We tend to shy away from green vegetables when we’re younger, but as adults, we know eating plenty of them is important for staying healthy as we age. But if you feel like you’re in a veggie rut (how much kale can one eat?), consider grabbing a bag or two of watercress while perusing the produce aisle on your next grocery store trip. The leafy green tastes delicious and can help banish wrinkles, reduce cancer risk, and keep your heart in tip-top shape!
In fact, we found a ton of reasons watercress might quickly become your new go-to greens. Let’s start with the fact that a one cup serving contains just four calories, so you can enjoy as much of it as you like. It has a peppery flavor similar to arugula that works well in a yummy salad, sandwich, or served alongside eggs.
Eating more watercress can do wonders for your heart health, too. Research published in the Journal of the American Heart Association found that eating cruciferous vegetables on a regular basis prevented plaque build up in arteries thanks to bioactive phytochemical compounds.
Watercress was also shown to reduce our cancer risk in a study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Researchers claimed that increased levels of carotenoids, including lutein and beta-carotene, after eating watercress protected cells against lymphocyte DNA damage. They concluded that consuming this green veggie often can lower the chances of developing cancer over time.
Your skin will get a boost from eating watercress as well. A UK study found that 10 out of 11 women (ages 23 to 58) saw improvements in the look and feel of their skin after four weeks of adding 80 grams of watercress to their daily diet. One of the participants, Ruth McKechnie, 54, raved about her skin, “It feels smoother to touch, looks plumper, and best of all my wrinkles have reduced!” The study’s authors credited the veggie’s high level of vitamin C and E, which are necessary to produce collagen that keeps skin elastic and smooth. A salad a day can keep the wrinkles and fine lines away!
Youthful looking skin, a healthy heart, and lowered cancer risk are undeniably amazing reasons to add watercress to the cart on your next grocery run.
This article originally appeared on our sister site, First For Women.