Have you ever wondered what those sea plants could be useful for? Many a time we neglected such wonderful blessings of nature. So today, I would like to take you through the various health benefits of watercress juice. I do believe that after reading through this article, you would want to visit the nearby swamp and fetch a good quantity of the watercress leaves for your use and that of your loved one(s).
What is watercress juice?
Watercress juice is made by blending the leaves of watercress with a little quantity of water to form a smoothie. You may want to drink the juice raw without adding anything to it. However, if you want it to taste sweet other than the slight peppery taste of watercress, you may add honey and stir to mix properly. Again, you may add other herbs or vegetables to it. This is for those that treating a certain form of health conditions.
Watercress (Nasturtium officinale) is a sun and water lover; it grows naturally along clean running waterway. The plant, which is ever green, can be cultivated for its slight peppery tasting leaf and stem. It is edible, and therefore can make the list of your vegetables.
What are the health benefits of watercress juice?
Watercress juice possesses several bioactive compounds such as polyphenols, tannins, flavonoids, terpenoids, α-tocopherol, vitamin A, vitamin C as well as glycosides and glycosunolates. These bioactive compounds confer on watercress those numerous health benefits, as you may see later in this article.
Watercress Juice Could Reduce Cholesterol Level.
One of the great health benefits of watercress juice is its ability to treat hypercholesterolemia. The juice reduces the serum cholesterol level, which include total cholesterol, low density lipoprotein, and triglyceride levels. On the other hand, it increases the serum level of high density lipoprotein, otherwise known as the good cholesterol. Here is the reason why you should make watercress part of your nutrients: when you have increased level of bad cholesterols, which is called hypercholesterolemia, you are exposed to chances of developing atherosclerosis, cardiac arrest or even ischemic stroke.
So when you go out today, buy a bundle of fresh watercress leaves and make a juice with it.
It Reduces High Glucose Levels
Drinking watercress juice can reduce the complications of hyperglycemia. This is because watercress juice possesses biochemicals that inhibit carbohydrate digestive enzyme activity. This enzyme inhibition is an effective way of controlling hyperglycemia, especially in type 2 diabetes patients. The bioactive compounds that do this are roseoside, pinoresinol, and glycosides. They primarily inhibit the activity of α-glucosidase, according to a study conducted on diabetic rats.
Watercress Juice Can be Used in Treating Diabetes
In line with the effects of watercress juice on hypercholesterolemia and hyperglycemia, watercress juice has been used in traditional medicines for treating diabetes. Aside lowering blood blood sugar and cholesterol levels, it also reduces triglyceride levels.
Another reason why should consider watercress juice for diabetes is that aside suppressing α-glucosidase enzyme, it also stimulates the pancreatic islet cells and improve insulin secretion and sensitivity, which makes it an excellent home remedy for managing both type 1 and 2 diabetes mellitus.
Watercress Possesses Strong Antioxidants
Watercress possesses several strong antioxidants such as caffeic acids, quercetin-3-O-rutinoside, isorhamnetin, and glucosnasturtine. Ingestion of watercress juice also increases the plasma antioxidants such as lutein and β-carotene.
Antioxidants protect your body from damaging effects of free radicals, which resulted from lipid peroxidation. Free radicals can cause serious damaging effects on your vital organs. They speed aging processes through cellular apoptosis and autoimmune diseases. But a regular intake of watercress juice would protect your body from those damages by increasing antioxidants such as xanthophyll, ϒ-tocopherol, and α-tocopherol levels, which scavenge for those free radicals release in your body during oxidative respiration and lipid peroxidation.
It Protects Your Body From Cancer
According to several studies, cruciferous vegetable plants can reduce the risk of lung cancer, colorectal carcinoma, and prostate cancer. And as you should know already, watercress is a cruciferous plant, which places it among your list of anticancer diets. Well, being a cruciferous vegetable plant isn’t just why i am recommending it to you.
This is why: watercress was found, in a study, to inhibit the cell cycle progression of HT29 cells and human colon adenocarcinoma cell line. Again, watercress inhibited the invasion of HT115 cell line through Matrigel. In another study, watercress inhibited MMP9 activity in human breast cancer. MMP9 is an enzyme with proteolytic activity that is crucial for cell invasion. It is usually increased in cancer cells.
Watercress Juice Protects You From DNA Damage
This is one of the most crucial health benefits of watercress juice. DNA damage is usually caused by oxidative stress and can result in cancer, mutagenesis, aging, and other disorders. Luckily for us, watercress possesses strong antioxidants, which scavenge for free radicals and arrest oxidative stress. Through this means, watercress protects you from DNA damage and from genotoxic agents.
Another cause of DNA damage is exercise. It can induce oxidative stress and in turn cause a DNA damage. But research showed that consumption of watercress juice 2 hours before exercise attenuated DNA damage. Next time, when you want to engage in a strenuous exercise, it would be needful that you drink a cup of watercress juice before heading off.
It Protects Your Liver From Toxins
Being the central processing unit for detoxifying and metabolizing foods and drugs exposes the liver to toxic and harmful substances. For example, the drug, Acetaminophen can cause damaging effects on the liver when you take it in excess. The juice of watercress offers a protective role against such toxic substances.
This protective role of watercress is linked to its antioxidant compounds.
Health benefits of watercress juice on your Kidney
Some medications such as gentamicin and vancomycin can cause renal damages to your kidneys, when you administer them in excess. In fact, much of the byproducts of these drugs metabolism are toxic to the kidney. They increase ureic acid, creatinine, and decrease mitochondrial functions, as well as reduce glutathione concentration. This also leads to kidney stones.
The consumption of watercress juice is a panacea for kidney stone and other kidney toxicity. And you wouldn’t want to keep a home remedy away from your diets.
Watercress Juice Possess Anti-inflammatory Compounds
There are two anti-inflammatory compounds in watercress juice; they are β-phenylethyl isothiocyanate (PEITC) and 8-methylsulphinyloctyl isothiocyanate (MSO). These compounds were shown by studies to suppress cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) and inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) by deactivation of nuclear factor-KB and stabilization of IkBα.
Another study recommended topical as well as systemic application watercress leaf paste or juice in treatment of inflammation such as skin edema. The bioactive compounds were shown to also reduce TNF-α and NO in gentamicin-induced nephrotoxicity, which supported its anti-nephrotoxicity activity.
Watercress Possess Antimicrobial Activity
Watercress has been used in the treatment of tuberculosis. It is also said to be active against the growth of staphylococcus aureus.
Watercress juice is one the best home remedy for detoxifying your system and boosting immune system against disease pathogens. There is no known side effect of consuming watercress juice nor does it have any toxic effect on the liver, heart or kidney. This makes it a safe juice for your daily consumption or for preparing you vegetable salad.
How to grow watercress plant
Watercress is naturally a wide plant. As such, growing watercress does not require special skills. You already know that as its name implies, watercress require waterlogged area.
That does not mean to say that watercress does not require special attention. One must have condition before planting watercress is a high quality compost soil. Another is a place that receives constant sunshine, and water also.
Watercress is grown by seeds, or stem cuttings
In most cases, watercress is grown from the stem cuttings. This takes shorter time period to grow, as the roots can propagate directly from the stem.
In the use of seeds, much work is required. First, the seeds are sown on a nursery farmland. When the seeds have germinated, you uproot and transfer to another soil where they’re spaced out and evenly.
Where to plant watercress
Watercress is either planted in the farm, garden, or in your balconies.
In the farm, first clear the bushes, then make a nursery bed all round the farmland.
If you’re cultivating watercress through the seeds, you’d have to first make a preliminary bed where you would scatter the seeds. After they have germinated, grown to a certain level, you should transplant to the prepared farmland.
If however you’re using the stem grafts, then you can plant them directly on the prepared beds.
After planting, you should constantly weed off grasses that would grow to kill the watercress. Remember that watercress plant is a runner. That’s, it grows long on the ground.
Growing watercress in your balcony
Growing watercress m your balcony follows the same pattern as those in your garden or farmland. The only difference is in the choice of soil, although there is in actual sense, no difference.
The soil must be clay-humus soil with compost layers. It should be able to hold up water for a day or two, at the least.
The soil should be in a plastic or earthen pot. It should be kept in a place where the plant receives adequate sunshine and maximum ventilation.
Panahi Kokhdan E, Khodabandehloo H, Ghahremani H, Doustimotlagh AH. A Narrative Review on Therapeutic Potentials of Watercress in Human Disorders. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2021;2021:5516450. Published 2021 May 7. doi:10.1155/2021/5516450
Yamuna Pandey, Siddharth S. Bhatt and Nadia Debbarma. 2018. Watercress (Nasturtium officinale): A Potential Source of Nutraceuticals.Int.J.Curr.Microbiol.App.Sci. 7(2): 2685-2691. doi: https://doi.org/10.20546/ijcmas.2018.702.325