What is Arugula?
Arugula is a leafy green plant that is popularly used in salads. Arugula has several names, depending upon where in the world you are located. These various names include salad rocket, garden rocket, rucola, roquette, and colewort. It belongs to the genus Eruca and the family Brassicaceae. It is closely related to radish, kale, and cauliflower, and has a slightly peppery, spicy taste.
Arugula grows to a height of 20-100 centimeters and is recognizable by its small, white flowers. The leaves of arugula are lobed, with 4-10 lateral lobes and a longer terminal lobe. It is grown on a large scale for commercial consumption, but it also exists as a wild species throughout the world.
Its health benefits include weight loss, reduced risk of cancer, healthy bones, and improved eyesight. This plant has antioxidant properties and is also good for the skin. It also helps in boosting the brain, improving metabolic functions, mineral absorption, and boosting the immune system.
Arugula Nutrition Facts.
According to the USDA National Nutrient Database, arugula is a leafy green plant packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Amongst minerals, it provides calcium, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, and sodium. It has high levels of vitamin C, and folic acid, fat-soluble vitamins A, E and K (but not D) and small amounts of other B vitamins.
It is packed with antioxidants, phytochemicals, and carotenoids. As compared to other leafy greens, arugula is low in oxalates, which are chemicals that inhibit the absorption of minerals into the body. All in all, arugula is a low-calorie, nutrient-rich food.
Health Benefits of Arugula.
The vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, and antioxidants packed in every leaf of arugula are certainly beneficial to those who incorporate it into their diet.
▪️ Rich in Antioxidants.
Arugula is a great source of antioxidants and can greatly increase a person’s ORAC value (oxygen radical absorbance capacity), a method for measuring antioxidant capacities. Antioxidants function to maintain a healthy balance of enzyme reactions within cells, while actively seeking out and destroying the disease-causing free radicals that can attack your system. This helps raise immunity levels in the body.
▪️ Boosts Bone Health.
Arugula is rich in vitamin K, which is beneficial to bones. A 2003 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reinforces that vitamin K plays a critical role in promoting bone health and bone formation. An increase in the intake of vitamin K can help to slow the gradual degradation of neural pathways owing to age.
Arugula’s combinative effects of low oxalate levels (allowing more minerals into the system) and the presence of so many minerals in the plant itself make it a strong support system for healthy bones. People with osteoporosis can see improvements, and arugula can be used as a preventative step as well, ensuring bone health and strength before age/activity-based effects of bone degeneration become serious.
▪️ Helps Improve Immune System.
Arugula is loaded with vitamins and minerals that in some way bolster the defenses of the body’s immune system. The body is stimulated to create white blood cells from the copper in these salad leaves, and the plant has several other ways to improve the strength of your immune system.
Vitamin C is one of the best defenses for your body to seek out dangerous, inflammatory free radicals and eliminate them from your body before they can cause real damage. This well-known vitamin is found in large quantities in arugula and helps maintain good health by giving an extra boost to your immune system.
▪️ Anti-cancer Properties.
The European Journal of Nutrition has published a study that has found that certain phytochemicals, found in arugula, may inhibit the activity of cancer-causing cells. Phytochemicals are substances like thiocyanates, sulforaphane, or indoles that are effective in countering cancer-causing tendencies in the body’s processes. A study in the PLOS One Journal suggests that these compounds help fight prostate, breast, cervical, colon, and ovarian cancers. However, the mechanism of action is not well-understood, so further ongoing research is needed.
▪️ Prenatal Care.
For expectant mothers, arugula is a wonderful choice to add to their diet. Folates, a classification that includes folic acid, have been shown to decrease occurrences of certain mental defects in newborns. It is rich in folates, as are many leafy vegetables.
▪️ Increases Metabolism.
Another benefit of arugula is the presence of small amounts of B-Complex vitamins that assisting in promoting metabolism. Eight B-vitamins participate and aid in all different cell activities, including energy production, fat synthesis, the production of red blood cells, and many other vital processes for cell and metabolic health.
▪️ Improves Eyesight.
Dr. Elizabeth J. Johnson, in her study on the role of carotenoids, states that they help improve eye health when consumed in natural form (not supplemental). Arugula is a well-known source of carotenoids, which are naturally occurring pigments that have long been famous for improving a person’s ability to see properly. Carotenoids slow down the process of macular degeneration, which is when the center of a person’s field of vision becomes compromised. By increasing the number of carotenoids in your diet, you may be able to slow down this symptom of old age.
▪️ Increases Mineral Absorption.
Arugula has a very low level of oxalates as compared to other popular leafy vegetables like spinach. Oxalates inhibit the absorption of minerals by the body’s systems, which is counterproductive to consuming minerals in the same bite. So minerals, like copper and iron, which you get from the plant, are more easily absorbed by the body for efficient use.
▪️ Weight Loss.
The inclusion of arugula in a diet is the same as any other low-calorie, vitamin or nutrient-rich plant; and it will inevitably have a positive effect on attempts at weight loss. By satisfying so many nutritional needs with a calorie density food, it is an easy way to watch your health and keep your system balanced, without making drastic changes to your diet.
▪️ Improves Overall Health.
Vitamin A has a significant presence in arugula, which means the ‘garden rocket’ eaters should have an improved condition of their bones, teeth, and eyes. The flavonoid compounds in all leafy vegetables similar to arugula have been shown to protect against carcinogens of the skin, lungs, and other organs.
▪️ Minerals in Arugula Help Control Blood Pressure.
Arugula contains significant amounts of the three specific minerals that help control your blood pressure — calcium, magnesium and potassium. All three play an important role in helping your blood vessels to relax, thereby promoting healthy blood pressure levels. Although arugula isn’t a top source of potassium, it does boost your intake of the nutrient — a 2-cup serving contains about 150 micrograms, or roughly 3 percent of the 4,700 micrograms of potassium recommended for healthy adults. Arugula is richer in calcium and magnesium — a 2-cup serving of the leafy green vegetable provides 6 percent and 5 percent of the recommended daily values for calcium and magnesium, respectively, based on a 2,000-calorie diet.
▪️ Nutrients in Arugula Promote Cardiovascular Health.
The fact that arugula contains a combination of nutrients known to help normalize and control blood pressure levels makes arugula a heart-healthy food, as high blood pressure can increase your risk of having a heart attack or stroke. Arugula is also a good source of folate, providing about 10 percent of the nutrient’s recommended daily value based on a 2,000-calorie diet. Folate, which is the natural form of folic acid, is most often cited for the important role it plays in fetal development, as pregnant women who are deficient in this important B vitamin are at a higher risk of giving birth to babies with birth defects. Folate also plays an essential role in amino acid metabolism. A lack of folate can elevate your homocysteine levels, and having too much of this amino acid circulating in your blood can increase your risk of heart disease.
▪️ Arugula could help you digest food better.
Arugula could help increase your dietary fiber intake. High fiber diets can help you digest food quicker and prevent constipation. Also, high fiber diets can reduce the risk of colon cancer, ulcerative colitis, and diverticulitis.
Meenakshi Nagdeve (23-7-2019), “10 Powerful Health Benefits Of Arugula (Eruca Sativa”، www.organicfacts.net
Meg Campbell (18-12-2018), “5 Health Benefits of Arugla You Need to Know”، www.livestrong.com
Maulik P. Purohit (6-10-2018), “7 Health Benefits Of Arugula”، www.dovemed.com