Watercress has been hitting the headlines lately, and this is due to more and more people realizing that, in addition to being able to add a fresh and peppery flavor to just about any meal, this vegetable brings with it some incredible health benefits. What makes this leafy green even more convenient is the fact that it can easily be grown at home in a small container, meaning that you can enjoy its many nutrients at their most freshest.
The Health Benefits of Watercress
One of the most revered benefits of watercress is its role when it comes to cancer prevention, and this is largely due to the way in which it is able to increase the level of antioxidants in the blood, while protecting DNA from damage. Recent studies have been showing that watercress is likely able to significantly lower the risk of many cancers, from breast to colon to prostate, while also preventing existing cancers from spreading. Watercress also contains high levels of vitamin A and K, both of which are important for the health and strength of the bones, as well as for eye health. If all this is not enough to convince you about the wonders of watercress, this ingredient can also lower blood pressure, lower cholesterol, minimize the risk of heart attacks, help to manage diabetes, and give the skin a gorgeous glow.
Growing Watercress at Home
Growing watercress in a container is easy to do, with the secret to success being found in this vegetable’s name. Watercress needs plenty of water, meaning that the soil should always feel slightly damp to the touch, but never too wet, and it also thrives when it receives plenty of sunlight throughout the day. You can use any container to grow watercress, as long as you are able to poke some holes through the bottom for drainage. Fill your container with damp compost and sprinkle watercress seeds over the surface, pressing them into the soil gently. Cover the container until the seeds germinate, and then place them in the sunlight. About four weeks later, you will have a container full of fresh watercress, which can be simply trimmed with scissors when you want to eat it, after which it will grow back even bigger and bushier.
Cooking with Watercress
For those who find the peppery taste of watercress too strong, which comes from the mustard oil that the plant contains, use younger leaves whenever possible, as these will be much milder. This is an easy ingredient to use in your food, with both the leaves and the stems being edible. Watercress can replace lettuce in just about everything, be it a sandwich or a salad, and can also be used as a nutritious garnish on just about any dish. Watercress can also be cooked, be it stir fried, steamed or wilted, meaning that you can easily make it the star of your meal.
With so many different health benefits to watercress now being discovered, this ingredient could definitely be considered a superfood. In addition to being so good for the body, watercress is also incredibly tasty and easy to grow, giving you no excuse to not be consuming plenty more of this nutrient-dense leafy green.