Ever wondered whether there was one food that had it all? Here is the answer. A recent international study has concluded that watercress is the world’s healthiest superfood. The dark green salad leaf has emerged with a full-blown nutrient density score of 100 and as such is the most nutritional veggie today.
The study’s results reported by the US-based Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has suddenly put the spotlight on watercress, with nutritionists around the world talking about its wonders.
So why is watercress a powerhouse veggie?
Watercress is a leafy vegetable with a peppery, tangy flavour. It is a good source of iron, calcium, potassium, vitamins A, K and C and also phytochemicals and antioxidants which provide protection against heart disease, cancer and other degenerative conditions.”
It is also beneficial in treating cough, bronchitis and constipation and improves general appetite and digestion. “It is very low in calories - 11 Kcals/100gm – and hence can be incorporated in a weight loss diet plan by piling it into sandwiches, tossing into salads or using it in soups, sauces, pastas or stir fries.”
Known to exist for centuries, watercress was an extensively used medicinal herb and food in the Middle Ages. Anita Apel, dietician with Organic Foods & Café, said: “Watercress contains 93.5 per cent water, besides mustard glycoside, essential oils, bitter substances, flavonoids and a high amount of vitamin C, so it was earlier used to treat scurvy. Nowadays, it is used in spring cures. It improves metabolism, purifies blood, promotes gastric juice and bile production. In folk medicine, watercress was used for treating metabolic disorders, debility, skin diseases, cough, rheumatism, gout, liver disease, stomach and intestinal problems, as well as bladder and kidney diseases. But it should not be taken excessively, as it may cause slight irritation of the gastric mucosa and the kidney. It is not recommended for pregnant women and children below four.”
As an advocate for vegetarianism, MEVeg Founder Sandhya Prakash also swears by watercress. “If you are a vegetarian looking for a good source of iron, include watercress in your diet along with bran flakes, spinach, muesli, chick peas, red and green lentils, dried fruits, nuts etc.”