All types of green vegetables are beneficial for your health, and arugula is not an exception.
The leafy green arugula plant is also known as garden rocket, salad rocket, rugola and colewort. It is predominantly grown in the United States, Europe and North Africa.
Arugula is packed with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. It contains high levels of folic acid, vitamins A, C and K, as well as other minerals like potassium, manganese, iron and calcium.
This delicious leafy green is also high in fiber and phytochemicals, while it is low in sugar, calories, carbohydrates and fat.
Arugula’s flowers, seeds and leaves are all edible. The highly distinctive and peppery crunch of the leaves goes well with salads and other cold dishes. It can also be used as a healthy add-on topping for pizza, nachos, sandwiches and wraps. The soft leaves can even be chewed to combat bad breath.
No matter how you wish to eat arugula, you will surely benefit by doing so.
Here are the top reasons why you should start eating arugula.
1. Lowers Cancer Risk
Arugula is a cancer-fighting superfood. Apart from being rich in antioxidants, it also is packed with compounds known as glucosinolates, which are broken down into powerful compounds known as indoles, thiocyanates and isothiocyanates. These compounds are effective in preventing cancer.
A 2001 study published in the Journal of Nutrition found that phytochemicals from cruciferous plants offer anticancer benefits.
A 2014 study published in PLOS ONE reports that erucin, the major isothiocyanate in arugula, is beneficial in preventing cancer activities.
This helps in reducing the risk of developing lung, colorectal, breast, prostate, cervical, colon and pancreatic cancer.
2. Aids Weight Loss
Arugula has a positive effect on weight loss efforts. Its low calorie count means you are not adding unnecessary calories to your diet by eating arugula.
Moreover, arugula is among the most popular nutrient-dense foods, which means you get to control your calorie intake without sacrificing nutrition.
Being rich in dietary fiber, arugula helps fill you up, prevent nutrient deficiencies and provide ongoing energy.
Simply replace grain-based foods that promote weight gain with arugula and other dark leafy greens. You will be amazed at how quickly you’ll lose pounds.
3. Controls Blood Pressure
The potassium in arugula helps control your blood pressure. Potassium helps your kidneys get rid of more sodium through your urine, which in turn lowers your blood pressure.
Potassium is also vital for heart and nerve functions, as it helps the muscles contract normally.
The other minerals in arugula like calcium and magnesium also play an important role in helping your blood vessels to relax, thereby promoting healthy blood pressure levels.
Moreover, the inflammation-lowering antioxidants in arugula help control heart rhythms. Also, the dietary fiber in it aids in removing cholesterol and toxins from the body.
4. Detoxifies the Body
Arugula is highly alkaline and high in nutrients, thus aiding in detoxification. Restoring alkalinity in the blood is important for the detoxification process.
This leafy green is a great source of alkalizing and detoxifying chlorophyll. Chlorophyll helps protect healthy cells and bodily tissue by increasing phase II biotransformation enzymes.
Also, it promotes optimal liver health, which is important for the body’s natural elimination of potentially harmful toxins.
Plus, it is rich in vitamin C and phytochemicals that promote detoxification.
5. Keeps You Energetic
Arugula also provides a natural energy boost.
The amino acids in it are protein-building blocks, which means the body does not need to use energy to break it down. This in turn means you have more energy to do other things.
Being high in chlorophyll, arugula helps reduce inflammation in the body and increase energy and mobility.
Not just energy, the several B vitamins in it also promote metabolism by aiding fat synthesis and the production of red blood cells.
6. Boosts Immunity
Arugula is loaded with vitamins and minerals that help keep your immune system strong.
Vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant in arugula, helps fight dangerous, inflammatory free radicals and eliminate them from your body before they can cause real damage.
It also helps your body recover from injuries. This vitamin is even important for tissue health and the absorption of iron from food.
Being an alkaline food, arugula helps restore the body’s optimal pH level. An optimal pH level supports a strong immune system.
7. Improves Eyesight
Arugula is a very good source of carotenoids, which are naturally occurring pigments that are important for eye health. In fact, carotenoids slow down the process of macular degeneration, a very common eye problem that occurs with aging.
Your body converts carotenoids into vitamin A, which in turn promotes good vision, particularly at night. By increasing the amount of carotenoids in your diet, you can also reduce the risk of cataracts.
In addition, the two antioxidants called lutein and zeaxanthin that are found in good levels in arugula help protect your eye’s macula from harmful ultraviolet (UV) light that can cause eyestrain and vision problems.
8. Strengthens Bones
The high amount of vitamin K in arugula plays an important role in keeping your bones healthy. An adequate amount of vitamin K intake improves bone health by acting as a modifier of bone matrix proteins.
Vitamin K is important for the absorption of calcium into the bones and teeth. The mineral calcium also helps with muscle and nerve functions. Additionally, vitamin K reduces urinary excretion of calcium.
In fact, low intake of vitamin K is associated with a higher risk of bone fractures. Moreover, by eating arugula, you can reduce the risk for bone loss that can cause osteoporosis.