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Arugula Health Benefits You Need To Know

Arugula Health Benefits

Arugula, also known as rocket or rucola, is a leafy green vegetable that belongs to the Brassicaceae family, which includes other cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, kale, and cabbage. Despite its small size and humble appearance, arugula packs a powerful punch when it comes to health benefits.

From providing essential nutrients to potentially preventing chronic diseases, here’s why you should consider adding more arugula to your diet.

Arugula Health Benefits

Arugula may be small, but it’s mighty in terms of nutritional value. This leafy green is low in calories but high in essential vitamins and minerals. Just one cup (about 20 grams) of arugula provides a significant portion of your daily nutrient needs:

  • Vitamin K

Arugula is an excellent source of vitamin K, with one cup providing over 20% of the recommended daily intake. Vitamin K is crucial for bone health and plays a role in blood clotting.

  • Vitamin A

Arugula contains beta-carotene, a precursor to vitamin A, which is essential for maintaining healthy vision, immune function, and skin health.

  • Vitamin C

Like other leafy greens, arugula is rich in vitamin C, an antioxidant that supports immune function and helps the body absorb iron.

  • Folate

Arugula is a good source of folate, a B-vitamin important for cell growth and development, particularly during pregnancy.

  • Calcium

Despite its small size, arugula provides a small amount of calcium, which is essential for maintaining strong bones and teeth.

Antioxidant Properties

Arugula contains various antioxidants, including flavonoids, polyphenols, and carotenoids, which help protect the body from oxidative stress caused by free radicals. Oxidative stress has been linked to chronic diseases like cancer, heart disease, and diabetes.

By neutralizing free radicals, antioxidants in arugula may help reduce the risk of these conditions and promote overall health.

Supports Heart Health

Including arugula in your diet may promote heart health in several ways. Firstly, it’s low in calories and rich in nutrients, making it a heart-healthy choice for maintaining a healthy weight.

Additionally, arugula contains compounds like potassium and nitrates, which have been shown to support healthy blood pressure levels. Potassium helps regulate blood pressure by counteracting the effects of sodium, while nitrates may help dilate blood vessels, improving blood flow.

Anti-Inflammatory Effects

Chronic inflammation is linked to various health problems, including arthritis, heart disease, and autoimmune disorders. Arugula contains compounds like glucosinolates and vitamin K, which have anti-inflammatory properties.

Consuming arugula regularly may help reduce inflammation in the body and lower the risk of inflammatory conditions.

Supports Digestive Health

Arugula is a good source of dietary fiber, which is essential for digestive health. Fiber adds bulk to stool, making it easier to pass through the digestive tract and preventing constipation.

Additionally, fiber feeds the beneficial bacteria in the gut, promoting a healthy balance of gut flora. A healthy gut microbiome is associated with better digestion, immune function, and overall well-being.

Potential Cancer-Fighting Properties

Some research suggests that arugula may have cancer-fighting properties. Cruciferous vegetables like arugula contain compounds called glucosinolates, which are broken down into bioactive compounds like indoles and isothiocyanates when chewed or digested.

These compounds have been studied for their potential to inhibit the growth of cancer cells and reduce the risk of certain types of cancer, including breast, lung, and colon cancer.

How to Incorporate Arugula Into Your Diet?

Adding more arugula to your diet is easy and delicious. Here are some simple ways to enjoy this nutritious leafy green:

  • Salads

Use arugula as a base for salads, either on its own or mixed with other greens like spinach or kale. Add your favourite veggies, nuts, seeds, and protein sources for a nutritious and satisfying meal.

  • Sandwiches and Wraps

Add a handful of arugula to sandwiches, wraps, or burgers for an extra boost of flavour and nutrition.

  • Pesto

Make a vibrant and flavourful arugula pesto by blending arugula with garlic, nuts, Parmesan cheese, olive oil, and lemon juice. Use it as a sauce for pasta, pizza, or grilled meats.

  • Smoothies

Add a handful of arugula to your favourite smoothie recipe for a nutrient-packed boost. Its mild flavour pairs well with fruits like pineapple, apple, or mango.

Conclusion

Arugula is more than just a tasty addition to salads – it’s a nutritional powerhouse with a wide range of health benefits. From providing essential vitamins and minerals to potentially reducing the risk of chronic diseases, including arugula in your diet can support overall health and well-being. Whether enjoyed raw in salads, blended into smoothies, or used as a flavorful ingredient in various dishes, arugula is a versatile and delicious way to boost your nutrient intake and enhance your health. So next time you’re at the grocery store or farmer’s market, be sure to pick up some fresh arugula and give your body a healthy dose of greens.

Written by Amy Fischer

Amy, a registered dietitian at the Good Housekeeping Institute's Nutrition Lab, brings a wealth of expertise to nutrition, health content, and product testing. With a journalism degree from Miami University of Ohio and a master's in clinical nutrition from NYU, she's a versatile expert. Prior to joining Good Housekeeping, Amy worked as a cardiac transplant dietitian at a prominent NYC hospital and contributed to clinical nutrition textbooks. Her background also includes PR and marketing work with food startups.

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