Food – Watercress – The Poor Man’s Bread

Watercress has quite an amazing history.

“At London’s Covent Garden watercress would be sold by street vendors who often were children. The bunches of watercress were said to have been formed into posies and eaten like that for breakfast straight away or if you were lucky to be able to afford a loaf, between two slices of bread. In Victorian Britain it was called ‘the poor man’s bread’; it provided the working class with a good portion of nutrition for the day and became one of the first foods for on-the-go.”

“It was also during Victorian times that children used to take watercress sandwiches to school in place of meat; cheap and cheerful they may have been, but those humble sandwiches would be packed with vitamins and minerals, and therefore they made an ideal children’s packed lunch.”

Some benefits of watercress include the following:

1 Being an antioxidant rich, low-calorific and low-fat vegetable, it is often recommended in cholesterol controlling and weight reduction programs.

2 According to the study published in the journal of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), researchers at William Paterson University in New Jersey claim watercress is labeled as the most nutrient dense food, and for the same reason, it tops the list of “powerhouse fruits and vegetables.”

3 Fresh cress has a higher concentration of ascorbic acid (vitamin C) than some of the fruits and vegetables. … Lab studies suggest that regular consumption of foods rich in vitamin C help maintain normal connective tissue, prevent iron deficiency, and also help the human body develop resistance against infectious agents by boosting immunity.

4 It is one of the excellent vegetable sources for vitamin K; 100 grams provides over 200% of the daily recommended intake. Vitamin K has a potential role in bone health by promoting osteotrophic (bone formation and strengthening) activity. Adequate vitamin K levels in the diet help limit neuronal damage in the brain; and thus, it has an established role in the treatment of patients suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.

5 Cress is also an excellent source of vitamin A, flavonoids, and anti-oxidants like ß carotene, lutein and zea-xanthin.

6 It is also rich in the B-complex group of vitamins such as riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B-6 (pyridoxine), thiamin and pantothenic acid that are essential for optimum cellular metabolic functions.

7 Further, it is also a rich source of minerals like copper, calcium, potassium, magnesium, manganese and phosphorus. …

Some serving tips include green salads, sandwiches, vegetable drinks or simply steam and eat.