Leafy green vegetables like kale are undoubtedly good for you: they’re loaded with vitamins, minerals and amino acids, fiber, protein and even healthy fats. But, it turns out there may be a green vegetable that’s healthier than kale. Yes, something healthier than kale. Say hello to watercress.
Touted as the hot vegetable topping the food trends predicted for 2015, it turns out that the delicate, peppery watercress is a seriously healthy food too, way healthier than kale.
That’s the finding of a study published in the Centers for Disease Control’s Chronic Disease Prevention journal. Researchers out of William Paterson University in New Jersey ranked more than 40 fruits and vegetables based on the presence of 17 critical nutrients, including fiber, protein, calcium, potassium, B12, folate, vitamin A and more. (Not only did watercress rank at the very top, kale wasn’t even in the top ten.)
More closely related to its wild food roots than modern kale varieties, watercress typically grows near water—streambeds, mostly. But now, thanks to hydroponics and greenhouses, watercress has become widely available in most health food stores and supermarkets. Resembling its wild ancestors more than kale (or most supermarket vegetables for that matter) is why it’s so superior. Cultivated foods have been bred to reduce bitter flavors, which humans don’t like so much. But those bitter flavors, like in watercress, are where many of the nutrients are. Which is why it’s no surprise that the nutritious benefits of watercress are through the roof.
Similar to arugula, it has a spicy, peppery flavor that makes it an excellent addition to salads and sandwiches. But it can also be cooked—add it at the last minute to a soup or stew recipe, toss in with pasta, pilaf or risotto. You can also add fresh watercress to your pre- or post-workout smoothies for a spicy nutritious kick.
Image via French Tart
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