If you’re looking to optimize your diet with nutrient-dense superfoods, look no further than watercress. According to the Center for Disease Control & Prevention’s list of powerhouse fruits and vegetables (PFV), watercress is the most nutrient-dense vegetable in the world.
Let’s take a closer look at this nutritional gem, where to find it, and eight delicious ways you can add it to your diet.
How Watercress Became The Healthiest Vegetable in The World
The CDC assigns nutrient density scores to what they call powerhouse fruits and vegetables (PFV), which is defined on the basis of nutrient and phytochemical constituents, including 17 important nutrients. Some of these nutrients include vitamins A, C, D, E, K, and B12, as well as protein, calcium, and iron, to name some.
The produce with the highest ranking nutrient density scores included cruciferous and leafy greens; however, there was only one vegetable that received a nutrient density score of 100, and that was watercress.
Why are these scores important? Powerhouse fruits and vegetables (PFV) are strongly associated with reduced disease risk, and understanding which foods rank the highest is a great tool to help us better understand which foods to prioritize in our diets.
What is Watercress & Why is it so Healthy?
Watercress is a leafy green vegetable that has been hailed for its exceptional nutritional profile. It’s low in calories but packed with vitamins and minerals, including vitamin K, vitamin C, vitamin A, calcium, and iron. Watercress also contains powerful antioxidants that help neutralize harmful free radicals in the body, possibly reducing the risk of chronic diseases.
Watercress also happens to be a rich source of dietary fiber, making it a great superfood for supporting digestion and helping support regularity.
What Does Watercress Taste Like?
Watercress has a unique and peppery flavor that sets it apart from many other leafy greens. It offers a slight bitterness coupled with a tangy and spicy taste. Some people might even describe it as having a mustard-like zest.
Where to Find Watercress
Want to get your hands on this nutrient-dense powerhouse? The good news is that watercress is a fairly common leafy green, so you can usually find it in various places. Try looking at your local grocery store, farmer’s market, or local health food stores.
If you can’t find watercress, you can also consider growing your own! It’s considered to be a relatively easy plant to grow, and can be a fun way to ensure a fresh, regular supply.
Best Ways to Eat Watercress
The texture of watercress is crisp, providing a pleasant crunch when fresh. The combination of texture and taste makes it a popular addition to salads, sandwiches, and soups.
8 Delicious Ways to Add Watercress to Your Diet
#1 Watercress Salad
Toss fresh watercress with cherry tomatoes, avocado, thinly sliced radishes, and a light lemon vinaigrette for a refreshing and nutrient-packed salad.
#2 Watercress Soup
Blend cooked watercress with potatoes, onions, and broth to create a velvety and flavorful soup. Garnish with a dollop of sour cream for extra richness.
#3 Watercress Sandwich
Layer watercress with smoked salmon or turkey, avocado oil-based mayonnaise, and whole grain bread for a tasty and satisfying sandwich.
#4 Watercress Stir-Fry
Sauté watercress with garlic, ginger, and your favorite vegetables like bell peppers and carrots. Add tofu or shrimp for protein, and finish with coconut aminos for a quick and healthy stir-fry.
#5 Watercress Pesto
Replace basil with watercress in your favorite pesto recipe for a peppery twist. Great for pasta, sandwiches, or as a marinade for grilled meats.
#6 Watercress Omelet
Whisk watercress with eggs, cheese, and diced tomatoes for a nutrient-dense omelet that’s perfect for breakfast or brunch.
#7 Watercress Juice or Smoothie
Blend watercress with fruits like apple, pineapple, or cucumber, and a touch of ginger or mint for a refreshing and nutrient-packed beverage.
#8 Grilled Watercress
Lightly brush watercress with olive oil and grill briefly. Serve alongside grilled meats or fish.
Watercress: A Nutritional Gem
Whether you’re looking for new nutrient-dense superfoods to add to your diet or you’re already a big watercress fan, this vegetable is certainly a nutritional powerhouse we should consider enjoying more often. If you’ve never had watercress before, consider experimenting with different ways to add it to your diet. Its zesty flavor and crunchy texture makes it a welcome addition to so many dishes and the perfect addition to a well-balanced diet.