The Benefits of Watercress
highly attributed to the presence of a high amount of vitamin C, which is known to be antioxidant in nature.
It has been used for its medicinal properties since 100 BC and is also referred to as “pesto des Alpes” in France. It is rich in many other minerals like sodium, potassium, calcium, manganese, and iron that are essential for optimum health. This gives watercress its reputation as a great detoxifying agent, which is particularly important in the maintenance of skin health.
The journal “Australian Family Physician” has declared that watercress contains “more than five times the amount of phenolics and 4 times the amount of Vitamin C found in iceberg lettuce.”
Watercress is a leafy vegetable and it has been used as salad and soup. It is also consumed as a supplement to healthy food and medicine.
The possibility of this kind of watercress to be used as an anticancer agent was first reported by Hasegawa et al. in 1987, where they observed that the extract of watercress inhibited the growth of Sarcoma-180 in mice.
The results showed that apoptosis response was dependent on the duration of treatment with watercress extract. When it was treated for 72 hours, four out of five colon cancer cells lines exhibited an increase in apoptosis. Moreover, data also indicated that an increase in apoptosis was accompanied by the induction of p53 and Bax proteins.
The second part of the study was designed to investigate whether watercress extract could sensitize colon cancer cells lines to chemotherapeutic agents. Treatment with either 5-fluorouracil (a chemotherapeutic agent) or watercress extract alone did not cure cancer in mice, but when they were combined together, significant inhibition in tumor growth was observed. However, further study is needed to determine the exact mechanism of action by which watercress extract enhances chemotherapeutic agents’ efficiency.
It has been demonstrated that consumption of 100g fresh weight of watercress resulted in a 32% decrease of oxidative DNA damage.
The cardiovascular benefits of watercress are attributed to its high amount of vitamin K, which prevents calcification of blood vessel walls. This property makes it an effective tool against atherosclerosis. It is also reported that intake of 100g fresh weight watercress per day for two weeks, could reduce plasma concentrations of homocysteine.
The anti-inflammatory and antibacterial activities of watercress were found to be due to the presence of a significant amount of glucosinolates in it.
Watercress has also been reported to have anti-diabetic and anti-diarrheal effects.
Further, its high antioxidant activity makes watercress a potential anti-aging agent.
However, the therapeutic properties of watercress are limited because it is mostly consumed in raw form. Since processing reduces the number of glucosinolates found in it, therefore, the effectiveness of watercress against colon cancer decreases by almost half.
Watercress is not toxic to normal cells but has been found to inhibit the cell proliferation of certain cancer cells. Watercress may also produce other substances which are beneficial for the body. However, since watercress contains a high amount of calcium oxalate, people with kidney stones or high calcium levels in the blood should avoid eating watercress without consulting a doctor.
Benefits of watercress for Hair Growth:
Watercress is a green leafy vegetable that forms part of the cabbage family, which includes Cabbage, Broccoli, and Brussel Sprouts. The health benefits of Watercress are immense, as it contains vitamins A, C, and K along with Iron and Calcium. It has been used in some cultures throughout history as a hair growth remedy for a number of reasons:
IT IS ANTI-THYROID:
Thyroid hormones have an impact on hair follicles, meaning an overactive thyroid can cause excessive hair shedding/thinning while a low functioning thyroid may lead to increased shedding or even alopecia. Some women also suffer from hyperthyroidism during pregnancy resulting in post-partum thyroiditis.
It is important to note that hyperthyroidism can cause hair loss along with a number of other symptoms, but it may also be the result of iron deficiency, which watercress contains.
IT COMBATS FREE RADICALS IN THE BODY:
Watercress can help combat free radicals in the body as it is rich in antioxidants vitamins A, C, and E. Free radicals are formed when your cells are exposed to toxins or chemicals that damage tissues and DNA strands, which then need repairing by antioxidants. This process contributes towards aging so preventing cell damage will aid you to fight premature aging!
WATERCRESS IS RICH IN ANTIOXIDANTS:
Free radicals can contribute towards hair loss and graying, but another bonus to eating watercress is that it contains antioxidants such as quercetin and kaempferol which fight against them.
Kaempferol also inhibits the enzymes in the thyroid gland responsible for producing too much thyroxine (the hormone that stimulates metabolism) so this may be helpful for those who suffer from an overactive thyroid.
WATERCRESS CONTAINS ZINC, WHICH IS GREAT FOR HAIR:
Zinc deficiency has been linked to many conditions including alopecia, however consuming foods rich in zinc such as watercress will keep your zinc levels topped up. Along with regulating hormones and fighting free radicals, It acts as a co-factor for the enzyme 5-a reductase that converts testosterone into dihydrotestosterone, which can contribute to thinning hair.
WATERCRESS IS RICH IN SILICA:
Silica is necessary for healthy tissue repair and cell growth so it is important for our skin, nails, and hair. It also helps produce collagen, elastin, and keratin along with strengthening bones, muscles, and tendons. A lack of silica can result in fragile tissues that are prone to injury or tearing.
As watercress is low calorie but is packed with nutrients that benefit your entire body it makes sense to increase intake if you are following a weight management plan, as it will help reduce fatigue by increasing energy levels.
WATERCRESS CAN CREATE HEALTHY, BEAUTIFUL HAIR:
Watercress is full of nutrients that benefit the entire body and could be just what your hair needs to grow long and healthy. The vitamins such as iron, calcium, and vitamin K work together to keep your scalp healthy while also helping the production of sebum which coats the strands, providing shine and protecting them from damage.
It has been said throughout history that if you eat a lot of green leafy vegetables such as watercress it can make your hair grow faster – whether this is actually true or not I don’t know but it certainly won’t do any harm!
WATERCRESS CAN BOOST YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM:
As well as the vitamins and minerals, watercress also contains a huge number of antioxidants that boost your immune system, keeping you healthy. This means that if you do fall ill then it will be easier to fight against infections and viruses, reducing susceptibility to disease. Having a strong immune system will keep hair loss at bay by warding off conditions such as anemia, stress, and malnutrition.
IT HELPS PREVENT HAIR LOSS:
As it is so rich in nutrients from top to bottom including iron, calcium, and vitamin K as mentioned earlier – as well as strengthening bones, improving blood flow, and helping push out toxins from the liver – watercress helps flush excess hormones from the meaning it can have a positive impact on a number of conditions including PCOS and alopecia.
IT CAN HELP YOU LOSE WEIGHT :
As it is low-calorie, watercress can help reduce fatigue levels by increasing your energy levels. It also contains high fiber which will fill you up but won’t leave you feeling bloated or lethargic – meaning this super green will be perfect for following a weight management plan, as well as aiding digestion.
Appetite suppression may have a positive impact on hair loss because the stress that the body feels from being hungry could lead to the relocation of testosterone to cortisol which leads to an increase in DHT – a major cause of hair loss!
IT’S A NATURAL DETOXIFIER:
Watercress is high in antioxidants which help rid the body of toxins, supporting liver function. This can be important for hair loss as a lowered immune system caused by stress or malnutrition could make it more difficult to fight off infections, leaving you more susceptible to conditions such as telogen effluvium.
As mentioned earlier the extra nutrients are great at strengthening bones, improving blood flow, and helping flush excess hormones from the body – all of which will help keep your hair thick!
WATERCRESS IS RICH IN ANTIOXIDANTS:
Antioxidants fight free radicals that cause damage with them being unstable molecules that can harm healthy cells in order to become stable. These free radicals are believed to contribute greatly towards both aging and hair loss, so it is important to get your daily intake of antioxidants through either supplements or fruit and veg – one of which being watercress! You can also find antioxidants in red peppers, tomatoes, dark leafy greens (including watercress), and kale. Antioxidants rich foods are excellent for keeping your scalp healthy while also strengthening strands which helps keep hair thick!
WATERCRESS IS HIGH IN FOLATE AND VITAMIN C:
Folate is known as vitamin B9 that contributes towards new cell production including blood cells that carry oxygen throughout the body. Vitamin C is also an antioxidant that helps protect against heart disease alongside protecting your skin from age spots caused by UV rays. Both folate and vitamin C play an important role in hair growth as the high levels of oxygen increase circulation to the scalp, improving hair thickness and strength.
WATERCRESS IS A NATURAL DETERMINANT FOR HAIR GROWTH:
Iron is essential for healthy blood cells, including erythrocytes which carry oxygen throughout the body. Without enough iron your body won’t produce enough red blood cells which will result in you feeling exceptionally fatigued – this can also make it extremely difficult for your locks to grow!
Iron-rich foods are known to boost immunity, making it easier for you to avoid conditions that may delay or prevent hair growth. Watercress contains almost 30% of your daily recommended intake, with spinach only containing 7%, making it the perfect nutritious super green for encouraging hair growth.
WATERCRESS CAN BE USED TO CONDITION YOUR SCALP:
Using watercress to condition your scalp can also be beneficial for hair growth as it keeps the roots moisturized and healthy while strengthening strands, improving elasticity, and smoothing cuticles – all of which help keep locks thick! It will also add volume and shine while keeping your scalp feeling refreshed and clean.
USE WATERCRESS AS AN EXFOLIANT:
Combined with yogurt or flax seeds (both of which are rich in zinc), watercress can make a great exfoliant that reduces flakiness and dryness on the skin by removing dead cells. Honey is also excellent at exfoliating the scalp which will help clear excess oil and dirt away – leaving you with a clean scalp that’s better able to absorb effective hair growth treatments.
WATERCRESS CAN BE USED TO CLEAR UP ACNE:
High in antioxidants, watercress helps fight free radicals caused by harmful UV rays from the sun, toxins, and chemicals all of which contribute towards acne breakouts. The antioxidants found in it help treat existing acne by fighting bacteria while preventing future ones from forming. Combined with yogurt or honey, watercress can be an effective treatment for acne that also encourages hair growth!
CALCIUM BENEFITS BOTH YOUR HAIR AND SKIN:
Calcium is an essential mineral for healthy and strong bones and teeth but it also stimulates cell growth which can also aid hair regrowth. It is also required for the synthesis of hormones such as progesterone, cortisol, and testosterone all of which contribute towards encouraging new hair follicles to grow throughout the scalp.
Calcium rich foods such as milk, dark leafy greens (including watercress), sesame seeds, and almonds are excellent sources that will help improve hydration, restore pH balance and encourage healthy strands!
WATERCRESS CAN HELP FIGHT FATIGUE:
Watercress contains a large amount of iron – an essential nutrient for carrying oxygen throughout your body. If you suffer from fatigue or feel excessively fatigued then it could be due to a lack of oxygenated red blood cells. A lack of nutrients like iron can also slow down your metabolism which can make it extremely difficult for new hair to grow!
WATERCRESS CAN BE USED AS AN HERBAL TEA:
If you simply don’t have the time or resources to eat watercress, then why not try preparing an herbal tea? High in chlorophyll, watercress is often used as an effective replacement for basil in pesto, however, it isn’t recommended that you consume too much during pregnancy due to its abundance of vitamin A. You can prepare a soothing and hydrating cup by boiling it with mint leaves, honey, and lemon – oh so good
THE LEMON JUICE CAN HELP STRENGTHEN HAIR:
Lemon juice is extremely beneficial for hair growth due to its high levels of vitamin C which help to strengthen and protect against breakages. By adding it into your watercress tea, you’re giving yourself a simple yet effective conditioning treatment that will keep locks thick and healthy! Lemon juice also has astringent properties that help remove excess oils from the skin.
WATERCRESS BLEND RECIPE:
Here’s an easy and tasty way to make the most out of your watercress:
1 handful (about 1 cup) of chopped or torn watercress leaves 1 medium beetroot, peeled and cut into chunks 2 teaspoons pomegranate seeds 3/4 cup (180ml) orange juice 1/2 teaspoon honey
Combine all ingredients in a blender and blitz until smooth:
1 tablespoon watercress leaves, chopped or torn into small pieces 1/2 cup (120 ml) low sodium chicken broth 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar 1 tablespoon minced shallot 3 teaspoons olive oil Salt and pepper to taste
In a large bowl combine all ingredients except for the broccoli florets. Whisk together the marinade ingredients well then pour over the broccoli florets. Toss to coat. Marinate for 30 minutes before cooking on a grill pan or under a broiler for 5-10 mins per side, turning frequently so that all sides are golden brown and tender-crisp. Great served hot or cold.