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Last month, research at William Paterson University in New Jersey ranked 41 powerhouse fruits and vegetables based on their nutritional composition. Guess the name of the vegetable that topped the list? No, it wasn’t kale or carrots which were hailed super foods recently –  it was watercress. 

Here are five reasons why you should make watercress part of your diet: 

Brain, circulation and skin. Watercress is an excellent source of vitamin K, which limits neuronal damage in the brain, and is believed to treat the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease. The vitamin also performs the vital function of blood clotting and consequently prevents haemorrhaging. Recent research suggests that vitamin K helps improve insulin resistance and protects the cells that line blood vessels. It also helps keep your skin smooth and wrinkle-free.

Bones. Due to the presence of calcium, magnesium, manganese, along with vitamins A, C and K, watercress helps maintain healthy bones and is believed to prevent osteoporosis.

Eyesight. Phytonutrients, vitamin A and zinc maintain and improve your vision and help you adjust easily to varying degrees
of light.

Heart. Vitamins C and K protect against cardiovascular disease, while calcium plays a pivotal role in maintaining your heart muscles and, consequently,
heart rhythm.

General wellness. Due to its high vitamin C content, watercress protects your immune system and keeps colds, fatigue, depression and anxiety at bay; the vitamin also improves digestion. It also contains anti-oxidants and minerals that neutralise ‘free radicals that cause degenerative diseases (such as cancer) that damage the body’s cells and tissues and cause premature aging. Research suggests that compounds in watercress may have anti-cancer properties.

If all of this was not enough, watercress can be applied topically (in the form of an oil, infusion or tincture) to help you fight dandruff and eczema, and prevent hair loss.

– Dr Samia Babar                                                                                                    The writer is Director,Wellness Society.

First published in the ADBUZZZZ Section of The DAWN National Weekend Advertiser on August 24, 2014.