15-21st May is National Watercress Week:
Wondrous Watercress helps fight
cancer : What our ancestors knew?
Eating just 85g of watercress per day can reduce the risk
of cancer by decreasing DNA damage to blood cells according to the
recent results of two years' research conducted by the University of Ulster.
The findings of this remarkable study published in February 2007
have catapulted the lowly watercress to the upper rungs of the "super food"
ladder joining the likes of Goji berries, blueberries and kiwifruit.
One of the oldest leaf vegetables known to man, watercress has
been revered by many throughout the ages as a nourishing food, from
Hippocrates, founder of the first ever hospital on the island of Kos back in
400BC who used watercress growing in the nearby springs for the patients, to
Roman Emperors who would eat it to empower their decision making.
Even without the benefit of modern science, mankind seems to have
divined its nutritious values as was evident in 19th century England
when it was a staple food in the diets of the poor who would often eat it with
bread for breakfast. It was so well thought of that even when they were too poor
to afford a loaf, they’d eat it by itself, resulting in watercress being known
as "poor man's bread."
Today, we have a deeper insight into the health giving properties
of watercress. Not only does it contain beta-carotene, vitamins A, C, B1, B6, K
and E, magnesium, manganese, zinc gram for gram more iron than spinach and more
calcium than milk, but also Lutein and Zeaxanthin which act as antioxidants.
Add the fact that it’s low in calories, as Liz Hurley attested to
in 2001 when she revealed that she consumed copious amounts of watercress soup
to add extra nutrients to her diet whilst trying to maintain her weight, and
it’s easy to see why it has gained the accolade of being a Super Food.
As 15th-21st May is National Watercress
week, there’s no better time to start incorporating watercress into your daily
diet. There are various ways to use watercress in cooking…. not just salads. In
fact, you can substitute it for spinach in many recipes, where its peppery taste
will add an extra dimension.
If you're stuck for ideas. you can find lots of recipes using
including this super green "power" smoothie which has the added benefit of
giving you the equivalent of 2 of your 5-A-Day fruit/veggies in one easy and
Written by Florence Sandeman, Publisher
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two year research project was funded by The Watercress Alliance, made up of the
three largest British watercress producers - Vitacress Salads, Alresford Salads
and The Watercress Company.
large proportion of British watercress is grown in Hampshire and Dorset
Qualification of a "super food" - A food which is rich in antioxidants,
nutrients and plant chemicals
Definition of "antioxidant" A substance that
prevents damage caused by free radicals. Free radicals are highly reactive
chemicals that often contain oxygen. They are produced when molecules are split
to give products that have unpaired electrons. This process is called
University of Ulster:
American Journal of Clinical Nutrition:
Contact: Florence Sandeman
Tel: 07971 627037