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Watercress, Where Have You Been All Of Our Lives?

What do you think about watercress? If you are like many people, probably not much, and that’s too bad. Watercress is a powerhouse of nutrients and is actually the number one produce pick for nutrient density by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). A food’s nutrient density is determined by measuring the item’s vitamin, mineral, and phytonutrient content in relation to its caloric content.

In fact, greens dominate the top of the nutrient-density list from the CDC, with watercress followed by Chinese cabbage, chard, beet greens, spinach, chicory, leaf lettuce, parsley, romaine lettuce, and collard greens. Yet how many of us enjoy at least some of the other nine mentioned greens while ignoring the number one pick?

As a vegan, I am a huge fan of vegetables, yet watercress has honored my plate only a few times in my lifetime. That’s about to change ever since I learned more about this incredible green.

What is watercress?

Watercress is a member of the cruciferous family of veggies, which also includes broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and kale, among others. Cruciferous vegetables are well known for their cancer-fighting abilities as well as battling oxidative stress (associated with chronic disease) and helping prevent cardiovascular problems.

Very young watercress has a slight peppery taste that grows stronger as the plant matures. It grows quickly in an aquatic or semi-aquatic environment and is a native of Europe and Asia.

Ancient peoples regarded watercress as an important food, especially Hippocrates, who treated patients with this vegetable. During more recent centuries, you may have heard about watercress sandwiches, which were considered a common food during the 19th century in England. Somehow the popularity of watercress faded, but its healthful values did not.

Watercress nutrition

Watercress gets the number one spot for nutrient density because of its high vitamin, mineral, and phytonutrient content when compared with its caloric content. In fact, one cup of watercress is a mere 4 calories, has 0 grams fat, and registers 0 on the glycemic load index while providing the following nutrients:

22% vitamin A

24% vitamin C

106% vitamin K

4% calcium

4% manganese

3% potassium

2% each vitamin E, thiamin, vitamin B6, riboflavin, magnesium, and phosphorus

1 gram protein

Health benefits of watercress

Watercress is an excellent source of nitrates, which have been show to lower blood pressure, boost athletic performance, and reduce the amount of oxygen you need while exercising when consumed in high amounts. One of the cancer-fighting compounds in cruciferous veggies, 3,3’-diindolylmethane (DIM), has demonstrated an ability to protect against cancer as well as guard healthy tissues during radiation treatment for the disease.

Bone health also can benefit from watercress. The excellent amounts of vitamin K in this vegetable can improve your bones by enhancing absorption of calcium, reducing excretion of calcium via urine, and modifying bone infrastructure.

The antioxidant alpha-lipoic acid also is found in healthy levels in watercress. Anyone who has diabetes or who is prediabetic can reap benefits from watercress, as this nutrient can enhance insulin sensitivity, lower glucose levels, and reduce diabetic neuropathy.

How to use more watercress

Watercress is likely more versatile than you think. Try one or more of these tips and the following recipes.

  • Add a handful of watercress to your smoothies
  • Mix watercress with other greens in your salads
  • Add chopped watercress to omelets, stir-fries, pasta sauces, and dips
  • Use instead of sprouts on sandwiches

Watercress Soup (serves 4)

1 tsp coconut oil
1 onion, diced
1 cups fresh or frozen peas
1 cup chopped celery
4 cups vegetable stock
1 cup fresh watercress, chopped
14 oz coconut milk
Pinch of salt and black pepper to taste

Melt the coconut oil in a large soup pot. Add the onion and celery and cook until soft. Add the vegetable stock and peas. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and add the watercress, salt, and pepper. Cover and simmer for 5 minutes. Using a blender or hand mixer, puree the soup until smooth while you add the coconut milk.

Watercress Pesto

1 bunch watercress (about 5.5 cups), tough stems removed
¼ cup chopped walnuts
2 garlic cloves, chopped
3-5 tbs extra virgin olive oil
Zest of 1 lemon

In a food processor, pulse the watercress, pine nuts, lemon zest, and garlic until chopped coarsely. Add the oil slowly (you may not need 5 Tbs) and pulse again. Season with salt and black pepper. Serve with your favorite pasta, vegetables, bread, or other dishes.

SOURCE: http://www.care2.com/greenliving/watercress-where-have-you-been-all-of-our-lives.html


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Practice Policy Update Regarding COVID-19

Dear Patients:

Our patients, employees and family are our top priority at Long Island Spine Specialists, P.C.

We ask you to not visit any of our locations if you have symptoms such as fever, sneezing, coughing and possible shortness of breath.

Please cancel your appointment and re-schedule once you are feeling better and are no longer suffering with symptoms.

Only non-symptomatic patients will be seen. No exceptions.

Accompanying family members – including children – are asked to remain in the waiting area and will not be allowed to enter the exam rooms.

During this time of high concern regarding the spread of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) we are taking extra precautions to maintain the highest possible standards of safety and cleanliness. Please be advised that we are carefully following recommendations from both the CDC and WHO and are here to help guide you through this time if needed.

Some steps we are taking to keeping safe:

  1. We know how important cleanliness is and always maintain the highest standards of cleanliness. To further offer you peace of mind, we have increased the frequency of the cleaning of our office.
  2. Rest assured that hand washing is strictly followed. Hand sanitizer is available to all staff and patients.
  3. Additionally, if you have recently traveled to a country with high rates of the coronavirus or have been on a cruise, please reschedule your visit for at least 14 days from your return date. We will gladly accommodate your needs to reschedule. At that time, a telehealth interface can be arranged if necessary.

Find up-to-date and accurate information on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website and feel free to reach out with questions.

- Your team at Long Island Spine Specialists, P.C.

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