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10 Most Effective Foods for Cleanse and Detox - #10 - Watercress

Friday, April 19, 2013

Spring, a great time to refresh, recharge and renew ...

tells us that there are many foods that can help counteract the effects of a toxic lifestyle. Whether you want to lose weight, feel more energized, improve your complexion or boost your mood, check out these top 10 foods to help detox your body.

#10 - Watercress

Like most green herbs and vegetables, watercress is an excellent health-booster and detox food. Firstly, watercress leaves are packed with many vital detoxifying nutrients, including several B vitamins, zinc, potassium, vitamin E and vitamin C.

Secondly, watercress has natural diuretic properties, which can help to flush toxins out the body. To reap the benefits of this nutritious food, try adding a handful of watercress to salads, soups and sandwiches.

tells us that
- Watercress (Rorripa nasturtium acquaticum ) is a member of the mustard family and is believed to have originated in Ancient Greece and remains an integral part of Mediterranean diets.
- Up to the renaissance, this spunky member of the mustard family was esteemed as a breath freshener and palate cleanser, as well as for medical purposes.
- According to the book 'James Cook and the Conquest of Scurvy', Captain James Cook was able to circumnavigate the globe three times, due in part, to his use of watercress in his sailors diets.
- Watercress is mentioned so often as an ingredient in detox vegetable juice recipes and as a cure for a variety of ills, that it could virtually be viewed as a staple part of the regime for those wishing to juice their way to health.
- The American Indian used watercress for liver and kidney trouble and to dissolve kidney stones. It is rich in iron and other valuable mineral elements and its blood purifying and system cleansing properties cause it to be used extensively as a blood purifier.
- J.E. Meyers, Botanical Gardens of Hammond, Indiana informs us that watercress is one of the best sources of vitamin E. This is the fertility vitamin, helping the body to use oxygen, which increases physical endurance and stamina and improves heart response.
- Anglo-Saxons swore by watercress potage to 'spring clean' the blood.
- One of Britain's best known dishes, watercress soup, became very popular in the 17th century when it was claimed to cleanse the blood.
- The herbalist John Gerard extolled watercress as an anti-scorbutic (remedy for scurvy) as early as 1636. No doubt in those days it was far easier to come by than oranges - a foreign extravagance.
- When Hippocrates founded the first hospital on the Island of Kos around 400 BC, he grew wild watercress in the natural springs and used it to treat blood disorders.
- As a medicinal plant, watercress has been traditionally considered a diuretic, expectorant, purgative, stimulant, stomachic and tonic. It has also been used as a remedy against anemia, eczema, kidney and liver disorders, tuberculosis, boils, warts and tumors.
- In the 21st century, scientists are discovering that watercress may indeed have properties to counteract the effects of smoking. Its cruciferous nature may even help prevent lung diseases, such as emphysema and cancer. In addition to vitamins A, C and E, watercress contains gluconasturtin (only released when the leaves are chopped or chewed), which helps neutralize a carcinogen in tobacco.
-This delicious and natural "super food" has been grown commercially in the pure spring waters of southern England since the early 1800s. Commercial p roduction in the United States began in about 1850.
- In England, watercress used to be a staple part of the working class diet, most often eaten for breakfast in a sandwich. If the family was too poor to buy bread they ate it by itself and so watercress became known as the "poor man's bread."
- Folic Acid has been shown to help prevent birth defects when consumed by pregnant women. Watercress has 150% more folic acid than broccoli and tops the list of recommended greens.
- Watercress has more iron than spinach, more calcium than milk and three times as much Vitamin E as lettuce. It’s packed with vitamins A and C, and is low in calories.


Fennel and Watercress Salad

Makes 20 servings

1/2 cup chopped dried cranberries
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
6 bunches watercress - rinsed, dried and trimmed
3 bulbs fennel - trimmed, cored and thinly sliced
3 small heads radicchio, cored and chopped
1 cup pecan halves, toasted

1. In a bowl, combine the cranberries, red wine vinegar, balsamic vinegar, garlic and salt. Whisk in the olive oil.
2. In a large salad bowl, combine the watercress, fennel, radicchio and pecans. Stir the vinaigrette and pour over salad. Toss well and serve at once.

(If you would like to make a smaller amount, go to the above recipe link and there is "Change Servings" link.)

Nutritional info per serving:
Calories - 178
Total Fat - 15.4g
Saturated Fat - 1.9g
Cholesterol - 0
Sodium - 202mg
Potassium - 514mg
Total Carbohydrates - 8.9g
Dietary Fibre - 2.4g
Protein - 3.1g
Sugars - 3g
Vitamin A - 49%
Vitamin C - 65%
Calcium - 15%
Iron - 8%
Thiamin - 11%
Niacin - 9%
Vitamin B6 - 9%
Magnesium - 12%
Folate - 20%

And with that, this series is finished! Next series will be on foods that help lower cholesterol.

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