Wednesday, August 2, 2023

The Super Greens: Spotlight on Watercress and its Health Benefits + A Dinner Recipe to Make it Shine


In the realm of superfoods, the humble watercress often gets overshadowed by its more popular cousins, kale and spinach. But this verdant green powerhouse, with its crisp, peppery bite and versatility in dishes, deserves its rightful place on the superfood stage.  It also was declared like the best food ever recently!


Watercress: A Nutritional Powerhouse

Watercress, a leafy green belonging to the cruciferous vegetable family, is packed to the brim with nutritional goodness. One serving delivers more than a day's worth of Vitamin K, significant amounts of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, calcium, manganese, and potassium, and it's a surprisingly good source of protein too!


Beyond these essential nutrients, watercress is also rich in antioxidants, compounds that help protect your cells against damage from harmful free radicals. In fact, watercress contains more than fifteen essential vitamins and minerals, more so than the likes of apples, broccoli, and tomatoes.


Health Benefits of Watercress


Boosts Immune System: Watercress, rich in Vitamin C, aids in boosting the immune system, making you more resistant to common illnesses.


Bone Health: The high Vitamin K content in watercress contributes to bone health, aiding in calcium absorption and reducing the risk of osteoporosis.


Cancer Prevention: Watercress contains glucosinolates which may help to reduce the risk of developing certain types of cancer.


Eye Health: Being high in lutein and zeaxanthin, two antioxidants linked to eye health, watercress can help prevent age-related macular degeneration and cataracts.


Heart Health: The potassium in watercress helps maintain healthy blood pressure levels, and the dietary nitrates it contains have been shown to reduce blood pressure, decrease arterial stiffness, and improve the function of cells lining the blood vessels.


A Starlit Dinner Recipe: Watercress Salad with Grilled Chicken and Orange Vinaigrette

Now that we've touted its health benefits, let's make watercress the star of a delicious, nutritious dinner dish!


Ingredients:


  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 bunches of fresh watercress, washed and dried
  • 2 oranges
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup of sliced almonds
  • 1/2 cup of crumbled goat cheese

Instructions:


  • Preheat your grill or grill pan over medium-high heat. Season your chicken breasts on both sides with salt and pepper and lightly brush with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Once your grill is heated, add the chicken and grill for about 6-7 minutes on each side, until the chicken is cooked through and no longer pink in the middle. Remove from the grill and set aside.

  • While the chicken is grilling, prepare your vinaigrette. Zest and juice one of the oranges into a small bowl. To the bowl, add the honey, Dijon mustard, a pinch of salt and pepper, and slowly whisk in 1/4 cup of olive oil until emulsified.

  • Peel the second orange and slice into thin rounds. Slice the grilled chicken into thin strips.

  • In a large bowl, combine the watercress, sliced oranges, and grilled chicken. Drizzle the vinaigrette over top, tossing to ensure everything is well coated. Top with the sliced almonds and crumbled goat cheese.

  • Serve immediately, and enjoy the peppery bite of the watercress against the sweetness of the orange and the savoriness of the grilled chicken. A perfect combination!


With its peppery flavor and dense nutritional content, watercress truly is a star among superfoods. Incorporate it into your diet, and your body will thank you for it. Bon app├ętit!

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