Watercress is a leafy green food source that is a close cousin to mustard greens, cabbage, and arugula. Watercress has been cultivated in Europe and Central Asia for thousands of years for use as both food and a medicine. Watercress earned its reputation as a healing herb around 400BC when Hippocrates located the first hospital close to a stream to ensure that fresh watercress was readily available for treating patients. It is nutrient rich and full of health promoting benefits.
Watercress has been found to contain 15 essential vitamins and minerals; more iron than spinach, more calcium than milk, and more vitamin C than oranges.
Here are some other benefits of consuming Watercress:
- Watercress ranks as the most nutrient-rich vegetable.
- Loaded with phytonutrients and antioxidants that are disease preventative properties, one of which is gluconasturtiin, a glucosinolate compound providing the peppery flavor, shown to inhibit carcinogens.
- Vitamin K is by far the most prominent nutrient in watercress, with 312% of the daily recommended value. It forms and strengthens the bones and limits neuronal damage in the brain, which is helpful in treating Alzheimer's disease.
- There's also a plethora of vitamin C, and vitamin A, also known as retinol, which is essential for a properly functioning immune system and produces pigments in the retina of the eye, an absence of which can cause night blindness.
- Watercress is high in manganese, calcium, lutein, B-complex vitamins, folate and iron.
- Eating watercress daily has the ability to significantly reduce DNA damage to blood cells and further to resist DNA damage caused by free radicals, according to a two-year research project at the University of Ulster.
Baked Cod and Watercress
- 250g cod
- 100g watercress
- 2 cloves of garlic, peeled
- 1 green chilli, chopped
- 2-4 slices of Parma ham or nitrate/nitrite free ham
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 150g brown rice
- 1 small red onion, diced
- 100g sundried tomatoes, chopped
- 100g black olives, stoned and chopped
- Black pepper
Cod is a great source of omega 3 fatty acids, vitamins B12 and B6 and niacin – all extremely good for assisting the heart and blood vessels. This added to the phytochemicals in the watercress mean you get a tasty meal that’s incredibly good for your heart. By serving on a bed of brown rice this meal provides plenty of energy to boot.
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Take the cod and pile 25g of the watercress along the top of the two fillets (reserving the other 75g for later) along with the chilli and garlic.
Carefully wrap the cod and its topping in the slices of Parma ham. Place on a baking tray and sprinkle with the olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Bake for 15 minutes or until the cod is cooked through.
Mix the stock cube in with 360ml boiling water. Add the brown rice, stir and leave to simmer for 15- 20 mins until the water is all absorbed and the rice cooked. Add the onion, tomato and olives to a hot pan and lightly sauté.
Once the rice is cooked, add to the pan and mix together, adding
pepper to taste. Spoon some of the brown rice mixture onto a plate. Place the remaining watercress on top. Remove the cod from the oven and place on top.
Be Nutritious and enjoy!
Contributed by Carmen Deacetis
Carmen Deacetis is a certified Holistic Nutritionist, Personal Trainer, and co-owner of FitFX www.fitfx.ca.
*recipe provided by watercress.co.uk