Eat Smarter

Switch to Watercress

Looking for some leafy greens to have with dinner? Skip the lettuce, spinach and rocket, even the kale, and opt instead for watercress. Astonishingly nutrient dense, watercress is one of the best kept nutritional secrets.

Watercress is naturally:

  • high in vitamins A, K, B6, folate and C (the vitamin C helps you absorb the iron in watercress)
  • high in calcium potassium, manganese and iron
  • rich in dietary nitrates, linked to improved athletic performance
  • packed full of antioxidants – watercress has 40 unique flavonoids such as isothiocynates, which give it its peppery flavour. Studies have linked antioxidants with a lower risk of cancer, diabetes and heart disease.

Better for your brain

Another reason to eat watercress? Your brain health. Psychiatrist Dr Drew Ramsay is a world leader in nutritional psychiatry – the use of food and nutrition to optimise brain health. He and his team devised the Antidepressant Food Score to determine the most nutrient-dense foods to help prevent and promote recovery from depression. Top of their list was watercress, with a score of 127 per cent.

Do not confuse watercress with the much smaller and delicate garden cress or mustard cress. Watercress packs more punch flavour wise and has bigger leaves, and as its name suggests, grows in water rather than soil.

Naturally peppery, watercress is a delicious addition to salads, can be made into soup, into sauces such as pesto, added to curries, and mixed into rice with chopped herbs.