Nutritional information >
Natural goodness that’s packed with vitamin C and calcium
|Watercress Contains||Per 100g||RDA%|
|Vitamin A||300 mcg||44%|
(cow’s milk: 120mg/100g)
Really natural stuff...
Watercress is an excellent natural food. It contains more Vitamin C than fresh oranges and more calcium that cow’s milk. It also contains iron and beta carotene, which the body converts to Vitamin A, as well as being a good source of Vitamin E. In fact, it’s one of the best ‘ACE’ foods available: Vitamins A, C and E are antioxidants which help to neutralise the harmful effects of ‘free radicals’ – chemicals produced by modern living that are all around us, which can damage our tissues without us knowing anything about it.
Watercress also contains high quantities of a substance called gluconasturtiin. When chewed, this constituent of watercress releases another compound , phenylethylglucosinolate (PEITC). Scientists** working on cancer-prevention programmes have shown that PEITC can neutralise specific cancer – forming agents in tobacco smoke, during tests on human volunteers. This is the only research so far to have indicated a direct effect as a result of vegetable consumption. Its effectiveness is best released when the plant is chewed or pounded – the pesto recipe inside this booklet is an ideal use.
The many benefits of watercress have been recognised since ancient times. Roman Emperors ate it to help them make bold ‘decisions’. Anglo-Saxons swore by watercress potage to ‘spring-clean’ the blood. Victorians thought the plant was a cure for toothache, hiccups and even freckles! The juice pressed from watercress was used for gravies to accompany roast meats in medieval France. In the early 1800’s watercress sandwiches were the traditional breakfast fare for London workmen. By 1808, demand was outstripping supply and proper cultivation of watercress began. Hampshire and the chalk belts of Southern England, where clear springs rise from deep underground, offered perfect conditions for watercress.
With the coming of railways, trade from Hampshire grew so much that the line between Alresford and London, became known as the ‘Watercress Line’. Watercress still thrives today in the mineral-rich waters, drawn from the chalk springs in the southern counties of Southern England. It is a refreshing thought that the watercress we eat now is from a plant that has hardly changed since the days of the Ancient Romans.
* Source: Reading Scientific Services Ltd, Reading Berks ** Research by Dr Stephen Hecht et al, : Effects of Watercress Consumption on Metabolism of a Tobacco-specific Lung Carcinogen in Smokers: American Health Foundation, Valhalla, New York
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