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7 Health Benefits Of Watercress

Last updated June 20, 2016

Approved by: Krish Tangella MD, MBA, FCAP

Wendell Smith

Watercress (Nasturtium officinale) is a semi-aquatic plant native to Europe and Asia. It is currently a member of the family Brassicaceae, botanically related to cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, turnip, rapeseed, mustard, radish, horseradish, cress, and wasabi.


Watercress (Nasturtium officinale) is a semi-aquatic plant native to Europe and Asia. It is currently a member of the family Brassicaceae, botanically related to cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, turnip, rapeseed, mustard, radish, horseradish, cress, and wasabi.

Here are 7 health benefits of watercress.

1.     Watercress can help improve bone health.

One cup of watercress contains 85 micrograms or 106 percent of vitamin K. Vitamin K improves calcium absorption, reduces urinary excretion of calcium, and acts as a modifier of bone matrix proteins. Also, one cup of watercress contains 4 percent of your calcium needs.

2.     Watercress can help individuals fight infections.

One cup of watercress contains 24 percent of the vitamin C daily requirements per cup. Vitamin C is a potent natural water-soluble antioxidant that helps the body develop resistance against infectious agents.

3.     Watercress is great for the hair and skin.

Adequate vitamin C intake can create and maintain collagen, an important protein found in hair and skin. Also, one cup of watercress contains 22 percent of recommended vitamin A. Vitamin A has been known to keep the hair moisturized through increased sebum production.

4.     Watercress can help progress your heart’s health.

Fiber, vitamin C, vitamin B6, and potassium have been known to improve your heart’s health. Watercress has significant potassium to sodium ratio. One cup of watercress contains 112 milligrams of potassium compared to 13.9 milligrams of sodium. The recommended 4,700 milligrams (mg) of potassium is not obtained by many individuals in the United States, according to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, despite the benefits of increased potassium intake.

5.     Watercress can enhance blood pressure health.

An increased potassium intake and decreased sodium intake has been linked to a lowered blood pressure and relaxed blood vessels.

6.     Watercress may help fight against breast cancer.

A 2010 study conducted by the University of Southampton found that consumption of watercress may inhibit the growth of breast cancer by 'turning off' a signal in the body and thereby starving the growing tumor of essential blood and oxygen.

7.     Watercress contains a significant amount of omega-3 fatty acids.

Watercress is a significant source of omega-3 fatty acids primarily in the form of hexadecatrienoic acid at 45mg/100g. This can help the body fight cancer and inflammation.

References:

  1. Watercress, raw Nutrition Facts & Calories. (n.d.). Retrieved October 26, 2017, from http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/vegetables-and-vegetable-products/2718/2
  2. Alwi, S. S. S., Cavell, B. E., Telang, U., Morris, M. E., Parry, B. M., & Packham, G. (2010). In vivo modulation of 4E binding protein 1 (4E-BP1) phosphorylation by watercress: a pilot study. British journal of nutrition104(9), 1288-1296.
  3. Pereira, C., Li, D., & Sinclair, A. J. (2001). The alpha-linolenic acid content of green vegetables commonly available in Australia. International journal for vitamin and nutrition research71(4), 223-228.

Reviewed and Approved by a member of the DoveMed Editorial Board
First uploaded: Aug. 25, 2014
Last updated: June 20, 2016