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Friday, July 17, 2015

Watercress: The Healthiest Vegetable

Don't take my word for it. Time Magazine  July 13, 2015, "The Answers Issue" has this factoid and many others. In their pithy way they state "Watercress has the highest density of the 17 most important vitamins and minerals." Actually there are many more, but the Time list is probably recalling a study in New Republic published June 10, 2014 in which the author, Jennifer Di Noia of William Paterson University, looked at 17 important nutrients naturally occurring in food (fiber, protein, potassium, Vitamin A, B12, D) and calculated how much of those nutrients were found in a 100-calorie serving.

To find every single nutrient,  nutrition.gov  provides a  what's in the food you eat search tool. The tool lists amounts in grams and micrograms so there are many more than 17 nutrients.

Dr. Di Noia created a chart of  the most nutrient dense foods with watercress at the top at 100 points.   Kale eater alert - kale scores not quite half as much, 49.07. If you want to maximize nutrients per calories, you should consider watercress. This peppery leaf is easier to swallow that kale. It's not just sprigs on a plate, but should be considered a superfood.

In another study Dr. Di Noia found watercress contains more anti oxidents than 41 other fruits and vegetables. The important vitamins in watercress are K, A, and C. The key minerals are potassium, calcium and phosphorous.

Recipe:  Use watercress in salads, of course.  And if you want a beautiful bright green soup, simmer stock, chopped zucchini and potato. Add watercress at the end of cooking to just wilt the greens. Chop in a cuisinart and for a smooth soup, finish with cream or creme fraiche. Try it hot or cold.


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