Everything you need to know About Arugula
Arugula is also known as rocket and is one of the cruciferous group of vegetables, which are loaded with amazing health benefits. Arugula is popular and versatile in the kitchen, as it can be used as a herb, a salad green, and even a leaf vegetable. It can be used both raw or cooked.
3 Interesting Facts
- Arugula indigenous to the Mediterranean area and is a favorite in the foods of Italy, Morocco. Portugal, and Turkey.
- Arugula leaves are tender and bite-sized. If you ever see a salad green referred to as rocket, be aware that this is the other name for arugula.
- Arugula, or rocket, is easy to grow and available all year round.
History of arugula
Arugula has been mentioned in several religious texts, including the Bible, and Jewish texts such as Mishnah and Talmud. The bible reference can be found in the Old Testament book, 2nd Kings, where it is referred to as the herb known as broth. The Jewish texts date back to the first century AD when it was used as both a food and a medicine.
In ancient Rome and Egypt, it was believed that the leaves and seeds of arugula contained powerful aphrodisiac properties.
This vegetable was first brought to America by British settlers, but only in the 1990’s, did it become a popular salad and food ingredient in the US. Arugula grows best in moderate to cool climates, and it can grow on dry land or in wet soil.
Nutritional Facts of arugula
- This vegetable is high in antioxidants, and phytonutrients, also known as plant chemicals.
- It is an excellent source of fiber.
- Contains vitamins A, C, and K.
- Rich in minerals such as folate, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and manganese.
- Contains high levels of vegetable protein, zinc, copper, and a host of B vitamins, including B6.
- Also present is indole-3-Carbinol (I3C) a potent cancer-fighting agent.
- Low in calories, carbohydrates, fats, and sugar. According to the US National Nutritional Database, 40 grams of arugula, contain only 10 calories, 1gr of protein, 0.3 gr fat, 1.5 gr carbohydrate, which includes 0.6 gr fiber and 0.8 gr sugar.
- Is packed with flavonoids, and carotenoids, which the body converts into vitamin A.
Amazing Health benefits of Arugula
Here are 12 of the major health benefits in arugula supported by science.
Antioxidants maintain a healthy balance of enzyme reactions in the cells and destroy the free radicals which travel in the body attacking the system and laying you open to disease.
High in Vitamin A
The vitamin A content is also a powerful antioxidant and promotes the good condition of bones, teeth, eyes and skin.
Vitamin K in arugula is an anti-inflammatory which boosts bone health and prevents arthritis from developing.
An added benefit of vitamin K is that it helps the body to absorb calcium, which is a strong support for osteoarthritis sufferers.
Vitamin C supports the immune system, making you less prone to infections and diseases doing the rounds. Vitamin C is a defense system which also seeks out and destroys the dangerous inflammation-causing free radicals.
Research has shown that this powerful vegetable is a deterrent to cancer. The phytochemicals (natural plant chemicals) in arugula have proved to be successful in inhibiting, and helping to fight, specifically prostate, breast, cervical, colon and ovarian cancer.
Indole-3-Carbonol (I3C) is a compound present which is said to balance out hormone levels. Studies revealed that I3C was found to curb estrogen receptors in breast membranes, reducing the risk of breast, endometrial and cervical cancers, which feed on estrogen, as well as stop these cancers from growing.
The carotenoids, which the body converts into vitamin A, can slow down the development of eye diseases like macular degeneration.
The presence of B-complex vitamins help to boost cell health, and other processes necessary for cell and metabolic health.
When compared to other foods such as spinach, almonds, legumes and beet greens, arugula is relatively low in oxalates. Oxalates specifically inhibit the body’s ability to absorb calcium. This ensures that calcium, a vital mineral for health, is properly absorbed.
Foods high in oxalates, such as spinach etc, may promote the formation of painful kidney stones. Arugula, on the other hand, because of the low oxalate levels, can lower the risk of kidney stones developing.
Arugula, like many other vitamin and nutrient plants, contains fat burning properties. Combined with a healthy diet, exercise and eating less, arugula will have a positive effect on your weight loss efforts.
This vegetable is completely safe for expectant mothers. Studies have shown that folic acid, one of the B vitamins, may decrease the danger of birth defects in newborns
Rich in Vitamin B5
The pantothenic acid (vitamin B5) has a favorable effect on high cholesterol levels. It has the potential to improve HDL (good) cholesterol and also decreases the LDL (bad) cholesterol in the blood. This has a positive effect on blood pressure numbers, the arteries, and the cardiovascular system.
Added benefits include the ability to cleanse the body and counteract the poisoning effects of heavy metal toxins. Arugula also has the power to eliminate pesticides and herbicides from the body.
How to add more arugula to your diet
- Add to pesto and sauces for its pungent, peppery flavor.
- Use as a tasty, leafy bed for grilled seafood.
- Chop finely and sprinkle on pizza and pasta before serving.
- Use in salad with other greens for a revved up taste.
- Add leaves to toasted cheese and tomato sandwiches.
- Chop finely and use in omelets, or with cheese on a baked potato.
- Blend into a fresh juice or smoothie.
- Add leaves to wrap or sandwich fillings.
- Add to any casseroles, pasta, soups, and sauces.
Are there side effects connected with arugula?
If you are using blood thinning medication, consult your doctor first before eating arugula in large quantities. The high levels of nitric oxide and vitamin K in arugula, work together to open the arteries and allow the blood to flow freely. This improves blood vessel function and lowers blood pressure. The medication combined with arugula may cause blood pressure to drop too low.
There are no other contra-indications, and it is deemed that arugula is safe to eat.
Here are two delicious arugula recipes
Arugula salad with olive oil, lemon, and parmesan cheese
- 2 bunches arugula, washed, dried and torn.
- ¼ cup virgin olive oil.
- ½ lemon- juice, salt and black pepper taste.
In a serving bowl drizzle the arugula with the olive oil, add lemon juice, salt, and pepper to taste. Toss until well-mixed and check seasoning for taste. Shave thinly sliced pieces of Parmesan over the top. Serve.
Arugula salad with pesto and vinaigrette
- 1 cup chopped tomatoes, 1 cup canned artichoke hearts, quartered. 5 cups baby arugula.
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar, 2 tablespoons store-bought pesto sauce.
Arrange tomatoes and artichoke hearts over a bed of arugula. Whisk together the vinegar and pesto. Drizzle over salad. Serve.
Arugula is a plant with a rich history which dates back thousands of years. The leafy, green plant is loaded with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. It is an excellent choice to add it to your diet for a healthier body and to keep your mind clear and focused. Your skin and hair will also look and feel healthier than ever before.
There is a wide range of health benefits, all supported by science, for almost every area of the body from the brain to the liver, to the intestines.
You too can enjoy these amazing benefits if you regularly include arugula in your diet.
Arugula is found all over the world but is mainly used in the Americas, Europe, and North Africa. No matter where you may be, arugula is readily available and inexpensive.
Make it part of your life for optimum health.
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