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Watercress: The Veggie That Helps Prevent Damage Caused by Workouts
Plus: how to select, store, and cook the leafy vegetable.
By Melissa Romero
Eating watercress before a tough workout can help prevent damage caused to our bodies from high-intensity exercise. Photograph courtesy of Flickr user wikioticslan.
Comments () | Published May 1, 2012

Watercress may often be used as a garnish, but think twice before you toss it away.

Like most cruciferous vegetables, watercress is a nutritional powerhouse, says registered dietitian Sonja Goedkoop. Not only is the slightly bitter, peppery veggie extremely low in calories (one cup of raw watercress has just four calories), but it’s packed with vitamins A, C, and K, thiamin, folate, and calcium.

Even more promising, watercress has been proven to prevent damage caused by high-intensity exercise if eaten two hours before. Goedkoop explains that the veggie is also high in plant phytochemicals called glucosinolates, which help the body prevent disease.

How to select: “For better taste and longer-lasting watercress, select bunches with crisp, green leaves that aren’t wilted,” says Goedkoop. You’ll find them at the store sold in small bunches with small, leafy green parts attached to stems.

How to store: Remove any damaged or wilted leaves from the bunch, then store them in the vegetable crisper drawer of the refrigerator for three or so days. "It will last longer--up to five days--if kept with the stems submerged in a glass of fresh water," Goedkoop says.

How to prepare: Wash and rinse with cold water. Trim off the tough stems.

How to cook: Watercress is most commonly eaten raw, Goedkoop says, so use the leaves in a salad, as a topping on a sandwich, or as a garnish for meals. "It can also be cooked by sautéing it in a small amount of olive oil for about two minutes, just until the leaves begin to wilt."

Recipes to try:

Black Bean Soup With Avocado and Watercress

Beet and Tangerine Salad With Cranberry Dressing

Soba With Salmon and Watercress


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  • drl3

    >Personal Training: unsweetened Green Tea is my "Water" too !

  • drl3

    my favorite way to eat watercress was shown to me by a Chinese friend- lightly sautee the watercress with a little sesame oil and a couple drops of Oyster Sauce (in a bottle by the soy sauce area). Simple and good !

  • Cardio is my favorite exercises and i use to go for everyday morning walk, Drinking green tea, i use to drink it twice a day really keeps me fit and healthy all the day long has vitamin C and anti-oxidant for cancer, diabetes, and away from heart stroke, increase strength and stamina.

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Posted at 04:00 PM/ET, 05/01/2012 RSS | Print | Permalink | Comments () | Blogs