I love watercress. The proper buy-in-a-bunch sort of watercress you can get from the market, not that frilly edged leaves all washed and pretty from the supermarkets.
So yesterday I managed to chuck a whole bunch of watercress into an omelette for lunch. It was a damn fine meal and as I sat there I was contemplating all the good stuff it gives me and thought I would share with you too the beauty of watercress.
First of all lets claify something about ‘green stuff’. The darker the ‘green’ the denser the nutrient content. So whilst iceburg lettuce isn’t bad, it certainly isn’t as benficial as something like rocket, or kale or watercress.
Historically watercress has been regarded as a bit of wonder-food. It was used medicinally as early as 79AD and continues to hold favour as being an incredib;y benefical food.
- A diuretic
- A stimulant
- An anti-septic
- A digestive
- An expectorant
It contains a lot of amino acids, vitamins (A , several B vitamins C, D, E, K) and minerals (calcium, phosphorus, potassium, iron, sodium, magnesium and copper) in one small, peppery package!
It is also a food that is high in sulphur. Sulphur rich foods (like eggs, onions, garlic) are necessary for cell building, blood cleansing and healthy skin and hair.
After the seaweed kelp, watercress has been shown to contain more iodine than any other food. Iodine is very important for good thyroid function. Isn’t that a nicer way to improve your thyroid gland than taking medicine or hunting down seaweed?
Using watercress will benefit you in so many ways that to list them here would be tedious, but suffice to say that if will help with all manner of issues from stomach/ digestive problems, lowering inflammation thereby loweing choelsterol, coughs and colds, improving the menstrual cycle, alkalising the blood, improving indigestion and reliving stress, freshening breath (raw leaves) to name but a few.
So how can you include watercress in your diet more?
- Chop raw leaves into your normal salad concoction.
- Chew raw leaves from the garnish (I always eat the garnish!)
- Chop and add into a casserole or bolognese just as you are about to serve.
- Chuck into a stir-fry in the last minute of cooking.
- Make into a soup (see below)
- Add to smoothies or your juicer for a healthy kick start.
- Add chopped into an onion omelette.
- Use as a garnish alongside parsley or coriander.
- Mash into potatoes with butter.
Or knock up a very quick soup.
50g butter or coconut oil
3 shallots,peeled and chopped (onion will be fine too)
300g (about 3-4 bunches) washed, roughly chopped watercress
1 litre stock ( I used the water I boiled gammon in, but you can use any flavour)
½ can coconut milk
Ground black pepper
Melt the butter in a large saucepan and gently cook the shallots and watercress for about 10-15 minutes, gently turning them in the butter every few minutes or so.
Add the stock and cook gently (no need to boil) for about 10 – 15 minutes.
Blend with a hand blender or in a food processor.
Add the coconut milk, taste for seasoning.
If you are already thinking, “ugh, I can’t stand the stuff!” — consider that when it is chopped finely and used as garnish or in salad with other leaves, you really won’t taste it. Honest! Just make sure you mix it through the other leaves well.
So, what are you waiting for?! Get out there and get some watercress into your life!