Many benefits from eating watercress are claimed, such as that it acts as a stimulant, a source of phytochemicals and antioxidants, a diuretic, an expectorant, and a digestive aid. It also appears to have antiangiogenic cancer-suppressing properties; it is widely believed to help defend against lung cancer.
A 2010 study conducted by the University of Southampton found that consumption of watercress may also inhibit the growth of breast cancer. The PEITC content of watercress inhibits HIF, which can inhibit angiogenesis.
Due to its high iodine content, watercress has a strengthening effect on the thyroid gland, thus it is beneficial for sufferers of hypothyroidism.
Watercress nutrition value
Watercress contains fifteen essential vitamins and minerals. Watercress contains significant amounts of iron, calcium, folic acid and vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B17, C, D, E and K. Watercress can act as a mild stimulant and promotes appetite. It is a source of phytochemicals and antioxidants. Watercress is a diuretic, an expectorant and digestive aid. Other therapeutic uses of watercress include relief from coughs, head colds, bronchial ailments, asthma, stress, pain, arthritis, stiff back and joints, diabetes, anemia, constipation and emphysema.
Watercress is one of the best sources of element iodine which is important for the function of the thyroid gland. The leaves of watercress is used as a poultice and applied for relief from enlarged prostrate gland. Sulphur contained in watercress plays an important part in protein absorption, blood purifying, cell building and in healthy hair and skin.
Watercress is known for its antiscorbutic qualities. The leaves bruised or the juice from watercress can free the face of blotches, spots and blemishes when applied as a lotion. A daily portion of watercress in cancer patients has the ability to reduce DNA to a significant level and to increase those cells to resist further DNA damage caused by free radicals. Watercress also has the ability to reduce in blood triglyceride levels by an average of 10%.
Significant increase in blood levels of lutein and beta carotene which have antioxidant activity by 100% and 33% respectively can be seen by regular intake of watercress. These are associated with a lower incidence of eye diseases such as cataract and age related macular degeneration.