Cress: The spicy herb

Spring time is also cress time! The garden cress (Lepidium sativum) belongs to the Kreuzblütengewächsen and lends a spicy kick to our favorite dishes every year. Cress not only tastes great, it’s also absolutely healthy! In Ayurvedic medicine, this small plant has been used as a medicinal plant for hundreds of years thanks to its anti-inflammatory and analgesic effect.

The cress convinces with its ingredients

Garden cress has a surprisingly high nutrient density and, by the way, also provides a wide range of phytochemicals. This unique combination can help alleviate many ailments and prevent illnesses.

Here is a small overview of the main nutrients of cress:

Cress (100g)Daily requirement (DGE *)Cress covers from daily needs:
Vitamin A (Retinol Equivalent)365 μg900 µg= 40,6%
Beta-carotene2190 µg2000 µg= 109,5%
Folic acid110 µg400 µg= 27,5 %
Vitamin C59.000 µg100,000 μg= 59,0 %
Calcium214 mg1000 mg= 21,4%
Iron2900 µg12500 µg= 23,2%

* DGE – German Nutrition Society

Positive effects of cress on health

Thanks to its high nutrient density, garden cress, when taken in sufficient quantities, offers numerous health benefits. The cress:

  • Supports eyesight: The vitamin A contained in the watercress promotes the vision of the eye and thus improves the vision in the dark. The very high amount of beta-carotene additionally protects the eye from diseases such as cataracts and diseases of the retina.
  • Promotes a healthy immune system: The high levels of vitamin A and C in it support the immune system. Vitamin C boosts the production of white blood cells and helps the body to defend itself against harmful bacteria. Vitamin A makes it difficult for pathogens to penetrate the body, ensuring strong mucous membranes in the nose, mouth, throat and lungs. Vitamin A and C are thus an unbeatable team in the defence against bacteria.
  • Ensures a healthy heart and healthy arteries: High intake of vitamin C through the diet prevents the accumulation of cholesterol in the arteries. The high proportion of vitamin K in the cress ensures at the same time that calcium does not deposit on the arterial walls. This is especially important as calcium at this point can cause arterial walls to lose their elasticity. This promotes long-term the development of strokes or heart attacks
    ⠀ .
  • Maintains bone health: The vitamin K contained in the cress not only ensures that the calcium absorbed in the diet does not accumulate in the arteries. Vitamin K even directs calcium to the right places in the body. A sufficient supply of calcium then ensures that bones and teeth remain stable and resistant. In this way, the risk of broken bones and osteoporosis can be reduced.
  • Prevents holes in teeth and ensures healthy gums: “Gluconasturtiin” is responsible for the subtle sharpness of cress and gives it this distinctive taste. At the same time, this substance has an antibacterial effect. This makes it difficult for harmful bacteria in the mouth to settle. In this way, sufficient intake of cress ensures healthy teeth and healthy gums.
  • A helpful way to prevent cancer: The “Gluconasturtiin” contained in cress not only has an antibacterial effect. Studies have found that the substance can also prevent the production of certain cancer-causing enzymes. In addition, vitamin C with its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties has a positive effect on the development of cancer.
  • Relieves menstrual cramps: The unique combination of a comparatively high amount of vitamin K and the secondary plant substances of cress supports the production of estrogen. Sufficient estrogen levels are important in regulating menstruation. When consumed in adequate quantities, garden cress can have a positive effect on menstrual problems in this way.
  • Helps with hyperthyroidism: Our garden cress contains “Isothiocyanates” an extraordinary active ingredient. It is known under the generic term “mustard oil” which ensures that not too much iodine enters the thyroid gland² in the case of hyperthyroidism. The thyroid then succeeds to calm down, and the entire body can thus come to rest.

The familiar cress is not only delicious but also a real herb! Doing something good for your own health can be so easy and delicious, with an abundance of recipes. How about a delightful cress soup or a mixed salad with a lot of garden cress?

Source disclosures:

Athena Theel

Athena studies Chinese & Economics at the University of Cologne. Having spent many years in China and Japan, she has developed an interest in holistic medicine. Based on her interest, Athena joined Sri Sri Tattva as a content writer, social media manager and translator.
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