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Ingredient Spotlight: WATERCRESS

Autumn can be a particularly busy season – that’s when we begin to reflect and plan for the challenges ahead that can affect our health over the next six months. This is the season of peak performance, but sometimes we try to take on more than our minds and bodies can handle and succumb to burnout and stress.

This is why this week I chose an ingredient that is available almost year round, and a very simple recipe to go with it: watercress, which is the start ingredient of my green soup. 

Watercress has been cultivated all over the world for thousands of years, both as a food and as a medicine. Rich in antioxidants, it also has more iron than spinach, more calcium than milk, and more vitamin C than oranges!! It is extremely rich in vitaminn K, which is essential for maintaining both bone and brain health. It is rich in vitamin A, essential for healthy vision and to a functioning immune system. There have been a number of studies that have found evidence of watercress effectiveness as a cancer preventive phytonutrient, in particular in the prevention of breast cancer. Studies have also shown that watercress is effective in reversing DNA damage to white blood cells. 

Watercress is super versatile in the kitchen: a perfect base for salads, it is delicious just wilted with a little oil, it makes a wonderful pesto, and is a great addition to soups. Watercress grows in water, so make sure you wash it very well! 

My recipe today is for one of my all-time favourite food for helping me feel healthy and generally good inside. It’s so restorative that I even recommend it to clients who’ve been burning the candle too much at both ends! And it’s a beautiful shade of green, a colour I love to have around in Autumn tohelp ground and balance my thoughts and energy.

To make it: sauté some chopped onion, garlic, and potato in extra virgin olive oil until softened, add watercress and wilt it, then cover with stock, season with salt and simmer until cooked. Turn off the heat, add some more fresh watercress and herbs of choice and when it’s cooled a little, blend until smooth – to avoid hot soup explosions, fill the blender less than halfway, remove the lid’s centre insert and cover with a kitchen towel, and then blend. Feel free to get creative with garnishes; I love fresh herbs, toasted seeds, and some shredded chicken or crumbled cheese for a protein boost. Enjoy!