Top 5 Health Benefits of Watercress!

OK, so they might just look like bits of grass, however they are actually superfoods with a high nutritional value and have various benefits and uses. Curious to know why? Then read on to discover the Top 5 Health Benefits of Watercress!

1. Bone health:
Watercress has a high calcium content which is needed for the formation and maintenance of strong, healthy bones. This is good news for those who are vegetarian and those who are living a vegan lifestyle, as they may sometimes struggle to meet the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA), which is 700mg a day.  A 100g portion of watercress contains approximately 120mg of calcium.

2. Cardiovascular health:

Watercress possesses a significant amount of secondary metabolites that can help lower the risk of chronic heart diseases, atherosclerosis and hypertension. Watercress has been shown to help reduce levels of high cholesterol in the bloodstream, increasing the body’s ability to absorb nutrients and water. Watercress also has a high antioxidant content which helps reduce heart tissue damage caused by stress.

3. Cognitive function:
As we age, we may start to notice a decrease in our ability to focus. Watercress has been proven to help prevent cognitive decline. This is thought to be due to the high antioxidant content. This can help prevent diseases such as Alzheimer’s and dementia. It has also been suggested that those who have lower levels of Vitamin C are more susceptible to suffer from longer term damage following any head injury.

4. High level of folate:

Folate is a vital mineral that we need for the processing of calcium in the body. It is also important for pregnant women as it helps prevent birth defects of the foetus and the bone development of infants. Folate also plays an important role in the prevention of stroke, breast cancer and osteoporosis. Typically,  100g of watercress contains 9 micrograms (mcg) of folate.

5. Thyroid health:
A lot of people are confused about why thyroid health is important. Watercress is an excellent source of iodine, which is needed in the regulation of thyroid hormones. Without this, we would experience unexpected cold-like symptoms, fatigue and weight gain. An 80g portion of watercress contributes 8% of your RDA.

Watercress is widely available everywhere and can also be purchased in supermarkets in seed form so you can sprout it at home yourself. Use it to decorate your lunch or dinner dish, pop it into a sandwich or add it to your salad.  It can be added into a range of cooked foods, such as omelettes and stews and go well with certain smoothie combinations. If you are looking to perhaps try something new or different, definitely give this a whirl!  Got a watercress recipe? Tell us below or @keepfitkingdom ! 

Francesca Gregori

Franki is a nutrition student currently undergoing her second year at Bournemouth University. Originally from London, she has a passion for anything health, food and well-being related; she enjoys reading, baking and experimenting with different recipes. In addition to trying out new exercises and workouts in the gym, she loves to read up on recent topics in the nutrition field and walks along the coastline.

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