Wondering about Watercress

Watercress contains significant amounts of iron, calcium and folic acid, in addition to vitamins A and C. Many health benefits are attributed to eating watercress

Although this blog isn’t chiefly about watercress, despite the name, I decided to explore it in several posts this year. I’m glad I did because I learned much I didn’t know and hope you did too.

In this post I’ve gathered the watercress posts in one place for your convenience. If you don’t want to read all of them now, bookmark this page so you can come back to it.

Nasturtium officinale W.T. Aiton - watercress NAOF

What is watercress? It depends on who you ask.

Watercress contains significant amounts of iron, calcium and folic acid, in addition to vitamins A and C. Many health benefits are attributed to eating watercress , such as that it acts as a mild stimulant, a source of phytochemicals and antioxidants, a diuretic, an expectorant, and a digestive aid. It may also have cancer-suppressing properties, and is widely believed to help defend against lung cancer.

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Native American pottery

How Native Americans use watercress

Knowing that indigenous Americans understood and used plants in a variety of ways , I wondered if and how they might have used watercress. Watercress came to this continent from Europe and is now well established.

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exploring the HEART of watercress

I appreciate all of you who are following Watercress Words, and if you aren’t I invite you to join the wonderful people who are. You can meet some of them in the sidebar, where you can click on their image and visit their blogs. Use the form to get an email notification of new posts. Don’t worry, you won’t get anything else from me.

And I always appreciate your sharing this and all my posts on social media and linking to it on your blog and newsletters. Just please don’t use it as medical advice or recommendation, it’s for information and inspiration as we explore the HEART of health.

a cup of coffee surrounded by fall leaves

Dr Aletha

Red meat, vegetables and colon cancer; or is it the fish?

They concluded that any diet in which fruit and vegetable intake is emphasized has health benefits, including lower risk for CRC in certain circumstances.

How diet may effect cancer risk

High red meat consumption is associated with increased risk for colorectal cancer (CRC), and high fiber intake is associated with lowered risk; however, the effect of various types of meatless or vegetarian diets is uncertain.

a plate of food-fish fillet, green beans
Fish, vegetables, whole grains- healthy choices or not?

In a North American prospective study, researchers identified dietary patterns and CRC occurrence in nearly 78,000 adults over  7 years. A prospective study is one in which the study group is  observed over a continuing period of time, usually years.

During  that 7 years,  490 people developed cancer.  

The people in the study ate one of 5 diets based on eating questionnaires-

  1. Vegans: No eggs, dairy, fish, or meat
  2. Lacto-ovo vegetarians: Eggs and dairy, but no fish or meat
  3. Pescovegetarians: Eggs, dairy, and limited fish, but no meat
  4. Semivegetarians: eggs, dairy, and limited fish plus meat (≤1 time per week)
  5. Nonvegetarians: eggs, dairy, and fish plus meat (>1 time per week)

After considering certain personal and clinical factors, they reported that all 4 vegetarian groups had a 22% lower risk of colon cancer than non vegetarians.

Most impressive was a 43% lower risk for the pescovegetarians.

They concluded that any diet in which fruit and vegetable intake is emphasized has health benefits, including lower risk for CRC in certain circumstances.

And that eating fish in particular may be even more beneficial in regard to colon cancer.

So are vegetarian diets healthy?

Vegetarian diets are popular for various reasons, some related to health, some related to concern for animals or the environment. Most physicians and laypersons believe there are health benefits, but proof is elusive since

  • Documenting a person’s diet for any length of time relies on self-reports which may be inaccurate or even inflated.
  • Comparing  vegetarians to nonvegetarians requires people to voluntarily eat  meat
  • asking someone to deliberately eat a diet high in red meat would be unethical since  we believe it is not healthy (even without hard proof).

This study does not “prove” that red meat causes colon cancer or that eating vegetables prevents it. These diets seem to be associated with a higher or lower, respectively, risk of this cancer.

plate of vegetables
Healthy food choices don’t have to be difficult

Here’s some additional information about colon cancer from FamilyDoctor.org

via Colorectal Cancer | Overview.

exploring the HEART of healthy eating

Here is another post about eating-why your mother may have wanted you to eat more greens

How to use watercress and other greens.

I appreciate all of you who are following Watercress Words, and if you aren’t I invite you to join the wonderful people who are. You can meet some of them in the sidebar, where you can click on their image and visit their blogs. Use the form to get an email notification of new posts. Don’t worry, you won’t get anything else from me.

Dr Aletha

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