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Where does The Watercress come from?

The term “watercress” first appears in 1130. It is derived from the French word kresso, which meaning crawling.
Alénois is a misspelling of “Orlénois,” a term derived from Orleans, the place where this plant was originally grown. It first arose in French in the 13th century and is exclusively used in the phrase “cresson alénois.”
However, the term “watercress” is also used to refer to numerous other plants in the Brassicaceae family that belong to other botanical genera, most notably Barbarea and Cardamine. The fleshy stems and bigger or smaller leaves of these plants are tasty. Watercress (Nasturtium officinale) is, by far, the most popular plant.
It's unclear where the garden cress comes from. Some mention Ethiopia, while others mention West Asia. However, it is thought that people have ingested it for a very long time. It was known and valued by Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans. They also gave it a wide range of therapeutic characteristics. It swiftly spread throughout Europe and the rest of the world.
It is commonly grown in gardens, but it is seldom planted on a big scale, therefore it can only be seen on the market on rare occasions. There are a variety of varieties and cultivars, including a curled leaf type and a broadleaf type.
Little is known about the watercress's origins, other that it grows wild throughout a broad range spanning Europe to Central Asia in its natural environment – rushing waterways, streams, springs, and ditches. It has also become naturalized in a number of other countries, including the United States and Canada. It is said to be one of the earliest green vegetables eaten.
We began enhancing european's natural environment in the 13th century in order to improve productivity. Its own culture would not emerge until the eighteenth century, in Germany. It is especially popular in the United Kingdom, where it has been used as a depurative since the 17th century. The spring watercress treatment is still popular in this nation.

What are the caloric and nutritional values of watercress?

Watercress is a cruciferous vegetable that comes in a leafy form. It includes sulfur compounds that have health-promoting properties. Vitamins, minerals, trace elements, and fiber are all abundant in it.
Watercress is mostly made up of water (over 93 percent ). As a result, it supplies extremely little calories.
It's one of the best sources of vitamin C, provitamin A, and vitamin B9 (folic acid) among fresh vegetables. Other B vitamins, as well as vitamin E and vitamin K, are included.
It includes antioxidants, particularly carotenoids such as beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin, as well as minerals and trace elements (potassium, calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc).
It includes sulfur compounds, which, like all crucifers, may have health benefits, particularly when it comes to cancer. It also has a greater amount of sulfur compounds than other vegetables in this family.
It has a considerable amount of fibers. There are as many insoluble fibers (celluloses and hemicelluloses) as there are soluble fibers in them (mainly pectins).
Nutritional and caloric values ​​of 100 g of watercress:

Name of constituentsUnityAverage content
Dietary fiberg1.1
Saturated FA(fat acid)g0.023
Monounsaturated FAg0.239
Polyunsaturated FAsg0.228
Total ironmg1.3
Beta caroteneµg4150
Vitamin Dµg0
Vitamin E activity (alpha-tocopherol)mg0.7
Vitamin Cmg69
Vitamin B1 or Thiaminemg0.08
Vitamin B2 or Riboflavinmg0.26
Vitamin B3 or PP or Niacinmg0.4766
Vitamin B5 or Pantothenic acidmg0.242
Vitamin B6 or Pyridoxinemg0.247
Vitamin B9 or Total Folateµg80
Vitamin Kµg541.9

Watercress has a lot of advantages.

Watercress is a powerful health ally thanks to its high antioxidant, vitamin, and mineral content. It offers several benefits, including cancer prevention, eye health, digestive health, and so forth.
Watercress (Nasturtium officinale) is a member of the Brassicaceae family of plants. This edible plant, sometimes known as “cress,” or “watercress,” is not to be confused with other watercress kinds. Cress producers cultivate it, and it's utilized in both herbal medicine and cooking.
Because of its nutritional richness, the medicinal watercress is highly beneficial to one's health: it is particularly high in iron, vitamins B6 and C, calcium, but also zinc, magnesium, and sodium. Sulfur derivatives (far more than cabbage), fibers, carbs, proteins, and carbohydrates are all present in lower amounts.
Because of its nutritious richness, it would be a pity to deny oneself of watercress. It has several health advantages, including:
It has an anti-cancer effect; it boosts good humor and a sense of well-being; it gives energy; it prevents scurvy; it reduces anemia and facilitates digestion; it contributes to the proper functioning of the immune system and the liver; it helps fight bacterial and viral infections; it prevents winter illnesses like colds, rhinitis, and flu; it promotes hair growth; it relieves coughs, rhinitis, and flu; it relieves cough
Watercress is sometimes related with chlorella, an algae that aids in the elimination of heavy metals from the body, which can have disastrous effects on health.
Every day, the National Health Nutrition Program suggests eating at least 5 servings (of at least 80 g) of fruits or vegetables. One serving of veggies is equal to a huge handful of watercress.
The body has a hard time absorbing calcium from veggies. Watercress has a high bioavailability, which means it may be used by human bodies. Watercress has a calcium absorption rate of around 67 percent, while spinach only has a 5 percent absorption rate.
Vitamins, antioxidant chemicals, and fibre found in fruits and vegetables all help to keep your health in check. A high intake of vegetables and fruits has been demonstrated in several studies to lower the risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer, and other chronic illnesses.
Studies have also indicated that eating cruciferous vegetables like watercress on a regular basis can help prevent malignancies of the lungs, ovaries, and kidneys. The qualities of the sulfur compounds found in these vegetables are thought to be responsible for this protective effect.
Finally, consuming lutein and zeaxanthin-rich foods (watercress, Brussels sprouts, spinach, broccoli) reduces the risk of macular degeneration (ocular pathology).
Watercress is best eaten raw, lightly cooked in a small quantity of water, or sautéed in a skillet because cooking results in a considerable loss of glucosinolates and vitamins due to the cooking water and heat.
As a result, the vegetable will maintain all of its advantages.

Cancer and watercress

Isothiocyanates, which are rich in watercress, aid to prevent cancer from developing. They would be especially useful in preventing lung cancer in smokers, since they would block the activity of a carcinogenic chemical found in cigarette smoke. Watercress in the form of an extract (watercress juice) would similarly stop cells from developing colorectal cancer. Raw watercress (85 g or approximately 2 12 cups) has been shown to have anticancer properties by lowering the damage caused to lymphocyte DNA.

Health of the eyes

Several studies have found that eating lutein and zeaxanthin on a daily basis reduces the risk of macular degeneration, cataracts, and retinitis pigmentosa. These two carotenoids, which are rich in watercress, concentrate in the macula and retina of the eye, protecting it from oxidative stress.

Antioxidant strength

Carotenoids and flavonoids are the principal antioxidant chemicals found in watercress. They can be found in various amounts in both garden cress and watercress. The antioxidants in watercress protect the body's cells from free radical damage and are thought to help against cardiovascular disease, some malignancies, and other aging-related disorders. Several in vitro and animal studies, as well as epidemiological studies, demonstrate that eating foods high in carotenoids lowers the chance of getting certain forms of cancer, developing cardiovascular disorders, and developing cardiovascular diseases.
a protective action against hypertension of the arteries Furthermore, certain carotenoids are vitamin A precursors (that is, the body converts them into vitamin A, as needed).
Beta-carotene is very abundant in watercress. Watercress has twice as much of this carotenoid as raw watercress (1 cup or 250 ml). The carrot, which is considered one of the richest sources of this carotenoid, has twice as much as the garden cress. Beta-carotene may increase various immune system activities and is linked to cancer prevention due to its antioxidant properties.
A high intake of beta-carotene may also help to prevent the onset of cardiovascular disease. However, while the use of beta-carotene supplements has yet to provide definitive results, foods containing beta-carotene should be preferred because they include a variety of other nutrients that may add to health advantages.
Garden cress is also high in the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin. Raw watercress (1 cup or 250 ml) has 3 times the amount of carotenoids as watercress and around 2 times the amount of carotenoids as raw spinach. These substances may aid in the prevention of malignancies such as breast and lung tumors, as well as cardiovascular disease. Studies on cardiovascular health, on the other hand, are still scarce and occasionally inconsistent.
Finally, flavonols, such as kaempferol and quercetin, are the most abundant flavonoids in watercress. Watercress is in second place for kaempferol content, after kale, which has twice as much, but ahead of chives, raw broccoli, and chicory. Watercress has a lower kaempferol content than garden cress, but it does have quercetin. It has around three times less quercetin than onion, which is one of the most common sources of quercetin in the diet.

Content of glucosinolates

Glucosinolates are found in watercress, as they are in other cruciferous plants. It would include more than broccoli, cauliflower, and many cabbage kinds (white, red, Savoy cabbage and bok choy). Garden cress has roughly four times the amount of watercress, however the amount varies depending on the location (sun exposure, temperature). When food containing glucosinolates is diced, chewed, or comes into touch with the gut bacterial flora, they can change into active molecules (isothiocyanates). Several of these compounds have been shown to help prevent the spread of certain malignancies.

Watercress seeds are a nutritious item to try.

Garden cress seeds can be eaten whole. They are used in a variety of Indian culinary recipes. They are said to have diuretic, anti-diarrheal, tonic, and… aphrodisiac characteristics by the Indians. They are also thought to be beneficial in the treatment of hiccups.
Protein and important fatty acids, mostly in the form of omega-3, are found in some portions of the grain, such as the endosperm and bran (linolenic acid). Potassium, calcium, phosphorus, and iron are among the minerals found in watercress seeds.
The amount of insoluble fiber in their products is exceptionally high. Garden cress seeds have such high nutritional value that some experts believe they might be economically exploited as a functional component.

Calcium source

Calcium is found in modest levels in watercress (44 mg per 250 ml or 1 cup serving). It's worth noting, however, that this calcium is bioavailable, meaning that a significant percentage of it may be absorbed and utilised by the body. Watercress has a 67 percent calcium absorption rate, compared to 32 percent for milk and 5 percent for spinach. Because a 250 mL portion of milk provides 315 mg of calcium, it remains the most important source of calcium in the diet. Although milk has three times the amount of useable calcium as watercress, using it in a well-balanced meal is an intriguing method to boost your daily calcium intake.

How to prepare watercress

Watercress can be eaten in a variety of ways, including salads, smoothies with other fruits and vegetables, soups, and more. It's a wonderful addition to fish or meat when cooked like any other leafy vegetable. Watercress may also be used to make herbal tea when dried. It is a dietetic item that should be consumed on a regular basis: two 100 g pieces of fresh watercress per week are advised to get the various advantages.
As a salad, on its own or in combination with other seasonal vegetables. Grind mustard seeds (and, if feasible, watercress seeds) with red, black, and white peppercorns for a unique salad. To prepare the dressing, whisk together the oil, vinegar, or lemon juice; pour into the soup. In butter or olive oil, sauté the leek and potatoes. Cook for 20 minutes with vegetable or chicken broth. Add a handful of watercress and a dollop of cream, if preferred. Toss everything into a blender. This soup is served hot in the winter and cold in the summer; substitutions include squash, Jerusalem artichokes, parsnips, and other root vegetables. Tuna, salmon, shrimp, or any other fish can be added to the soup. Warm for a few minutes before serving.
As a topping for sandwiches or hard-boiled eggs with mayonnaise;
Soufflés, quiches, and pies;
Chop it and mix it into the mashed potatoes;
To complement meat or fish, in sauce. Watercress, olive oil or other oil of choice, lemon juice, and garlic should all be combined. Other herbs can be used if desired.
To season pasta, potatoes, rice, and other dishes as a pesto (watercress, fresh basil, olive oil, and grated Parmesan). Add spinach and arugula leaves for a more refined pesto.
Watercress, pear, and melon in shakes; watercress, apple, and kiwi in smoothies; watercress, blueberries, and pineapple in smoothies;
Stuff it into a chicken;
Dip it in yogurt, avocado, tomato, cumin, and coriander. Blanch the watercress for 1 minute in boiling water, then chill before combining it with the remaining ingredients in a blender.
It was customary in England to eat a leaf or two between two services to cleanse the palette.
Stir-fried foods in Chinese style;
marinated in Japanese sauce Blanch the watercress in boiling water for 1 or 2 minutes, then drain and chill. Squeeze off excess water before marinating for 30 minutes in a combination of dashi or another broth, soy sauce, and mirin. In a skillet, combine sesame seeds or dry roasted pine nuts with the broth. Alternatively, just drizzle sesame oil over the blanched watercress.

Contraindications and allergies to watercress

Picking wild watercress is strictly prohibited since the plant can acquire toxic quantities of environmental toxins or get tainted with germs that cause liver illness.
Watercress is not advised for pregnant women, especially during the first few months of pregnancy. It is therefore preferable to obtain medical advice before taking watercress.
Aside from this specific example, there are no additional contraindications to eating watercress.
Some people may develop negative effects after consuming watercress, particularly in the urinary and digestive systems. If you quit eating this vegetable, the symptoms will go away. A consultation permits the doctor's opinion to be acquired if there is even the smallest question.
Watercress certified “Watercress” should be purchased because wild aquatic watercress is likely to have a parasite called “The Great Fluke” that is implanted in the human hepato-biliary system and animal.

Watercress is not for everyone, despite its health benefits. In fact, its use is strictly forbidden in some circumstances, such as anticoagulant therapy or oxalocalcium lithiasis.
**Is there a relationship between this and thyroid cancer?
Thioglucosides are naturally found in crucifers, especially watercress. These compounds were thought to be associated with thyroid cancer in animals. However, research including over 5,000 people from various countries have found that a high intake of cruciferous vegetables is not connected with an increased risk of thyroid cancer.
**Anticoagulants and vitamin K
Watercress, particularly the alenois type, is high in vitamin K, which is required for blood clotting among other things. People who use anticoagulant drugs (such as Coumadin®, Warfilone®, and Sintrom®, among others) should consume a diet with a rather steady vitamin K level from day to day. Watercress is one of the foods (together with asparagus, Swiss chard, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, spinach, and others) that should be consumed in moderation. People on anticoagulant medication are highly encouraged to visit a dietitian-nutritionist or a doctor to learn about dietary sources of vitamin K and to maintain a consistent daily dose.
**Enteric hyperoxaluria and oxalocalcium lithiasis
People who are at risk for urolithiasis (oxalate and calcium kidney stones, often known as kidney stones) should restrict their intake of oxalate-rich foods. The same advice is given to those who have enteric hyperoxaluria as a result of intestinal problems such as inflammatory diseases of the small intestine (celiac disease, Crohn's disease). Watercress is rich in oxalates, which are naturally found in many meals. As a result, it is advised that these folks refrain from ingesting it.
**Wild watercress contamination
Watercress, particularly wild-harvested watercress, can be infected with liver fluke, also known as Fasciola hepatica. This is a severe parasite that causes fascioliasis or distomatosis of the liver. Cases of contamination caused by the intake of wild watercress, and less frequently raw commercial watercress, have been recorded in the scientific literature , it is believed that roughly 300 individuals become sick each year after eating raw wild watercress.


Choosing the right watercress

Watercress, like cabbage, turnip, and radish, is a vegetable plant of the Brassicaceae family. Although its origins are unknown, it has been consumed for thousands of years. It is available on the stalls in France between September and May, which is the best time to consume it.
To select a bunch of watercress, look first and primarily at its leaves. These should be brightly colored, firm, and devoid of stains and bruises. We recommend using watercress cultivated in France and from organic farming wherever possible.
Fresh watercress only lasts a few days in the refrigerator, at most three. Its leaves may wilt after that. It may be kept in an airtight container and refrigerated for a few days after it has been prepared. Watercress that has been blanched can be frozen for a few months.