Watercress: Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits

Watercress: Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits


The name watercress might not be familiar with many people.

However, in fact, watercress has emerged as a medicine lately, rather than a mere leafy green vegetable.

It is a member of the vegetable family cruciferous with some other common names such as broccoli or kale.

The use of watercress in the medical treatment was practised by Hippocrates.

In the 19th century, watercress became a part of the daily diet of English working class.

Its part in the culinary world is not significant as it appears often in poor men’s meals.

Nevertheless, if you have a chance to examine watercress nutrition, you will come to realize that this vegetable provides such amazing health benefits.

Nutrition Facts

Watercress: Nutrition Facts

The main content of raw watercress is water with over 95 percent (1).

It is a low calorie vegetable and the amounts of fat and carbs in it are minimal as well.

Perhaps the most important thing in watercress nutrition facts is its role as an excellent source of minerals and vitamins.

The amount of vitamin C in watercress even exceeds that in orange.

Watercress also contains a higher amount of calcium than milk which we often consider as the most popular source of this mineral.

In addition, in terms of folate, watercress beats banana.

When it comes to iron content, spinach is left behind as well.

Some interesting comparions make watercress nutrition really attractive, don’t they?

But it is not everything.

Watercress also provides many other important substances, such as vitamins A, B6 or magnesium, phosphorus…

Health Benefits of Watercress

Surpassing many other excellent vegetables and fruits in the nutritional value, watercress has many important applications.

Below are top 6 health benefits of watercress that we can rely on.

1. Bone Health

One of the best benefits of watercress is to help you prevent osteoporosis, a common bone-related problem.

Undeniably, the richness of calcium in watercress is beneficial for the bone health at every age (2).

This mineral takes part in the process of increasing bone density.

One of the main purposes of getting enough calcium from meals every day is to prevent bone loss that happens along with aging.

Some other minerals, such as phosphorus or iron, that are present in watercress are good for your bones, especially if you want to avoid osteoporosis (345).

Furthermore, folate in watercress also contributes to the good conditions of your bones and the osteoporosis prevention (67).

In fact, not only elderly people, but also post-menopausal women are likely to experience osteoporosis (8).

And folate might have help the latter prevent this problem more efficiently.

Bottom Line: Watercress that is rich in calcium, folate, and other minerals has protective effects against osteoporosis.

2. Cancer Prevention

Watercress: Cancer Prevention

With many phytonutrients, one of the greatest health benefits of watercress is to lower the risk of cancer.

Most studies recommend that the daily intake of over 80 grams of watercress would generate positive outcomes.

Watercress, along with other cruciferous vegetables, contains phytochemical compounds that encourage the body to enhance cellular protection (9).

Some antioxidants in watercress, such as beta-carotene or lutein (which carrots contain much), have the anti-carcinogenic quality, which is beneficial for cancer prevention (10).

On the other hand, vitamin C is an important part in the fight against oxidative stress.

Vitamin C possesses the anti-tumor property as well (1112).

Folate is another contributor to this benefit. In fact, even though you increase your intake of folate day by day, it is not harmful at all.

Folate is good for women who want to stay away from breast cancer (13).

Bottom Line: Watercress provides a wide range of nutrients beneficial for preventing cancer.

3. Rich in Folate

Not only the bones but also many other body parts might profit from one of the brighest stars in watercress nutrition.

Folate is necessary to lower the risk of birth defects (141516).

Many studies have supported the idea that a high intake of folate will protect babies from neural tube defects (1718).

Besides, another common application of folate is to cope with depression (19).

Some research suggested that about 800 microg of folic acid on a daily basis would have tremendous effects on the depression treatment (20).

Bottom Line: The presence of folate in watercress might provide a series of health benefits, from preventing birth defects to fighting depression.

4. Diabetes

With the presence of alpha-lipoic acid in its content, one of top health benefits of watercress is to promote the diabetes treatment (2122).

This antioxidant is effective to reduce your glucose levels, raise the insulin sensitivity as well as protect diabetic patients from oxidative stress .

Research on the effectiveness of alpha-lipoic acid indicated that it might reduce peripheral neuropathy (23).

5. Cardiovascular Health

One of the most important benefits of watercress is to strengthen your cardiovascular system.

Most cruciferous vegetables serve as active agents in the reduction in LDL cholesterol, which lowers the risk of chronic heart diseases.

Vitamin C in watercress also matters in this issue as it prevents oxidative stress which might damage your heart tissues.

6. Brain

The last among top benefits of watercress is to promote cognitive function.

It supplies a huge amount of vitamin C that has positive impacts on the prevention against cognitive issues, such as Alzheimer’s (24252627).

Besides, folate plays a crucial role in the good function of your brain as well (2829).

One study pointed out the link between the lack of folate and a higer risk of cognitive impairment (30).

Bottom Line: With a high concentration of nutrients, watercress is a great booster for your neural function.

Side Effects

In general, watercress causes no hazard to everyone’s health.

However, watercress should not be used during the baby’s first six months.

Additionally, the excessive use of watercress may trigger stomach problems in some cases.

For the sake of your health, it is a better idea to consult doctors or experts first.


This section is designed to provide you with some infographics to grab a quick understanding of watercress nutrition and health benefits.

Do you agree with all of these amazing health benefits of watercress? You can comment your ideas on the box below or simply share your own experience.

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(One Quick Tip: You can pin it onto Pinterest directly with the button on the left top of each picture).

Watercress Nutrition Facts

Watercress Health Benefits

Watercress Health Benefits

Watercress Side Effects

Disclaim: The effectiveness from using these foods on certain problems and diseases will be depended on the body condition of the applicant.

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  1. Heya i’m for the first time here. I found this board and I find It really useful & it helped me out a lot. I hope to give something back and help others like you helped me.

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