Watercress: Not Just for Dainty Sandwiches Anymore!
Watercress is one of those superfoods that gets overlooked quite a lot as a good source for healthy eating. It is a power-packed herb that has many properties that help with diabetes and other illnesses. Watercress contains a host of vitamins: vitamin A, vitamin E, vitamin C, iron, phosphorus, copper, and calcium. It helps lower blood sugar levels, cholesterol levels, and fights cancer.
Watercress Stops Diabetes in Its Tracks
Watercress has a combination of vitamins and minerals that helps to lower blood sugar levels and lowers the dependence on insulin. Studies have shown that consuming watercress on a regular basis helps to reduce the insulin dependency of diabetes patients by about 10-20%. Watercress also increases the natural defenses and immune responses in diabetes sufferers. This helps boost the immune system and its healing processes.
Watercress works on the pancreas by stimulating insulin production and blood sugar levels. It is packed with complex carbohydrates which considerably reduce the amount of insulin required by the body. Experts have found that eating watercress with a meal increases the pancreas’ ability to monitor blood sugar levels and helps to prevent the blood sugar spikes that are often seen when a diabetic consumes a meal. Studies have also shown that diabetics should eat at least 3-4 servings of watercress a week to give the best benefits. So, it’s time to be adventurous and finally try some watercress.
Watercress Has the Peppery Goodness That Can Bring Your Dishes to LifeMost people have maybe heard of watercress, but most have not eaten the stuff. It’s that leafy-looking bunch of greens that we see in the produce section, but never reach out to purchase because we just have no clue what to do with it. Have no fear. There are many ideas on how you can include this little green gem into your menu and help your diabetes at the same time.
Watercress has a clean and peppery taste. It is very similar to the flavor of horseradish because it has that spicy heat with a little burn. Watercress can be bitter if it is allowed to flower, so if you are growing it yourself, be sure to pick it before it blooms.
Now that we know what watercress is and what it tastes like, we can plan some delicious ways to enjoy it. Watercress can be cooked or eaten raw. It can even be dried to use as a dried herb. When it is dried, it takes on a whole different aroma and taste. The smell is floral and is often compared to a floral vanilla.
Raw watercress can be eaten in salads. Mixed with other greens, it gives a great punch to that boring old lettuce. You can also mix chopped watercress in homemade salad dressings and sandwich spreads. This provides a spicy taste to your dressings, dips, and spreads.
Many people enjoy watercress sandwiches — well, at least those who are Martha Stewart junkies. It truly is not that bad. Watercress is mixed with cream cheese or butter and spread on soft bread that is topped with fresh cucumbers.
Watercress is added to soups and stews. It can be put in whole if it is picked early or chopped if it is more leafy. The leaves and stems give a great peppery kick to hot dishes. It can also be used fresh as a garnish on top of a bowl of soup or stew.
Experts have found that making a tea of watercress gives the herb even more healing power. You can place watercress in the cup with your normal tea bag and let it steep along with your tea. You can also chop and bruise the leaves and place them in a small piece of cheesecloth to make a pure watercress tea.
Watercress can even be chopped up in fruit salads. It goes well with melons and citrus. It is important to make sure that you use it in small amounts so as not to overpower the fruit dish.
Pick the Best Watercress to Improve Your Recipes and Your Health
It is important to understand how to choose the best watercress. Since watercress is a water plant, most of the time you will see it with its roots intact and sitting in water. This is the best way to purchase the herb to ensure that it is of the freshest quality.
When purchasing watercress, you should not choose herbs that appear to be blooming. If you see flowers or buds on the watercress, do not purchase it as it will have a terribly bitter taste that will not be appetizing. You should try to look for watercress that has been picked young. It should have small stems and small leaves. This produces the best flavor with a mild hint of pepperiness.
When purchasing watercress, make sure that the leaves are not browning or wilting. This can mean that the plant is past its prime and not good for eating. The leaves should be bright green and silky and the stalks should be a bright whitish green and they should be flexible.
Another key to picking the best watercress is to smell it. It should have a fresh aroma with a peppery smell. You should notice only the fresh green smell of it and nothing else. Watercress that is truly picked fresh has very little aroma, but does have a fresh scent that you notice right away.
Growing watercress is also a great option for having fresh watercress available for your meals. It is important that you grow watercress in a contained area that can not be accessed by animals. You should preferably grow it inside in pots. Never pick wild watercress and consume it, as it can be infested with the liver fluke and this is not something that you want in your system.
So go to the store or farmer’s market today and pick up some fresh watercress. You will enjoy its great taste and many health benefits.