Thursday, June 18, 2015

By far my favorite summer salad is a watercress salad and here is why!

Watercress is actually a weed. But it’s not just any weed. It’s packed with antioxidants. You can find it growing alongside streams and riverbeds in nearly every U.S. state. Although I would suggest you go to your local health food store where you can find it in the produce section.

The health benefits abound. Around 400 BC Hippocrates located the first hospital Kos near a stream so that he could have watercress available for his patience’s. That’s because it is low in calories and high in antioxidants. Watercress is a great source of Vitamin K which helps to strengthen bones and helps to limit neural damage to the brain, which is helpful in treating Alzheimer’s disease.

Watercress is also an excellent source of vitamin C and vitamin A. Vitamin C provides infection-fighting power to stave off colds and flu, as well as, helps to maintain healthy connective tissue and prevents iron deficiency. Vitamin A, also known as retinol, is essential for a properly functioning immune system. It also produces pigments in the retina of the eye. An absence of these pigments can cause night blindness.

Further watercress helps to keep you cellular metabolic functions at peak. This improves the body’s ability to absorb and use calcium and vitamin B-complex.

Watercress both tastes great and is a power pack of essential nutrients making it my favorite summer salad. To the watercress I add avocado for a great source of fiber, potassium, folate and vitamin E. I also add a fresh orange and orange juice to give it a great kick of vitamin C. Then I top it with Hemp seed hearts to add a great dose of omega3! Everything can easily be bought at any health food store.

Here is my simple and easy powerhouse watercress salad recipe!

Watercress Salad

In a bowl grate 1 teaspoon of orange zest and add 3 teaspoons of freshly squeezed orange juice, 1 teaspoon of olive oil and a dash of ground cumin.

Toss trimmed and washed 1 bunch of watercress into the dressing and then arrange on a platter.

Top with slices of one naval orange (peel and pith removed.)

Top with thin slices of avocado.

Sprinkle a tablespoon or two of hemp seed heart on top. (Or use any chopped nut or seed such as chia or flax.)

And my favorite wine to pair with it is Pouilly Fume or Sancerre because of their light crisp flavor.

At about 137 calories a serving and with a powerhouse of nutrients watercress salad is my favorite summer salad!

Doctor Lynn

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