Watercress Benefits + Side Effects

By Adriane Marie •  Updated: 08/03/22 •  10 min read
watercress benefits and side effects

What are watercress benefits and side effects every ethical consumer must know? Here are watercress pros and cons and how buying them will impact your health, the environment, animals and laborers. 

Food is something we consume every day and if you’re like me, you do all the research you can to make sure you don’t hurt yourself, the planet, animals or others when shopping. As an ethical consumer myself, I am giving you all the info I’ve found on watercress benefits and side effects.

You are going to learn all about watercress benefits and side effects. This will include watercress benefits for your health and potential risks, watercress water footprint and watercress carbon footprint, watercress sustainability, if watercress are vegan or impact animals in other ways, and much more. 

After learning if watercress are good or bad for you, the environment, animals and human rights, you will be able to make the best choices you can the next time you buy food.

This post is all about watercress benefits and side effects that every ethical consumer should know.

Must-Know watercress Benefits And Side Effects

Health

Watercress health benefits may include:

Watercress is…

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Environment

Water footprint: low, it takes 322 liters of water to produce 1 kilogram of vegetables / 39 gallons of water to produce 1 pound of vegetables

Carbon footprint: low, 1.6 kg CO2e to produce 1 kilogram or 2.2 pounds of vegetables, a car driving equivalent of 3.75 miles or 6 kilometers, watercress has a relatively low carbon footprint

Destruction: low, watercress production is relatively sustainable, there is no known significant damage to air, water, land, soil, forests, etc. as long as pesticides have not been used, be sure to buy Non-GMO/organic, as toxic, chemical pesticides contaminate air, water, soil, etc.

Watercress is…

Animals

Kills: none, watercress production does not require any animals to be killed

Harm: none, watercress production does not require any animals to be used

Indirectly kills or harms: none, no animals are indirectly killed or harmed from watercress production as long as toxic chemicals have not been used, be sure to buy Non-GMO/organic, as pesticides harm and kill wildlife and ecosystems by contaminating soil, water, air and plants that animals eat

Watercress is…

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Laborers

Health and safety: varies, overall, agriculture continues to be one of the most dangerous industries, farmworkers may be subject to dehydration, heat stroke, unprotected exposure to harmful, toxic chemicals and pesticides, unsafe machinery and clean drinking water may not always accessible

Living conditions: varies, laborers are often exploited, they may face tough working conditions including long hours in the sun and heat performing physically exhausting tasks, labor laws and rights may or may not be in place, even if worker protection exists, employer violations may go unreported, refugees and migrant workers are especially vulnerable to abuse and mistreatment, fearing consequences of job loss or deportation

Wages: varies, generally farmworkers earn meager wages, there are many cases of underpaid agricultural workers, wage theft and no overtime payment or benefits

Watercress…

The world’s top watercress exporting country is Mexico, followed by China, USA, Spain, Italy, Canada, Netherlands, Germany, Portugal and Macedonia.

Yes! Watercress is high in vitamin A (from beta-carotene) and vitamin C, and contains folate, calcium, iron, vitamin E, vitamin K, thiamin, vitamin B6, potassium and iodine.

watercress is alkaline.

acidic foods and alkaline diet benefits that improve ph levels

Is watercress alkaline or acidic?

Watercress is alkaline when fresh.

What is the pH level of watercress?

Watercress has a 9.0 pH level when fresh, once digested.

When you eat food, it breaks down to an ash residue that can be neutral, acidic or alkaline. Minerals such as potassium, calcium, magnesium, sodium, zinc, silver, copper and iron produce an alkaline ash; whereas sulfur, phosphorus, chlorine and iodine, which are in meat, coffee, dairy and alcohol, leave an acid ash.

Going alkaline easier than ever with this: Acidic and Alkaline Foods List

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watercress is gluten free. watercress benefits include fitting into a gluten free diet.

glutinous foods have side effects but a gluten free diet can help

Is watercress gluten free?

Yes, watercress is gluten free. Watercress does not contain gluten. Watercress is a type of leaf vegetable, therefore making it a naturally gluten free food. 

While celiac disease may not be as rampant as many marketing trends lead us to believe, you may have a gluten sensitivity…

Celiac and gluten sensitivity symptoms are similar and may include:

There are hundreds of potential symptoms, many of which are also symptoms of other conditions.

Going gluten-free easier than ever with this: Gluten and Gluten Free Foods List

watercress is not a common food allergen.

side effects of common food allergens like milk, wheat, soy, fish, tree nuts, peanuts, eggs and crustaceans

Is watercress a common food allergen?

No, watercress is not a common food allergen. Some people may experience allergic reactions to watercress but it is relatively rare by comparison.

A group of the eight major allergenic foods, AKA the Big-8, include:

Severe food allergies can be life threatening. Following ingestion of a food allergen, a person with food allergies can experience a severe, life-threatening allergic reaction called anaphylaxis. 

Persons may still be allergic to and have serious reactions to foods other than the eight foods identified by the law.

Be aware of common dietary restrictions and food allergens with this: The Big 8 Most Common Food Allergens List

watercress has a low water footprint. watercress benefits include not requiring too much water.

water footprints of food and products

Did you know that water is a finite, non-renewable resource?

We must do what we can to conserve fresh water and a major way to reduce needless water consumption is to change the way we eat. That’s not to say we need to reduce our water intake….quite the opposite. It’s important for our health to drink lots of water and eat foods that hydrate. The kind of water conservation we’re talking about here is behind the scenes.

How much water does it take to produce an apple? A serving of rice? A steak dinner?

We need to be aware of something referred to as a “water footprint”. That is, the amount of fresh water utilized in the production or supply of goods we consume. As it turns out it takes significantly more water to yield foods that come from animals than foods that come from plants. Imagine how much water a cow needs to consume to generate a piece of beef. Not only how much water a single cow drinks, rather all the water that went into producing the crops that the cow ate.

Find out how much water your food consumes with this: Water Footprints of Foods and Ingredients List

watercress has a low carbon footprint.

carbon footprints of food and food emissions

Food not only has a water footprint but also a carbon footprint, known as CO2e, which stands for carbon dioxide equivalent. Since carbon measurements are a bit more difficult to comprehend, it is common to equate CO2e to the distance which a car drives in miles or kilometers.

When calculating product emissions, some factors that may be included are… farm equipment, animal feed production, hothouses (greenhouses), food processing, packaging, transport, refrigeration, freezing, package waste, and more.

But that’s not all!

It’s best to keep the following in mind when grocery shopping:

Find out how much carbon your food emits with this: Carbon Footprints of Foods and Ingredients List

watercress is sustainable.

sustainable shopping, for eco friendly brands and products good for the environment

A 2018 Oxford University study – which is the most comprehensive analysis to date of the damage farming does to the planet – found that ‘avoiding meat and dairy is the single biggest way to reduce your impact on Earth’ as animal farming provides just 18% of calories but takes up 83% of our farmland.

Consuming animal products and byproducts is not environmentally friendly and is one of the worst things for the Earth. Not only is meat production wasteful, it causes enormous amounts of pollution. The industry is one of the biggest causes of climate change.

A 2010 United Nations report said that a global shift towards a vegan diet is vital to save the world the worst impacts of climate change.

watercress is vegan. watercress benefits include not killing, harming or using animals.

benefits of vegan food to eat on a vegan diet which helps save animals

Is watercress vegan?

Yes, watercress is vegan. Watercress is a leaf vegetable and not an animal product or byproduct, therefore making it a vegan food. 

Animals of factory farming are suffering. They live in horrific conditions that often include confinement, physical abuse and unnatural environments…so much so that they need to receive antibiotics to keep from getting ill or spreading disease. Growth hormones allow all kinds of animals to become fatter faster and live short lives.

Because we cannot see for ourselves how these animals live and what they endure does not mean it isn’t happening. The meat, poultry and dairy industries do everything they can to distance us from knowing how our food comes to be in order to keep us in the dark about what we support each time we buy animal derived products and byproducts.

Go vegan for animals!

It’s the best way to help animals and it’s not as difficult as you may think. Speak for animals with your actions, for they cannot speak at all.

Going vegan is easier than ever, at a glance with this: Vegan and Non-Vegan Foods List

watercress may have labor issues and human rights concerns.

benefits of buying fair trade, labor rights, human rights and workers rights issues

Did you know the single largest employer in the world is agriculture? The labor involved behind each and every product cannot go unrecognized. 

Some known problems include workplace health and safety, child labor, gender inequality, inadequate pay, wage theft and exploitation. Workers can even experience harassment, humiliation and violence and unfair employers often fail to provide laborers with access to shade, drinking water, restrooms and breaks.

Such mistreatment is like modern day slavery. Workers are often afraid to report issues because they fear it will result in losing their jobs or deportation. 

Fair trade organizations fight to ensure better social, environmental and economic standards. 

We can improve people’s lives with foods we eat every day simply by buying products that are certified fair trade. 

This post was all about watercress benefits and side effects.

Sources:

Watercress, raw – FoodData Central

Watercress (Nasturtium officinale) – USDA Forest Service

Adriane Marie

Grocery Guru, Material Maven, Conscious Consumer Connoisseur. I organize ethical info for us to comprehensively see how purchases impact people, animals and the planet. I hope you find HEALabel helpful! Use it for personal and global improvement and empowerment.

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