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Arugula is a leafy green worth adding to your diet! Here’s why

Arugula is a green-leafy, cruciferous vegetable which has many health benefits such as reducing the risk of cancer and diabetes. Read on to know more
Arugula leaves are nutrient-dense and help our bodies in a number of ways. Image courtesy: Freepik
Anjuri Nayar Singh Published: 18 Jun 2024, 01:15 pm IST

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Arugula is a green-leaf vegetable with numerous health benefits. It is full of antioxidants and can reduce the risk of many chronic diseases such as cancer and diabetes. It can also make our bones stronger, as it contains calcium and vitamin K. Eating this cruciferous vegetable can help in better heart health as well. Arugula can be added to salads, as well as pasta, pizzas and other sauces. Smoothies and juice can also be made with arugula, and it can be added to sandwiches too. Read on to learn more about the versatile arugula and how to add it to your diet.

What is Arugula?

Arugula, also known as rocket or roquette, has small leaves that have a rather tangy flavour. It originated from the Mediterranean region and belongs to the Brassica or the cruciferous family, which is the same as Brussels sprouts, kale, cauliflower, and broccoli. Wild arugula has a more pungent taste. You also get baby arugula in the market, which is when the farmers harvest arugula earlier than usual. It is packed with nutrition and is very healthy for the body.

Arugula Nutrition

Is arugula healthy? According to the US Food and Drug Administration, 100g of raw arugula has the following nutrients:

Water: 91.7g
Energy 25 Kcal
Protein: 2.58g
Fat: 0.66g
Carbohydrate: 3.65g
Fibre: 1.6g
Calcium: 160mg
Iron: 1.46 mg

Arugula comes from the family of cruciferous vegetables such as kale and cabbage. Image courtesy: Freepik

What are the health benefits of Arugula?

1. May reduce blood pressure

One of the biggest arugula benefits is that it is rich in nitrates, and this may have an impact on blood pressure. According to a study published in Nutrients, high levels of nitrates can help regulate and reduce blood pressure. Besides this, it can also enhance athletic performance and reduce the amount of oxygen that the body needs while performing an exercise.

2.  May reduce cancer risk

Arugula has a peppery, bitter taste, and this can, in turn, reduce the risk of cancer. The bitter taste is due to the presence of glucosinolates, which are there in all cruciferous vegetables. The body breaks this down into many beneficial compounds, including sulforaphane. A study published in Current Pharmacology Reports, suggests that Sulphoraphane can inhibit the enzyme, histone deacetylase (HDAC), responsible for cancer progression.

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3. May improve bone health and density

Arugula contains healthy amounts of calcium and vitamin K. A cup of arugula contains 32 mg of calcium, which can contribute to a person’s daily requirement, which is 1000 mg in adults, states the US Food and Drug Administration. Vitamin K helps in bone metabolism as well as better absorption of calcium. One cup of arugula contains 21. mcg of vitamin K, while our daily requirement of vitamin K is 80mcg. Therefore, it can help prevent bone diseases such as Osteoporosis.

4. May reduce risk of diabetes

Eating cruciferous vegetables such as arugula can reduce the risk of diabetes. A study published in the Journal of Diabetes Investigation, states that green leafy vegetables are beneficial in preventing type 2 diabetes. A mice study, published in Pharmaceutical Biology, stated that arugula extract had an antidiabetic effect in the muscle cells of the mice. It helped to stimulate glucose uptake in the cells.

5. Promotes heart health

Arugula can give you a healthier heart as well. A study, published in the Journal of American Heart Association, states that cruciferous vegetables such as arugula could prevent Atherosclerosis in Older Adult Women. Atherosclerosis is a condition where plaque buildup happens in the arteries, and this can lead to heart-related problems. Cruciferous vegetables contain plant compounds such as polyphenols and organosulfur compounds, that protect the heart.

6. Helps with vision

Arugula contains vitamin A, which has antioxidants which help with night vision, and overall eye health as well. Therefore, eating arugula every day can help your eyesight get better.

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How to include arugula in your diet

There are several ways that arugula can be made part of your regular diet. Fresh arugula can be added to salads.

Not only will it make it more nutritious, but it will also enhance the taste, as arugula has a rather peppery and tangy flavour. You may even add it to fruit and berry salads.

It can also be eaten raw and can become a tasty topping to pizzas. It can be added to sandwiches, and nachos as well as included in wrap fillings.

You could also throw in some arugula to juices and smoothies, making them nutrient-dense, as well as yummier.

Besides this, arugula can be sauteed and added to many recipes and stir-fries. When cooked, it is not as peppery as it is raw, and would not interfere with the taste of the dish too much.

Raw arugula can be added to salads, to enhance the taste and make them healthier. Image courtesy: Freepik

Side effects of arugula

There can be some side effects of arugula if it is not properly stored, or had in excess. Arugula juice, if not properly stored, can lead to an increase in its nitrate levels, states a study published in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology. High levels of nitrate can also interfere with certain medications.

Summary

Arugula is a highly nutritious green leafy vegetable with a rather tangy and peppery taste. It can be consumed raw and added to salads, juices, smoothies, sandwiches, as well as pastas and pizzas. It can also be sauteed and added to stir fries. It is rich in calcium and vitamin K, as well as contains healthy amounts of Nitrate. It may help to prevent cancer, improve bone health, prevent diabetes, and help with better eyesight, and heart health.

FAQs

Can arugula be eaten every day?

Yes, it can be eaten every day, and will make a healthy addition to a balanced diet. It is rich in nutrients and low in calories, and that makes it perfect for regular consumption.

Can arugula be eaten raw?

Yes, it can be eaten raw. It can be added to salads, sandwiches, smoothies as well as juices.

Anjuri Nayar Singh

Anjuri Nayar Singh has over 12 years of experience in writing for various topics including lifestyle, films, television and OTT. She also writes on art and culture, education and human interest stories. ...Read More

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