Have you ever heard of the watercress workout? Vigorous exercise is important for losing fat and adding muscle, but working out hard can stress your body and even damage your DNA. To keep that from happening, consider new research that has found watercress could be the ultimate natural workout recovery superfood.
Fight free radicals
There’s no question that exercise is good for your body. But increasing your demand for energy without proper recovery can lead to the accumulation of free radicals, a byproduct of oxygen molecules that can lead to the DNA damage associated with aging and diseases such as diabetes and cancer.
There are plenty of powders and solutions marketed for exercise recovery. But a study published in the British Journal of Nutrition found that eating a little bit of watercress raised levels of key antioxidants that protect against the damage caused by exercise.
The watercress exercise study
Researchers at Edinburgh Napier University and the University of Ulster (who you must know were commissioned by Vitacress Salads, a European watercress grower) recruited ten healthy men averaging 23 years of age to participate in the watercress study. For eight weeks participants ate a small bag of watercress two hours before an intense treadmill workout.
A control group went through the same workouts without eating watercress. After short bursts of intense exercise, the watercress eaters has far less DNA damage than the controls. What’s more, the effect of eating watercress did not require an accumulative build-up. After eight weeks watercress-free, the controls got the same level of DNA protection as the study group after a single serving of watercress.
Hippocrates already knew
Other studies on the protective qualities of watercress have found that eating the leafy greens can limit DNA damage in blood cells, an increased risk factor for cancer throughout the body.
Before being proved by science, the protective qualities of watercress have been known for thousands of years. The ancient Greek physician Hippocrates, who said “let food be thy medicine and medicine by thy food, cultivated it in his garden.
The leafy green vegetable is a member of the mustard family. It has a peppery flavor that adds flavor to salads, sandwiches and soups. You can even whip it into a green smoothie.