Watercress belongs to the Brassicaceae vegetable family which also has kale, cabbage, and Brussels cabbage in it. This one green vegetable that is familiar is seen as part of a variety of vegetables in a bowl of salad that is available on the market. The shape of the leaves is relatively small, round, and the stem has a slightly spicy taste sensation.
This vegetable has far more iron content than spinach, more calcium than milk, and more folate than bananas. No wonder if watercress is one of the vegetables that must be consumed daily to support health.
The benefits of watercress are very good for health
In general, watercress contains more than 50 vitamins and minerals that are important for the body. With these high nutrients, what are the benefits that the body can feel when consuming watercress? Check out the following explanation.
1. Slows skin aging
Constant exposure to sunlight can damage the layers of elastin and collagen in the skin. Over time will result in faster skin aging and wrinkles appear on the face area.
Isothiocynate compounds and vitamin C found in watercress can help slow down and stop collagen and elastin damage. In addition, these two compounds can also stimulate collagen production which can make skin healthier, younger, and elastic.
2. Fighting colon and breast cancer
Phenylethyl isothiocyanate (PEITC) compounds contained in watercress can inhibit important proteins that play a role in the development of cancer cells. PEITC can block a signal called Hypoxia Inducible Factor (HIF) which is a command signal to spread cancer cells through blood vessels.
Blocking this signal will inhibit cancer cell growth due to lack of intake while preventing the spread of the cancer cells.
3. Maintain healthy levels of iron
As mentioned earlier, watercress is rich in iron compared to other vegetables. This iron is important for converting energy from food for the growth and development of body cells.
However, this iron also still needs vitamin C to convert it to be more quickly absorbed by the body. About 80 grams of watercress contains more vitamin C than oranges with the same amount. Therefore, the iron content in watercress is much more easily absorbed.
4. Increase bone density
About 100 grams of watercress contains a quarter of the amount of calcium that is recommended for consumption to maximize bone density during growth.
In addition, watercress can also be a source of vitamin K which is the main nutrient for compacting bones. Vitamin K in watercress is much more easily absorbed and has four times the daily intake recommended by nutritionists.
5. Improve the immune system
100 grams of watercress contains more than half the recommended dose of vitamin A for boosting the immune system. Vitamin A in watercress can also increase the body’s ability to absorb iron more optimally.
In addition, vitamin C found in watercress also has the same benefits. This vitamin increases the body’s immune system by increasing the production of white blood cells that play a role against bacterial infections.
6. Healthy eyes
Lutein and zeaxanthin compounds are also owned by watercress. Both of these compounds can help to block the effects of light radiation from reaching the retina of the eye. The effect of radiation entering the retina can cause oxidative damage that will trigger macular degenerative diseases related to age. The content of vitamin C also serves to reduce the risk of developing cataracts.
7. Protect bones from osteoporosis
Watercress contains minerals that are good for bone health, such as calcium, potassium, magnesium, and phosphorus. A balanced diet and rich in nutrient dense as above is positively correlated to bone health. Vitamin K which is also found in watercress is also a component of osteocalcin which plays a role in forming healthy bone tissue.
8. Optimizing Vo2 Max
Vo2 Max is related to the body’s ability to optimize oxygen when performing strenuous activities, such as sports. Watercress is rich in nitrates which has the potential to increase the supply of nitrous oxide. When the flow of oxygen is smooth, blood pressure in the body will be more optimal and stamina while exercising will be more awake.
9. Healthy intestines
Our intestine has healthy bacteria in it which is very important for developing the immune system to provide protection against intestinal diseases. Healthy intestinal bacteria must get adequate amounts of fermented fiber.
Watercress is a good source of fiber and antioxidants for maintaining these good microbes. Intestinal bacteria can activate these antioxidants as a daily detoxification to reduce DNA damage from continuous exposure to toxins from the environment or from the body’s metabolic processes.
10. Rich in antioxidants
Watercress contains plant compounds called antioxidants. This compound can protect the body from cell damage caused by free radicals that can trigger oxidative stress.
Oxidative stress is associated with the emergence of several chronic diseases such as diabetes, cancer, to cardiovascular disease. A diet with antioxidant-rich foods can help protect the body from oxidative stress so that it can reduce the risk of developing these chronic diseases.
Watercress is present as one of the vegetables with many compounds and minerals that are beneficial to the body. Consuming a balanced diet can make the body’s intake of minerals and compounds well fulfilled.