Love Your Leaves - Watercress
Love your leaves – Watercress Watercress is a remarkable leaf with amazing nutritional benefits. According to the watercress website, it was eaten in ancient times and one Persian chronicler even recommend it be eaten by children and soldiers to make them strong and healthy.
As part of the mustard family, its peppery flavour gives salads and sandwiches a real kick. But as well as being really flavoursome, it has huge amounts vitamin K which is good for bones, and vitamin A. It also has high levels of glucosinolate which can fight cancer and flavonoid antioxidants which protect cells. According to a report in the Daily Mail, watercress is actually a better source of Vitamins B, C, K and E, iron, potassium, copper, magnesium and zinc than apples, broccoli and tomatoes. It even has more calcium than milk, making it great for protecting bones against osteoporosis!
There has even been some research that shows eating watercress regularly can significantly improve the appearance of your skin – even wrinkles. The participants in a study, reported in the Daily Mail, ate 80g of watercress a day for four weeks. In that time 8 out of 11 saw the texture of their skin improve whilst 7 out of 11 saw their wrinkles fade and 9 out of 11 saw their pores reduce in size.
There has also been research at the University of New Jersey which has looked into which fruit and vegetable pack the biggest nutritional punch. They tested 47 different fruit and vegetables and compared them in relation to 17 key nutrients necessary for good health. They then scored each item based on the how much of a person’s daily requirement for that nutrient it provided. And in the top spot was … watercress, achieving a top score of 100!
So what tasty recipes might tempt to you to try watercress this week? How about
- A classic combination of egg with watercress, how about this salad which also includes asparagus and new potatoes http://metro.co.uk/2014/05/01/how-to-make-egg-and-watercress-salad-4714385/
- For a more filling, meaty, salad how about combining bacon with watercress and pasta http://www.sainsburys-live-well-for-less.co.uk/recipes-inspiration/recipes/pasta,-bacon-watercress-salad/
- Mix watercress with rocket and strawberries for a zingy, fresh salad http://www.prevention.com/food/cook/20-low-calorie-salads-wont-leave-you-hungry/summer-greens-and-strawberries-poppy-seed-dressing
- Another fresh and fruity salad is this one using grapefruit and watercress http://www.marthastewart.com/334885/grapefruit-and-watercress-salad#Watercress%20Recipes|/275524/watercress-recipes/@center/1009726/spring-produce|334885
- Full of colour, why not try this rainbow salad http://watercress.co.uk/recipe/the-ultimate-watercress-rainbow-salad/
- Finally a really simple, crunchy salad with cucumber and radish. http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/2416/crunchy-watercress-cucumber-and-radish-salad
And don’t forget to pop a bit of watercress into your sandwiches this week to pep-up the taste and the nutritional content. Let me know what you think on my Facebook page and come back next week when we look at Popeye’s favourite - spinach.