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posted: 8/4/2014 6:00 AM

Your health: Watercress packs a nutritional punch

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  • Watercress packs a huge dose of vitamins and minerals.

      Watercress packs a huge dose of vitamins and minerals.
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Powerhouse vegetable

A recent study at William Paterson University in New Jersey ranked the top "powerhouse fruits and vegetables," based on the nutrients they provide per calorie.

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What topped the list? No, not kale or spinach (though they didn't do too badly). The most powerful of the powerhouses was watercress, The Washington Post reports.

The ranking used Agriculture Department data based on fruits' and vegetables' content of fiber, potassium, protein, calcium, folate, vitamin B12, vitamin A, vitamin D and other nutrients, all considered important to our health.

Watercress, a cruciferous vegetable, received a score of 100 (51 points higher than kale). At only four calories per cup, every bite packs a huge dose of vitamins and minerals.

Watercress, used as a cleansing medicine since ancient times, is a delicate and tender leafy green known for containing high levels of B vitamins, vitamin C, vitamin K, iron, riboflavin, niacin and folate. All of these nutrients help to protect against cancer and heart disease. Watercress is also a good source of calcium.

Watercress is usually found in the herb section of the grocery store.

Avoiding medical identity theft

Everyone knows to be on the lookout for financial identity theft, but in reality, stolen medical credentials are more valuable on the scammers' black market than financial information.

While personal data sells for about $25 -- stolen health insurance and medical records can fetch about $2,000.

To help those at risk, AARP Bulletin scam expert Sid Kirchheimer gives tips to avoid having your medical identity stolen.

• Read every letter from medical insurers and health care providers, including those that say "this is not a bill." If you see a doctor's name or treatment date that isn't familiar, speak up.

• Once a year, ask your insurers for a listing of benefits paid out in your name. Make sure everything is accurate, including your address.

• Guard your health insurance card and number as carefully as you would a credit card or bank account number. If you lose your wallet, immediately contact your insurance provider.

• Ask all of your doctors to make copies of everything in your file (you may have to pay for them) so you'll have a "paper trail" if needed.

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