This cruciferous vegetable isn’t something that you would always think to add to your diet, but studies show that you should make the effort since increased intake can reduce the risk of cancers, especially breast and prostate varieties.
"Daily consumption of watercress resulted in a significant decrease in lymphocyte (white blood cell) DNA damage, which is an important event in cancer development," explains Dr Perricone. "Watercress is a rich source of glucosinolate-derivatives, which show a range of anti-cancer activities. In one study, when smokers ate watercress with each meal for three days, the activation of a key carcinogen in tobacco was inhibited."
Dr. Perricone also says it's vital for skin and eye health. "Watercress is a good source of key nutrients and carotenoids, such as lutein and beta-carotene, associated with the maintenance of eye and skin health. Watercress is also rich in vitamin A and vitamin C, and a source of folate, calcium, iron, and vitamin E. It contains a variety of phytochemicals, including glucosinolates, lutein, flavonoids, and hydroxycinammic acids and is recommended by the Department of Health to help reduce the risk of many chronic diseases."
Can it also help you watch your waistline? Absolutely. "As a low calorie vegetable, watercress may play a role in weight management. And, 85% of watercress’ caloric intake is protein — an extremely high ratio," says Perricone.
Illustrations by Gabriela Alford