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Cress – The All-Rounder For Your Health

Garden cress is that tangy-tasting green that is usually sprinkled over cold plates for decoration. Nobody thinks of cress as a remedy. But that is exactly what garden cress is – both the plant and its seeds.

Cress: World-renowned natural remedy

Cress gives many recipes that decisive spicy kick of freshness. Whether potato salad, stuffed eggs, fish dishes, soups, or pasta – everything tastes even better with cress.

Cress not only spices up food in terms of taste. She also gives them a healthy dose of health along the way.

In fact, cress is an extremely powerful medicinal plant.

In Ayurveda, the traditional Indian art of healing, cress (Lepidium sativum) has been used for thousands of years. Here, for example, it is intended to combat diarrhea, muscle pain, and sexual reluctance.

Garden cress conquered the world from India. It was able to quickly convince Arabs, Persians, Africans, and Europeans with its health-promoting effects – on the one hand with its interesting nutritional value and on the other hand with its healing ingredients.

Nutrient-rich garden cress

One hundred grams of garden cress contain 1.3 milligrams of iron so when consumed in abundance, cress can contribute to covering the iron requirement (approx. 12 – 15 mg per day).

The cress is also well-equipped with calcium. Their calcium content is 81 mg per 100 grams.

Nutrition experts recommend a daily vitamin A intake of 0.8 to 1.0 milligrams. With almost 350 micrograms per hundred grams, cress can therefore also make an important contribution to vitamin A supply.

And when it comes to vitamin C, just 50 grams of watercress covers a third of your daily requirement.

The consumption of cress is similarly useful if you want to optimize your folic acid supply since 50 grams of cress already provide one-sixth of the folic acid requirement

In addition, garden cress contains a lot of protein compared to lettuce. While lamb’s lettuce, iceberg lettuce, head lettuce, and the like usually only provide between 1 and 2 percent protein, cress consists of over 4 percent protein.

Since even small amounts of cress can contribute enormously to the supply of nutrients and vital substances, garden cress should be on the menu as often as possible.

If you suffer from a few ailments at the same time, it may also be the case that this will go away through frequent consumption of cress. The cress has an extremely healing effect on many health problems – e.g. B. in the case of hyperthyroidism.

Garden cress contains isothiocyanates, which ensure that not too much iodine gets into the thyroid gland if the thyroid gland is overactive. The thyroid is calmed and relaxed.

It is important for diabetics that the cress – taken as an extract – also regulates the blood sugar level and ensures that it does not rise so quickly after meals.

But cress is also a true guardian angel for the cardiovascular system.

Cress for the cardiovascular system

Cress has several properties that make it an excellent way to prevent cardiovascular diseases. In addition to its antioxidant potential, cress has a “blood-thinning” effect, for example. It, therefore, inhibits excessive blood clotting, so that the risk of thrombus formation, which often leads to thrombosis and embolism, is reduced. This also reduces the risk of heart attacks and strokes.

At the same time, the cress ensures that the vessels relax and in this way counteracts vasoconstriction. This is particularly noticeable with high blood pressure. In naturopathy, cress, therefore, has a blood pressure-lowering or blood pressure-regulating reputation.

For a noticeable effect, however, the cress must be consumed daily in relevant quantities. By the way, anyone who can no longer speak after a stroke should chew cress seeds as often as possible – they say.

Cress supports detoxification

Heart problems (heart failure) often lead to water retention in the body. The cress can also be helpful here:

In China and other parts of East Asia, water retention as a result of heart failure has traditionally been treated with cress seeds for thousands of years, as these have a diuretic effect (also the cress plant).

In this way, the cress can contribute to the detoxification of the body. Because frequent urination causes more toxins to be flushed out of the organism and specific deposits from the kidneys, which could otherwise cause damage to health. However, this only works if a lot of water is drunk at the same time – at least 1.5 liters per day.

A teaspoon of cress seed powder mixed with about 30 milliliters of water (then drink two glasses of water) should be taken for this purpose.

Since skin impurities are often associated with “slagged” blood, there is often an improvement in the skin’s appearance if the cress was original “only” used for blood purification and detoxification.

Cress against skin problems

A paste made from crushed cress seeds and water, applied to the surface, can also directly relieve local skin problems. Such a paste is suitable for the treatment of chapped, cracked lips and dry skin areas.

Cress for indigestion and lack of appetite

Due to its digestion-regulating and antimicrobial effect, cress can be used both for an upset stomach and for diarrhea. A mixture of cress seed powder, some water, and honey is suitable for this.

As soon as cress seed powder comes into contact with liquid, a mucus is formed that covers the inner walls of the digestive organs like a protective film. In this way, the cress inhibits irritation in diseases and infections in the gastrointestinal tract. When used as described, cress seeds can also help with constipation and flatulence.

Cress for colds

Both acute and chronic diseases of the respiratory tract respond very well to treatment with cress. Here the cress has an expectorant and anti-inflammatory effect, and it also widens the bronchi. Chewed cress seeds also relieve sore throat, cough, and asthma symptoms. For this purpose, those affected should chew 1 gram of cress seeds three times a day.

Practically, the garden cress also helps against headaches caused by colds (as well as against migraines). Seeds should also be chewed for this purpose. However, cress is not only good for sick people, but also for very healthy people. Breastfeeding mothers, for example, can offer their babies more milk if they reach for more watercress:

Cress for nursing mothers

Cress promotes milk production in breastfeeding mothers. A teaspoon of cress seeds should be boiled in about 175 milliliters of water for half an hour and then mixed with a teaspoon of honey to stimulate milk production.

Since cress seeds contain hormonally active substances with an estrogen-like influence, the cress also has the ability to gently regulate the hormone system and also help with menstrual cycle problems or menstrual cramps.

The above-mentioned antimicrobial effect of cress is of course also very welcome when breastfeeding, as it protects mother and child from annoying infections.

Cress against multi-resistant germs

See our article Every Day in the Hospital Increases the Risk of Infection for information on multidrug-resistant pathogens. These bacteria are immune to the effects of antibiotics. Infections caused by them cannot be treated with the usual methods and therefore lead to death in about ten percent of cases.

However, garden cress still fights pathogens even if they no longer respond to treatment with antibiotics. For example, it is known that cress inhibits the growth of bacterial strains of the species Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Pseudomonas aeruginosa occurs in moist environments, such as in dialysis machines, and is the most common hospital germ in Germany: around ten percent of all hospital infections are caused by these bacteria. They can cause a wide variety of diseases, but most often they cause pneumonia.

If hospitalization is unavoidable, take a sachet of cress seeds with you and chew a small amount (1/4 teaspoon) 1 to 3 times a day. This is particularly recommended if you are in the hospital with a broken bone. Then:

Cress seeds promote bone healing

In Africa, cress seeds are traditionally used for broken bones because they are said to speed up their healing. And what the ancient Africans knew for a long time was then confirmed in scientific studies in 2007 and published in the journal Medscape General Medicine.

Researchers mixed cress seeds into the feed of rabbits suffering from broken bones. It was found that the bones of these rabbits healed much more quickly than those of the control group that did not receive cress seeds.

Many of the medicinal effects of garden cress described above relate to their seeds. But the cress plant has a very similar effect. The only reason people prefer to use the seeds (unless you need the slime) is that they can be stored in the medicine cabinet or pantry without any problems and are always ready to hand. However, the plant would first have to be grown for a number of days.

From a culinary point of view, however, the cress plant naturally offers completely different pleasures than the seeds. Not only is the consumption of the cress plant fun for the whole family, but also its cultivation, which even children can do without any problems:

Grow your own cress

Cress is wonderful to grow yourself. You don’t need a balcony or a garden. If necessary, the garden cress also grows on a plate with damp kitchen paper.

Cress cultivation with the help of germination made of clay or plastic is particularly easy and space-saving. Several sprouting trays are stacked on top of each other here, which not only makes the cress yield light but also profitable.

Cress sieves are also suitable for small quantities. They usually consist of a stainless steel sieve in a ceramic or clay pot. The seeds are sprinkled directly onto the sieve.

And if you need larger amounts of cress, for example, because your family is so large or because you simply want to eat cress every day, then the Easygreen sprout growing device is recommended. You don’t even have to worry about watering there. Everything runs fully automatically.

Simply sow cress again every day or every two days and after 10 days at the latest, you can harvest cress of the very best and freshest possible organic quality.

It is optimal if you always harvest the cress immediately before eating, e.g. B. for our delicious…

Vegetable cress buffer

Ingredients:

  • 2 medium carrots, finely grated
  • 150 g finely grated celeriac
  • 2 tablespoons ground almonds or hazelnuts
  • 50 g cress chopped
  • 4 tbsp soy flour mixed with 4 tbsp water (or 1 – 2 eggs for non-vegans)
  • Herb salt, pepper, nutmeg
  • olive oil

Preparation:

Mix the carrots, celery, cress, and almonds/hazelnuts. Stir the soy flour and water mixture into the vegetables. Season to taste and mix well.

Heat the oil in a pan. Form fritters from the vegetable mixture and fry them on both sides in the oil.

All kinds of salads or horseradish dip go well with it.

Enjoy your meal!

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Written by Bella Adams

I'm a professionally-trained, executive chef with over ten years in Restaurant Culinary and hospitality management. Experienced in specialized diets, including Vegetarian, Vegan, Raw foods, whole food, plant-based, allergy-friendly, farm-to-table, and more. Outside of the kitchen, I write about lifestyle factors that impact well-being.

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