Alphabet of Nutrition focuses, this week, on the nutritional value of watercress and other green leafy vegetables, which along with fruit are recommended to be taken daily. Watercress are young shoots of the cruciferous family such as cabbages or turnip greens.
They are grown throughout the year, although the time when they are most tender is autumn and winter. Both the leaf and the stem are consumed and its flavor is fresh and spicy, similar to that of mustard. To select the best watercress, it is advisable to choose very green, plump and fresh bunches without damage to the leaves and reject the wilted or yellowish ones.
"Watercress, like other vegetables, are low in energy and rich in fiber, although the amounts that are usually consumed are relatively small due to their weight-volume ratio," says Laura González, Nestlé's head of Nutrition and Health.
They are also rich in vitamins such as A, K, C, in folic acid, manganese and provide calcium and potassium.
The expert warns that although those that are marketed are cultivated in controlled waters "wild watercress that grows in contaminated waters may have parasites that affect the liver or digestive system."
The most common way to consume them is in salads, alone or mixed with other vegetables and seasoned with various sauces (the vinaigrette is especially good for them).
VEGETABLES OR GREENS?
To this question, Laura González explains that vegetables are vegetables whose edible parts are the green parts such as leaves and stems. However, the term is commonly used to refer to vegetables in general.
The vegetables that are usually found in the market are lettuce, spinach, lamb's lettuce, watercress or cabbage, among others. They are foods, in general, with low energy intake and are characterized by being natural sources of potassium, manganese, niacin and vitamins C and K.
Others also stand out for their contribution of vitamin E and folic acid such as chard and spinach. When storing them, they should not be left at room temperature, as they dehydrate quickly.
“The best storage space is the fridge, whole and uncut and in perforated or open bags. The ideal is to consume them before the color of their leaves turns towards yellow ”, recommends the specialist.
Those for raw consumption can be washed, cleaned or centrifuged to store in bags or in large and aerated containers to consume in a maximum of 2-3 days. In the packaged, González indicates that the best indicator is the expiration date, as well as observing its color, hydration or excess humidity.