May 202011

[photo-watercress cruciferous vegetable]


Ingredient Name: Watercress

Ingredient Name in Chinese: 西洋菜 (Xī yáng cài)


  • Watercress is a fast-growing aquatic plant native to central Asia and Europe.  It grows so fast that the edible shoots are harvested only a few days after germination.
  • This vegetable belongs to the cabbage family, and is one of the oldest leaf-vegetables consumed by humans.
  • Watercress can be a breeding ground for parasites if grown in an environment where animal wastes are present.
  • When buying watercress, look for ones that do not have flower blooms.  This vegetable becomes bitter in taste once it begins to flower.

Watercress Uses and Health Benefits:

  • Known as a nutrient-dense superfood, watercress contains significant amounts of iron, calcium, folic acid, potassium, vitamins A, C, E and K.
  • Watercress also contains high amounts of antioxidants and disease-fighting phytochemicals like isothiocyanates.
  • The American Association of Cancer Research published in its journal that cruciferous vegetables, specifically watercress, appears to stop human prostate cancer cells from growing in mice.
  • Watercress is also known to be beneficial for those with hypothyroidism since its high iodine content strengthens the thyroid gland.
  • In Chinese medicine, watercress is a valued food remedy known to nourish and remove excess heatiness.
  • Watercress can be eaten raw or cooked, although in Asia it is often consumed cooked or in soups.  Other uses of watercress are in salads, sandwiches, and dips.
  • See a list of soup recipes using watercress.


  • Watercress should be washed thoroughly in cool water, especially if it is to be eaten raw.
  • If the sprigs are long, cut them to shorter edible sizes before cooking.

Where to Buy:

  • Watercress can be found in Asian grocery stores and in many mainstream supermarkets.
  • Fresh watercress is also available online.

How do you use your watercress? Leave a comment below and share your ideas.

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Resources and further reading: Wikipedia,

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