If you’ve already seen the many blogs and recipes written by our Wellbeing Sisters in-house nutritionist Mel Brown, then you’ll know that in her eyes watercress is king! But just exactly why is watercress so good for you?
Watercress packs a punch with its high vitamin and mineral content, and is full of folate, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, calcium, and iron. It’s also a rich source of antioxidants including beta-carotene, lutein and quercetin which boost eye health, slow skin ageing, and help to protect the body against DNA damage. The isothiocyanates (natural chemical compounds) in watercress additionally help to fight breast and colon cancers – certainly making it worthy of its royal title!
Not only is watercress fantastic for our bodily functions, but it can actually benefit our mental health too. A study by the World Journal of Psychiatry on nutrient-dense foods and the role that they play in the prevention and recovery of depressive disorders, indicated that the nutrients found in watercress such as folate, magnesium, potassium, selenium, and zinc made it hugely successful as an antidepressant.
If the idea of watercress as a plain old side or salad isn’t doing it for you, then why not try these 5 super-easy, quick, and delicious recipes to make sure you get your health-boosting fix?
WATERCRESS, PINEAPPLE, BLUEBERRY & MANGO SMOOTHIE
50g fresh or frozen mango
50g fresh or frozen pineapple
50g fresh or frozen blueberries
Place all ingredients into your blender and blend until completely smooth (takes around 2 minutes).
MEL’ S WATERCRESS DRESSING
A generous dollop of mayonnaise
A glug of extra virgin olive oil
A large handful of watercress
Juice of half a lemon
2 peeled garlic cloves
Place all ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth (takes around 5 minutes).
WATERCRESS, COURGETTE & PEA SOUP
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
1 courgette, roughly chopped
200g frozen peas
1 bag of watercress
1/2 bag of rocket
500ml chicken or vegetable stock
Salt and black pepper to taste
Place a large saucepan on a medium heat, add your oil, onion, and garlic and cook gently until soft but not brown.
Add the courgette and cook until lightly browned, add your peas and stock, then simmer for around 5 minutes.
Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the watercress and rocket. Use a hand blender or liquidiser to blend your soup until smooth (or to your preferred consistency) and season with salt and black pepper to taste.
1 bunch of watercress
1 peeled clove of garlic
1 tbsp toasted walnuts
50–75ml extra virgin olive oil
50g finely grated parmesan cheese or nutritional yeast
Salt and black pepper to taste
Place the watercress, garlic and walnuts into a blender and blend until they start to form a purée.
Add 50ml of the olive oil and the parmesan or nutritional yeast and blend until it resembles pesto – you may need to add more olive oil to reach your desired consistency.
Season to taste and enjoy with the dish of your choice!
MEL’S ‘EGG AND SPERM’ SALAD
Check out our previous recipe post for Mel’s nutrient-packed egg and sperm salad here.
LaChance L R and Ramsey D, ‘Antidepressant foods: An evidence-based nutrient profiling system for depression’, World Journal of Psychiatry, volume 8(3),(September 2018 ), pages 97–104. Available online: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6147775/