Glossary of Foods: Watercress

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This green, leafy food is grown in the water of slow-moving streams and and freshwater springs. It's often used in salads or on top of sandwiches for a high-powered snack, as it has more minerals than spinach and more vitamins than oranges.


Other than its edible leaves and tiny flowering buds with seeds, watercress was a go-to medicinal herb for thousands of years. It contains compounds called isothiocyanates, which have been studied for their anti-cancer properties, especially cancer of the breast and lungs. Watercress proves it is also beneficial to eye health because of its high level of lutein and zeaxanthin, which contribute to protective heart health as well. Click here for more cancer-fighting foods to stock your kitchen!

Watercress was largely used for its ability to act as an expectorant, helping with chest congestion and chronic coughing. It also has diuretic abilities to flush the body, which is why people with bladder or kidney problems often add watercress to their plates or juices.

If you'd like to try watercress, throw it in a juicer or blender next time. Try it mixed into a salad or on top of a sandwich. Many soup recipes are complemented by the addition of this peppery-tasting leaf, which is best served raw or steamed.

>> Read more: How to Make a Green Smoothie