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Nutrient-dense Watercress

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Whether used in a soup, salad or sandwich, watercress adds a distinctive peppery flavor, along with a host of health benefits, to any dish.

This spring, you might consider picking up some watercress at your local grocery store or farmers market. This pungent herb is easy to prepare and pairs nicely with sweet fruits and savory meats, such as beef and lamb. In addition to its intense flavor, watercress is also one of the few foods with a perfect score on the Aggregate Nutrient Density Index.

Watercress is an excellent source of iron, calcium, and vitamins A, C and K, the latter of which is an essential micronutrient for bone health. The herb is also a natural source of lutein and zeaxanthin, two carotenoid nutrients with the ability to protect vision and support cardiovascular health.

University of Ulster scientists found that watercress protects DNA against damage and may lower the risk of prostate, colon and breast cancer. It also may counteract certain processes by which cancers multiply and spread. Uncooked watercress may have greater cancer-fighting power than cooked watercress, as cooking inactivates the enzyme that is responsible for the beneficial phytochemicals with anti-cancer effects.

Watercress Salad With Strawberries and Hazelnuts

2 bunches watercress, washed and trimmed
1/2 cup red onion, thinly sliced
1 cup fresh strawberries, sliced
1/4 cup roasted hazelnuts, chopped
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons honey
A pinch of salt and freshly ground pepper


In a small bowl, combine olive oil, vinegar, honey, salt and pepper, and stir until the salt is completely dissolved.

Next, place the watercress, strawberries, onion and hazelnuts in a bowl, then pour the dressing over and toss to coat.

Nutritional Information (per serving)
Servings: 4
Calories: 151
Fat: 9.8g
Carbohydrates: 15.5g
Protein: 2.9g
Sodium: 19.5mg

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