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Digital Subscriptions > Vegan Food & Living Magazine > Junk food - June 2019 > In season WATERCRESS


Now is a great time to get watercress into your diet and Dr Lucy Williamson explains some of the benefits

The UK watercress season starts in May with the Alresford Watercress Festival on Sunday 19 May, celebrating the official return of UK grown watercress in our shops. Nurtured in flowing spring water that bubbles up from ancient aquifers under the South Downs in Hampshire and Dorset, watercress is a luscious bright green cruciferous vegetable, perfect in summer salads, but also so much more.

There are numerous reasons to eat watercress and they carry more weight now many of us are turning to plantbased diets, particularly Generation Zs and Millennials who traditionally aren’t big watercress eaters.

The health benefits of watercress apply to us all, whatever stage of life we’re at, however, for Gen Zs who are developing rapidly or for Millennials who are working hard, maybe planning a family and who are possibly sports enthusiasts too, watercress should most definitely take a prime spot on the shopping list.

Registered nutritionist and former vet, Dr Lucy Williamson explains why watercress is a great choice, due to high levels of micronutrients that help fill nutritional gaps in plant-based diets. IRON demands are high during growth, through puberty and beyond. This ‘new age group’ may well be sports enthusiasts too. However, plant-based diets have low iron availability – it may be in the plant but it’s impossible to absorb, unless vitamin C is also present to change the iron into the same form that’s so easy to absorb from red meat (known as haem iron). 80g of watercress contains more vitamin C than an orange of the same weight! With 46% of Gen Z girls below the recommended daily intake of iron in the UK, this is a tick for watercress. Low iron levels mean we can’t use the energy in our food; growth and development are energy zapping processes. Plus, avoiding low iron stores during pregnancy is a must, being essential for brain development in unborn babies and into toddler years. (And taking supplements only adds to pregnancy nausea.) Watercress is a rare green leaf in this respect – a veg with a source of available iron should be top of the shopping list!

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About Vegan Food & Living Magazine

In the mood for some vegan junk food? We've got the recipes to delight and inspire in the June issue of Vegan Food & Living, ranging from our tofish and chips cover star to pizza, mushroom, potato and leek pie and Biscoff cookie cups. Also this issue, we check out the wonders of watercress, cook up a feast on the barbecue and revel in pasta dishes under 500 calories. Also this issue, we explore whether non-vegan companies have a place in the vegan world, discover all about lab-grown meat, find out what should feature in the perfectly balanced vegan diet and embrace sustainable vegan fashion.