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Overview

The Cress plant features small, oval, deep green succulent leaves with high moisture content. Cress leaves feature sharp; peppery and slightly sour taste somewhat like mustard greens and garden cress (Lepidium sativum).

Racemes of small white flowers appear on Cress in summer which turns in to small pods containing two rows of seeds.

Ripe Cress seeds are also edible.

History

The correct name for watercress is nasturtium officinale and it belongs to the family Cruciferea.

Cress is native to Europe and Asia, common in Great Britain and widely naturalized in the United States and Canada. It has also been introduced into the West Indies and South America. Nasturtium officinale is called watercress in Great Britain and America, Brunnenkress in Germany, Crescione in Italy, and Nerokarthamon in Greece.

As a matter of record, the Greek name Kardamon, broadly translated, means head subdoer and it was thought in ancient Greek in times that Watercress would cure a deranged mind.

Watercress is the most ancient of green vegetables known to man and its use can be traced back to the Persians, Greeks and Romans. In fact, a famous Persian chronicler advised Persians to feed cress to their children to improve bodily growth. He also strongly recommended its use to the Greek and Persians soldiers of that time. Although these eminent rulers knew nothing of such matters as mineral content and vitamins, they did observe that their soldiers were in better condition when this plant was made part of will and diet.

Benefits

This rich flavoured green leafy vegetable is a store house of many phytonutrients that have health promotional and disease prevention properties.

Nutritional Profile

Water Cress is a rich source of minerals like copper, calcium, potassium, magnesium, manganese and phosphorus.

Potassium in an important component of cell and body fluids that helps controlling heart rate and blood pressure by countering effects of sodium.

Manganese is used by the body as a co-factor for the antioxidant enzyme superoxide dismutase.

Calcium is required as bone/teeth mineral and in the regulation of heart and skeletal muscle activity.

It is also rich in B-complex group of vitamins such as riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B-6 (pyridoxine), thiamin and pantothenic acid that are essential for optimum cellular metabolic functions.

Disclaimer

The information provided is for educational purposes only and must not be taken or interpreted as a suggestion or as medical advise.

If you have any medical conditions, you should consult your health care professional.

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