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Monday 7th May






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 watercress at, 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 delicious hit.


Written by Florence Sandeman, Publisher


Note to Editors:

·         The recipe below can be published by itself or  in conjunction with the above article and a hi-res picture is available to accompany it on request or downloadable at  Please feel free to publish the article and/or recipe and photograph free of charge although we would request that credit is given to

· was launched in 2000 and is an independent and privately owned UK recipe and food information site covering many aspects of food,  from growing to cooking.   We therefore have no allegiance to particular food suppliers or retailers.

·         The 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.

·         A 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 oxidation.


Sources:        University of Ulster:

        American Journal of Clinical Nutrition: :


Contact:                 Florence Sandeman


Tel:                         07971 627037


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Green "Power" Smoothie

Courtesy of


15th - 21st May is National watercress week. Many people associate watercress as a garnish or with salads, but this incredible "super food" merits more attention. Not only does this Power Smoothie contain watercress, but also kiwi fruit and grapes, with each serving supplying 2 of your recommend 5-A-Day fruit/veggies.


Serves 2       Prep Time:  5 minutes



2 Kiwi Fruit, peeled

85g/3.5oz Watercress

150g/+5oz Green Grapes

180ml/6fl.oz. Natural Yoghurt

2 Large Ice Cubes, cracked

Honey to taste ( 2-4 teasp)



1. Cut the kiwi fruit into pieces and place in a liquidiser together with the remaining ingredients.


2. Blend on low or pulse-blend for a few seconds then continue to blend on a fast speed until smooth




Distributed in conjunction with


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