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Kale may be all the rage, but watercress ranks as the No. 1 “powerhouse” veggie, meaning the one with the greatest concentration of 17 nutrients believed to be most important for preventing chronic disease. That’s the conclusion of a nutrient analysis by researchers at William Patterson University in New Jersey, published in Preventing Chronic Disease. (Kale ranks #15.) Some brands of watercress, such as Live Gourmet Living Upland Cress and Grower Pete’s Organic Watercress, are certified for high antioxidant content by an independent food-testing agency.
A member of the mustard family, watercress has a slightly bitter, more peppery flavor than many of its leafy green cousins. It can punch up soups, sandwiches, egg dishes, dips, or salads, and works well with citrus, cucumbers, pears, and fruity dressings.