Already in the 16th century, watercress was known for its medicinal virtues before shyly entering thefood.
Then, in the 19th century, the cultivation of this leaf vegetable has emerged and now its dark green leaves are harvested by hand.
In France, this plant which grows bathed in spring water is mainly cultivated in the departments of Seine-Maritime and Essonne, exists in several varieties.
In India, the medicinal properties which are attributed to its seeds are of order antidiarrhoeal, diuretic, tonic and even aphrodisiac.
Watercress is a herbaceous plant, originally from the Middle East.
What exactly is it?
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Health Benefits of Watercress
> On the therapeutic level:
Possessing antioxidant virtues, watercress is said to have a positive effect on the health of theeye. It would also prevent the appearance of certain types of cancers.
What exactly is it?
Indeed, research has shown that the watercress and garden cress are mainly composed of flavonoids and of carotenoids, but in variable quantity.
These antioxidants would prevent business developmentections cardiovascular, from some cancers (breast, lung), d ’arterial hypertension and other conditions related to aging.
These main antioxidant compounds also protect the cells of the human body from the ravages caused by free radicals.
Therefore, abundantly present in watercress, these two carotenoids and precursors of vitamin A, would accumulate in the retina of the eye and the macula : which would protect a oxidative stress, dangerous for the health of the eye.
In addition, watercress contains:
- of calcium at 67%, far ahead of milk (32%) and spinach (5%).
However, compared to watercress, milk provides three times more calcium needed by the body.
- of the vitamin K. In this case, it is the watercress that is in the spotlight because it has vitamin K in high quantities and necessary for the blood clotting.
However, although it is recommended for people on anticoagulant therapy, watercress should, like spinach, broccoli, asparagus, Brussels sprouts or Swiss chard, be consumed in moderation.
Indian belief even attributes to it the ability to fight hiccups.
> Nutritional contribution of watercress
Of a nutritional wealth unsuspected seeds watercress are edible.
In indian cuisine, they are an integral part of their preparations.
The his and theendosperm watercress seeds contain essential fatty acids (omega-3), protein and many minerals (iron, potassium, phosphorus, calcium).
Due to their very high content of insoluble fiber, many researchers encourage their consumption in the form of an ingredient: they would reduce the risk of developing chronic diseases.
Tips and advice about watercress
Watercress can be eaten:
- in salad and, if possible, with its seeds, red, black and white peppercorns. Incorporate vinaigrette (oil, vinegar or lemon juice) for more flavor,
– chopped and added to mashed potatoes,
- in garnish in sandwiches,
- in sauce to accompany fish or meat,
- in smoothie drink or smoothie, to compose according to your tastes: watercress, apple and kiwi; watercress, pear and melon; watercress, blueberries and pineapple.
- in watercress soup in winter and cold in summer. Add potatoes and leeks sautéed in butter or olive oil, a little cream and chicken or vegetable broth.
- in the form of pesto (fresh basil, watercress, grated Parmesan cheese and olive oil), to enhance the taste of potatoes or pasta.
- as ingredients for season poultry …
Watercress, for the record
It was in 1130 that the word "cress »Appeared in the French language.
Etymologically, it comes from francic "kresso " which means "crawling ».
The origin of garden cress is not certain.
Some think it would come fromAfrica in Ethiopia, and for others it would be Asia from West.
However, the Romans, Greeks and Egyptians consumed it and particularly appreciated it for its pungent flavor and its properties therapeutic.
Watercress quickly spread in Europe and around the world.
What are the different varieties of watercress?
Belonging to the family of cruciferous, watercress exists in many varieties which are substituted throughout the year: it is therefore available, whatever the season.
We will thus retain:
- the watercress : tender and juicy, this leafy vegetable grows in water and has very tasty leaves when eaten raw. It is available from April to October.
- the garden cress: harvested between July and March, this variety of watercress has shiny leaves and delicate peppery notes.
- the watercress : it grows spontaneously in damp places and its leaves are firmer.
- the garden cress : young and available all year round, its leaves are very small and have a very pungent flavor.
Good to know about watercress
Watercress naturally and in large quantities contains oxalates.
However, subjects at risk of urinary lithiasis should definitely reduce their consumption of foods rich in oxalate. They should therefore preferably avoid consuming watercress.
Since the cooking water causes a significant loss of glucosinolates, it is desirable to consume watercress raw. Otherwise, you can cook it (very) lightly sautéed in a pan or cooked in a small amount of water so that it retains all its virtues.
Because it can accumulate toxic doses of pollutants, harvesting wild watercress is not indicated.
If in doubt, do not hesitate to ask for thespecialist opinion or your doctor.