From today we have an unexpected ally for the health of our bones, the garden cress! Yes, because this plant with a strong smell, sometimes pungent, and perfect for enriching salads, is able to support and strengthen the bone structure, increasing bone density and accelerating the healing processes in case of fractures. This is what emerges from a recent scientific research published in the Journal of Family Medicine and Primary Care by an Indian team (Vinti Dixti JR et al, J Family Med Prim Care, 2020).
The properties of cress
Cress, also called garden cress, scientific name Lepidium sativum, is a seedling used a lot in cooking but also appreciated for its properties. Garden cress, in fact, has an analgesic, antispasmodic, hepatoprotective, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and diuretic action. Garden cress contains calcium, phosphorus, potassium and zinc, as well as fiber, protein, carbohydrates and antioxidants. Tradition also indicates another property of cress, namely it considers it capable of accelerating the healing processes of fractures.
Bones and cress, the experiment
To test the protective action on the bones of cress, Indian researchers conducted an experiment by administering, in case of fractures, extracts of cress seeds. The fractures were then checked periodically to assess any benefits of this plant compared to those who did not take cress extracts.
Garden cress accelerates the healing of fractures and increases bone density
What emerged is that the cress extract was able to accelerate the healing process of fractures. In fact, already two weeks after the fracture, the group that was taking the garden cress had a greater callus than those who did not take the plant extracts. The callus is the repair tissue that forms following a fracture, it has the task of welding the parts of the fractured bone, it becomes stronger and stronger and ultimately leads to healing. It is believed that this action of cress is due to its content in antioxidants, especially flavonoids and tannins. Not only that, in the group that had taken the cress, the levels of calcium and phosphorus, which are nutrients useful to accelerate the healing of bone fractures and capable of increasing bone density, had also increased after a month.
Garden cress in the kitchen
And therefore, in a healthy and balanced diet, cress cannot be missing, perhaps in the form of sprouts. You can add cress sprouts to salads, vegetable side dishes, fish or omelets, but at the end of cooking in order to not alternate their properties. The advice is to buy ready-made cress sprouts since self-production, in this case, is more difficult than that of other sprouts such as broccoli or radish. Cress seeds are in fact mucilaginous, this means that, in the presence of water, they are wrapped in a gel. Seeds of this type are also flaxseeds and chia seeds. To allow sprouting, you should overcome the production of the gel and this cannot be done in a normal sprouting jar. More suitable, in this case, is a jar with earth that absorbs mucilage. You can get yourself a pot, spread the potting soil, sprinkle the seeds on top of the potting soil. The soil should be kept moist but not wet and in less than a week you will have the cress sprouts available.