Quick Navigation

Watercress

Watercress is a peppery vegetable in the family Brassicaceae, which includes broccoli. Eating watercress may help protect against carcinogens and chemotherapy drugs.

Our evidence-based analysis on watercress features 29 unique references to scientific papers.

Research analysis led by .
Reviewed by
Examine.com Team
Last Updated:

Summary of Watercress

Primary information, health benefits, side effects, usage, and other important details

Watercress is a vegetable in the Brassicaceae family. It has a peppery taste and is related to broccoli, cauliflower, and rocket.

Watercress consumption has been associated with various anti-cancer effects.

Watercress consumption can also stimulate anti-oxidant enzymes, which is thought to reduce DNA damage. Watercress is also a good source of lutein.

Watercress and other members of the Brassicaceae family contain compounds called isothiocyanates. Isothiocyanates include sulforaphane, diindolylmethane and phenethyl isothiocyanates (PEITC). Compared to other Brassicaceae plants, watercress contains more PEITC. These compounds help the body protect against a variety of compounds, including carcinogens.

There is minimal human evidence to support these claims, but two human studies have found a degree of reduced DNA damage in otherwise healthy people after they added watercress to their diet.

Guidance from the experts

Learn what supplements to take for your specific health goals with the Examine Supplement Guides.

Want a deeper look at the research? Examine Members get full access to the comprehensive research database, monthly study summaries, and the latest in-depth analysis.

Your support allows us to be 100% independent and unbiased.


How to Take

Recommended dosage, active amounts, other details

Between 85-100g of watercress a day (referring to the wet weight of the plant) is associated with the benefits commonly seen with watercress.

Further research is needed to determine the optimal dose and timing for supplementation.

Easily stay on top of the latest nutrition research

Become an Examine Member to get access to the latest research. Get 150+ studies summarized for you across 25 different categories every month.

Members also have access to the Examine Study Database of 400+ supplements and their effects on 600+ health outcomes, as well as in-depth research analyses. Understand the whole body of nutrition and supplement evidence at a glance.

Get instant access — start your free 14-day trial

Already a Member? Click here to log in.


Human Effect Matrix

Unlocked for Examine Members

Easily stay on top of the latest nutrition research

Become an Examine Member to get access to the latest research. Get 150+ studies summarized for you across 25 different categories every month.

Members also have access to the Examine Study Database of 400+ supplements and their effects on 600+ health outcomes, as well as in-depth research analyses. Understand the whole body of nutrition and supplement evidence at a glance.

Get instant access — start your free 14-day trial

Already a Member? Click here to log in.


The Human Effect Matrix summarizes human studies to tell you what effects Watercress has on your body, how much evidence there is, and how strong these effects are.

Full details are available to Examine Members. Not a Member? Try Examine Membership completely free for two weeks.
Grade Level of Evidence
Robust research conducted with repeated double-blind clinical trials
Multiple studies where at least two are double-blind and placebo controlled
Single double-blind study or multiple cohort studies
Uncontrolled or observational studies only
Level of Evidence
? The amount of high quality evidence. The more evidence, the more we can trust the results.
Outcome Magnitude of effect
? The direction and size of the supplement's impact on each outcome. Some supplements can have an increasing effect, others have a decreasing effect, and others have no effect.
Consistency of research results
? Scientific research does not always agree. HIGH or VERY HIGH means that most of the scientific research agrees.
Notes
grade-c Minor Moderate See 2 studies
There appears to be an influence on the enzymes superoxide dismutase and glutathione peroxidase, but this requires a certain genotype to occur
grade-c Minor - See study
DNA damage biomarkers have been reduced following watercress consumption

Stay on top of the latest research

To unlock the full archives of our Study Database and research analyses, become an Examine Member today.

Start your 14-day free trial

Things to Note

Is a Form Of

Also Known As

Nasturtium officinale

Do Not Confuse With

Nasturtium seeds (Tropaeolum majus)

Get our free 5-day course on the essentials of supplementation.

At Examine, our incentives line up with yours — getting unbiased information. That's why we don’t sell any advertising or supplements.

Join over 250,000 people who have learned about effective versus overrated supplements, tips for buying supplements, and how to combine supplements for safety and efficacy.

Click here to see all 29 references.