Often seen as a variety of garden garnish that one scrapes off an entree, humble watercress might instead be the holy grail of health.
This cloudy-looking vegetable has been considered an essential part of a balanced diet because of its abundance of nutrients that can ward off disease and protect athletes from exercise-induced injuries, B&W Quality Growers wrote in a statement from press .
“Athletes [who eat watercress] benefit from strenuous exercise with less potential for tissue damage,” the B&W food company said in the statement.
And apparently it tastes good, too.
“We use watercress in salads for its spicy freshness,” Andrew Chase, owner of Cafe Katja on Austria's Lower East Side, told The Post. “It really wakes up your taste buds!”
The health benefits stem from the fact that, in part, the spicy superfood, which resides in fresh, flowing bodies of water throughout Eurasia, despite having been introduced to North America Norte, is the vegetable with the highest nutrient density on earth,
It scored a perfect 100 out of 100, beating Chinese cabbage (91.99 points), Swiss chard (89.27 points), beets (87.08 points) and even spinach (86.43 points). in the CDC's vegetable classifications.
Perhaps Popeye should have inhaled a can of watercress instead of spinach before beating up his nemesis, Bluto.
The vegetable cure-all has high levels of amino acids, essential building blocks of protein that aid in everything from digestion to the production of neurotransmitters, as well as antioxidants.
These latter compounds are the body's defense against damage caused by “free radicals,” or essential compounds that the body produces during rest, exercise, intense activity, and the conversion of food into energy.
While essential for muscle life and function, and in turn, adaptation to exercise, an imbalance between free radicals and antioxidants can cause delayed muscle recovery and damage muscles, and even may play a role in the development of cancer, segun el Instituto Nacional del Cancer
Eating watercress can also potentially offset side effects in athletes: studies show that those who eat it two hours before strenuous exercise greatly reduce their chances of cell damage compared to those who don't.
Meanwhile, daily consumption of watercress for just two months decreased DNA damage, effectively giving athletes all the benefits of strenuous exercise without the harmful downsides.
Other Benefits include large amounts of iron, calcium, potassium, magnesium, and vitamin K, the latter of which potentially prevents cell damage in the brain, according to a Vogue report that awarded it the world's “healthiest food” label.
In addition, consuming just 100 grams of the herb meets most requirements for vitamin C, and reportedly contains more than even citrus stars like oranges and lemons. Perhaps not surprisingly, the hot new superfood belongs to the same mustard green family as kale, the longtime popular green that has been the lifeblood of billionaire fiber pushers like Sweetgreen.