Arugula (Eruca sativa) is the underdog of the cruciferous family. You can never know its potential until you try it out. It has so many health benefits which you will learn about in this post.
Someone who doesn’t know what Arugula looks like might mistake it for fancy lettuce when seen for the first time.
Table of Contents
- What is Arugula (Eruca sativa)?
- History of Arugula
- The Nutritional Profile Of Arugula
- The Health Benefits of Arugula
- How to Consume Arugula
- Does Arugula Have Side Effects?
What is Arugula (Eruca sativa)?
Arugula is a common leafy green plant and it is a common salad vegetable. It is closely related to cauliflower, kale, and radish and has a slightly spicy and peppery taste.
Arugula has many names and some of them are: colewort, roquette, rucola, garden rocket, and salad rocket. Throughout the world, this vegetable exists as wild species but it is also grown on a large scale for commercial purposes.
Colewort is commonly used in North Africa, Europe, and the Americas.
History of Arugula
The use of this plant dates back to ancient times, it has even been a part of literature for centuries.
It is believed that this plant was first harvested in the 6th century and has been a part of poetry, philosophy, and other forms of writing.
Even Piny the Elder and Virgil mentioned this plant in the writing. It is also mentioned in the bible, Jewish texts like the Talmud and Mishna, and other religious texts. The pioneers of medicine studied the benefits and influence of this plant.
It has been part of the human diet for ages and the Italians used it daily in their meals until its use and fame declined around the 19th and 20th century.
Historic records mention the use of this plant as an aphrodisiac and anesthetizing agent. In ancient Rome, this vegetable was an important part and their diet and they used to seeds to flavor oils.
Records show that arugula seeds were used to create aphrodisiac tonics since the first century.
Right now, arugula has made its way back into man’s diet as one of the healthiest foods on the planet. It gives your salad a distinct deliciousness and also increases the nutritional value of your meals.
Throughout history, it has been used for its medicinal properties and it is a wonderful way to improve your overall wellbeing through diet.
The Nutritional Profile Of Arugula
100 grams of this vegetable contains:
- 52 milligrams of phosphorous
- 47 milligrams of magnesium
- 1.46 milligrams of iron
- 160 milligrams of calcium
- 2.05 grams of sugars
- 1.6 grams of dietary fiber
- 3.65 grams of carbohydrates
- 1.4 grams of ash
- 0.66 grams of total lipids
- 2.58 grams of proteins
- 105 kilojoule of energy
- 91.71 grams of water
It also contains sodium, potassium, high levels of vitamin C and folate. This veggie also contains fat-soluble vitamins A, E, and K and small amounts of vitamin B complex.
The rich nutrient profile of Eruca sativa is responsible for its medicinal and health benefits.
The Health Benefits of Arugula
A dense source of chlorophyll
Chlorophyll has made lots of waves in the food and alternative health industry because of its immense health benefits. This is why you see many forms of chlorophyll around today.
There are extraordinary benefits of chlorophyll and arugula is very rich in it. It cleanses your body of toxins and protects your cells from damages caused by free radicals.
Consuming this plant on a regular basis will promote detoxification and thorough cleansing of the body from within. This, in turn, will prevent diseases from taking root.
Rich in antioxidants
This veggie is a great source of antioxidants and when consumed, it increases one’s ORAC (oxygen radical absorbance capacity) value. The ORAC value is a method of measuring the antioxidant capacity of foods and substances.
Antioxidants destroy free radicals and reduce the damage they cause, they maintain a healthy balance of enzymatic reactions in cells. In this way, antioxidants improve immunity and protect your body against chronic diseases.
The presence of dietary fiber in this plant boosts digestion and stimulates bowel movement. Fiber keeps your digestive system in check and it also promotes the absorption of nutrients from the food you eat.
Arugula is highly useful for people having diarrhea as the fiber in it will bulk up the stool. Fiber prevents leaky gut and keeps your intestine healthy.
Boosts bone health
Colewort is rich in vitamin K, an essential nutrient that plays an important role in the formation of bones. It even promotes healthy and strong bones.
Increasing your intake of vitamin K will help reduce the gradual deterioration of the neural pathways caused by aging.
One wonderful thing about Arugula is that it has low levels of oxalate. This antinutrient prevents the absorption of minerals. But since this is very low in oxalates, it boosts the absorption of minerals and other nutrients.
This plant contains many minerals and with its low oxalate content, they can easily be absorbed. With all these minerals available, your bones will be healthy and strong.
Your risks of osteoporosis will reduce. Arugula improves the symptoms of osteoporosis in patients.
Vitamin has a strong anti-inflammatory property and arugula has a rich amount of this vitamin. It relieves inflammation in the joints and other parts of your body.
This vitamin also helps to maintain bone density. This will prevent arthritis and osteoporosis which are highly inflammatory conditions.
Boosts the immune system
The vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals present in Arugula improve your body defense system when consumed. Copper from this vegetable stimulates your body to create more white blood cells.
Another powerful nutrient in this plant is vitamin C and it is one of the best defenses for your body. It scavenges free radicals from your body before they cause damage.
Vitamin C just improves your overall health and gives your immune system an extra push. There are many other ways this plant improves the functions and strength of your immune system.
Prevents and combats cancer
Studies done over the last 30 years have shown that a huge intake of arugula can reduce your risks of cancer. Cruciferous vegetables like this have a bitter taste because they contain sulforaphanes.
These are compounds that contain sulfur and they have powerful cancer-fighting abilities.
Has a strong anti-cancer property
There are many phytochemicals in arugula that protect the body against cancer. They inhibit the activity of carcinogens and cancer-causing cells in the body.
Some of the cancer-fighting phytochemicals in this vegetable are indoles, sulforaphane, thiocyanate, and others that stop the formation and progression of cancer right in its track.
A study revealed that these compounds help fight off cancers of the ovaries, colon, cervix, breasts, and prostate. However, further research is still going on because their mechanisms of action are not well understood.
There are many antioxidants in this plant and one of them is the alpha lipoic acid. From studies, this antioxidant has shown high efficacy in increasing the sensitivity of insulin and reducing oxidative changes caused by stress in diabetic people.
Alpha lipoic acid also helps in reducing autonomic and peripheral neuropathy. Arugula is a good diabetic food.
Promotes healthy pregnancy
Arugula is a wonderful vegetable for expectant mothers. Pregnant women should take it regularly because it is a rich source of folate.
Folate has many benefits for both the mother and the growing fetus. It reduces the risks of mental defects in newborn babies and many more.
Enhances athletic performance
This vegetable is rich in nitrate and this nutrient improves the oxygenation of muscles during exercises and physical performance.
Consuming this vegetable regularly will increase your endurance and resilience during exercise and workouts. Nitrates help improve life quality of people who find it hard to conduct their daily activities.
This makes arugula a good food for people with metabolic, cardiovascular, and respiratory diseases.
Arugula has small amounts of vitamin B complex which help in promoting metabolism. Every of the B complex vitamins participate in different cell activities and aid them.
There are many functions of B complex in the body: they boost the production of energy, aid fat synthesis, increase the production red blood cells, and do many other vital processes for metabolic and cell health.
Improves heart health
This vegetable can improve the health of your blood vessels and its anti-inflammatory property will help reduce the levels of cholesterol and homocysteine.
A diet that is rich in nutrients and low in calories will improve circulation, balance blood pressure, and reduce the risks of stroke and heart attack.
There are vital antioxidants in this plant which reduce inflammation. They contain important nutrients like potassium and magnesium which play a lot of roles in the body.
These minerals help to control the activities of dietary fiber, heart rhythms, and even eliminate cholesterol and toxins from the body.
There are carotenoids in this humble vegetable and they help improve the health of the eyes when you consume them in natural forms. In the body, these compounds are converted to vitamin A.
The supplemental forms of carotenoids are not as effective as their natural forms. Carotenoids are naturally occurring pigments in plant that help a person to see well.
They reduce the process of macular degeneration, this is a condition characterized by a compromised field of vision. Macular degeneration is a symptom of old age but you can slow down this process by increasing your intake of arugula.
Boosts hair benefits
Arugula oil is a great home remedy for hair problems. You can ingest the oil moderately and apply it on your scalp. The nutrients in it will make your hair stronger, healthier, and thicker.
Some of the hair benefits of this oil are:
- Eliminate dry dandruff
- Heals hair damaged by chemicals, staining, and the sun
- It is an excellent remedy for dry hair
- It enhances curls and strengthens your roots
- Stimulates hair growth
- Provides the ideal hair nutrition
- Stops hair breakage and hair loss
Prevents mineral deficiencies
There are very low levels of oxalates in this plant when compared to other green vegetables like spinach. Oxalates are antinutrients that stop the body from absorbing minerals.
This can make the intake of such vegetable counterproductive. However, arugula has low levels of oxalates and high levels of copper, calcium, and iron which your body can easily absorb without hindrance.
Improves skin health
This helpful herb is highly effective in treating and preventing skin problems and conditions. It has been used by Traditional medicine systems in the Middle East for centuries to reverse skin disorders.
Arugula oil prevents inflammatory skin disorders and it is a natural treatment for psoriasis and eczema. Even consuming the raw leaves of this plant can protect you from the UV rays of the sun.
It slows down the signs of aging due to its rich antioxidant content that fight against cell damage and proliferation. This plant improves your skin immunity, its appearance, and protects the elasticity of your skin.
Promotes weight loss
This is a low calories and nutrient-rich plant that have a positive effect on weight loss. It is satisfying, balances your metabolism, and makes it easy for you to watch your weight and improve your overall health without making drastic changes to your diet.
Relieves erectile dysfunction
For long, Colewort has been used as a medicine to boost sexual desires in men. Even when taken along with sildenafil, it improves its effectiveness in people.
Sildenafil is a vasodilator utilized to treat high blood pressure and erectile dysfunction. It is a prescription medicine like Revatio and Viagra.
Promotes overall health
There are lots of nutrients and phytochemicals in this vegetable that can give consumers improved bone, teeth, and eyes health. The flavonoids in arugula have shown protective effects against carcinogens of the lungs, skins, and other organs.
How to Consume Arugula
It can be eaten raw, taken as smoothie, or in green salad. Below is an arugula green salad recipe that will boost your health.
Arugula green salad
- One cup of finely chopped arugula
- One cup of chopped lettuce
- One cup of 1 inch pieces radicchio
- ¼ cup of parsley leaves
- 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
- 3 teaspoons of fresh lime juice
- Salt and pepper to taste
Mix all the lettuce, radicchio leaves, and arugula in a bowl. Add the lime juice and olive oil for additional flavor. Add the salt and pepper, and then garnish your salad with freshly chopped parsley.
This healthy appetizer can serve 4 people.
Does Arugula Have Side Effects?
People who are placed on blood thinning medications like warfarin and others should not suddenly increase their intake of vitamin K-rich foods because this vitamin has a huge impact of blood clotting.
When you juice arugula, it is best you drink it immediately or store it properly in a fridge. Bacteria can accumulate in it and change nitrate to nitrite. This will contaminate the juice, and besides, high levels of nitrite are potentially dangerous.
If you are on medications for cardiovascular disorders, consult your doctor before starting a diet rich in nitrate. It can interact with some medicines used to treat cardiovascular conditions.
The sulforaphane in arugula can cause short-term side effects like cramping, abdominal discomforts, and flatulence.
Apart from these reasons above, arugula is a perfectly safe food and does not cause side effects or allergies in people. It is not possible to over-indulge in it since it has a low-sugar and low-calorie content.
Also, as a cruciferous vegetable, arugula has a low content of chemical compounds that have the potential of interfering with the functions of the thyroid gland.
Other cruciferous vegetables can interfere with your thyroid gland when consumed in large amounts. No matter your state of health, there exists just a very low risk when you eat more arugula and most of that is when you are on medications.
One of the ways to improve your diet and your overall health is to include arugula in your meals.