systems, repairs cellular damage, and prevents cardiovascular, cancer and thyroid imbalance with the nutritional value it imparts. The nutrients in watercress are also beneficial to women in the post menopausal years to improve cognition and reduce risk of osteoporosis. Water cress could be consumed by those wanting to prevent as well as treat these types of conditions and is recommended as a powerful super food.