Arugula is a lesser known cruciferous vegetable that provides many of the same benefits as other vegetables of the same family, which include broccoli, kale, and Brussels sprouts.
Arugula leaves, also known as rocket or roquette, are tender and bite-sized with a tangy flavor. Along with other leafy greens, arugula contains
This article provides an in-depth look at the possible health benefits of arugula, a nutritional breakdown, how to add it to the diet, and possible health risks linked with eating arugula.
Eating fruits and vegetables of all kinds
Research has specifically linked arugula and other cruciferous vegetables with the following health benefits:
1. Reduced cancer risk
While an overall healthful, vegetable-rich diet reduces a person’s cancer risk, studies have shown that certain groups of vegetables can have specific anticancer benefits.
Cruciferous vegetables are a source of glucosinolates, which are sulfur-containing substances. Glucosinolates may be responsible for the plants’ bitter taste and their cancer-fighting power. The body breaks down glucosinolates into a range of beneficial compounds, including sulforaphane.
Reports have linked diets high in cruciferous vegetables with a reduced risk of breast cancer, colorectal cancer, lung cancer, prostate cancer, and more. However, the research is limited, and scientists need more high-quality evidence before confirming these benefits.
Easily recognized cruciferous vegetables include broccoli, cauliflower, kale, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, and turnips. Less well known types include arugula, bok choy, and watercress.
2. Osteoporosis prevention
Arugula is high in several key nutrients for bone health, including calcium and vitamin K.
One cup of arugula provides
Adequate vitamin K consumption improves bone health by playing an essential role in bone mineralization and
Arugula also contributes to a person’s daily need for calcium, providing
Several review studies have found that eating vegetables reduces a person’s risk of developing type 2 diabetes. A
Plus, arugula and other cruciferous vegetables are a good source of fiber, which
4. Heart health
Vegetable intake, specifically cruciferous vegetables, has protective effects on the heart.
In addition, a
The heart protective effects of these vegetables may be due to their high concentration of beneficial plant compounds, including polyphenols and organosulfur compounds.
According to the
A cup of arugula also contains:
- 0.516 g of protein
- 0.132 g of fat
According to an adult’s daily nutritional goals, set out in the
- 27.7% of vitamin K
- 3.2% of calcium
- 2.5% of vitamin C
Arugula also contains some iron, folate, magnesium, potassium, and provitamin A.
People commonly add fresh arugula to salads, but it also works well incorporated into pasta, casseroles, and sauces, just like other leafy greens.
It tends to sauté faster than its tougher cousins kale and collard greens. Because of its tenderness, and it lends more flavor to a dish than spinach or Swiss chard.
Due to its peppery flavor, people often mix arugula with other milder greens, such as watercress and romaine. In Italy, it is common to top pizza with arugula after baking.
Arugula is easy to grow and perfect for a windowsill garden. When store-bought or picked fresh, people should store arugula in the refrigerator and use it within a few days of purchase.
Here are some tips for incorporating more arugula into the daily routine:
- Add a handful of fresh arugula to an omelet or scramble.
- Throw a handful of arugula and blend into a fresh juice or smoothie.
- Sauté arugula in a small amount of extra virgin olive oil and season with freshly ground black pepper and freshly grated Parmesan cheese. Eat as a side dish or top a baked potato.
- Add arugula leaves to a wrap, sandwich, or flatbread.
When choosing foods for preventing disease and achieving good health, it is important to remember that the overall diet and eating patterns are the most important factors. It is better to eat a diet rich in a variety of nutrient-dense foods than to concentrate on individual foods.
People who are taking blood-thinners, such as warfarin (Coumadin), should avoid suddenly beginning to eat more or fewer foods containing vitamin K, as this vitamin plays a vital role in blood clotting.
If improperly stored, nitrate-containing vegetable juice
Keep in mind that consuming large doses of nitrate-rich foods may interact with certain medications, such as organic nitrate, nitroglycerine, or nitrite drugs that treat angina, such as tadalafil and vardenafil.
Arugula is a peppery leafy green that provides many of the same health benefits as other cruciferous vegetables. It has a high nutrient content and makes an excellent and healthful addition to most diets.
A varied diet rich in leafy greens can help prevent health problems, including cardiovascular disease, obesity, and cancer.