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Arugula, also known as salad or garden rocket, is a nutritious leafy green vegetable of Mediterranean origin. It belongs to the brassicaceae family like mustard greens, cauliflower, kale…etc and has scientific name Eruca sativa.
Salad rocket is a low growing annual herb features dandelion like succulent, elongated, lobular leaves with green veins. Young plant features plain light green colour leaves, which appear identical to that of spinach. Young, tender leaves feature sweet, nutty, flavour with less peppery taste than strong spicy flavoured mature greens.
 Arugula is a quick growing, cool season crop. It prefers well-drained, fertile soil and full sun to flourish. In general, arugula grows to about 2-3 feet in height with creamy white colour edible flowers. Its leaves are ready to harvest within 40 days of sowing the seed.

Health benefits

As in other greens, arugula is one of very low calorie vegetable. 100 g of fresh leaves provides just 25 calories. Nonetheless, it has many vital phytochemicals, anti-oxidants, vitamins, and minerals that can immensely benefit health.

Rocket salad is rich source of certain phytochemicals such as indoles, thiocyanates, sulforaphane and isothiocyanates. Together they have been found to counter carcinogenic effects of estragon and thus help benefit against prostate, breast, cervical, colon, ovarian cancers by virtue of their cancer cell growth inhibition, cytotoxic effects on cancer cells.

In addition, di-indolyl-methane (DIM), a lipid soluble metabolite of indole has immune modulator, anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties (by potentiating Interferon-Gamma receptors and production). DIM has currently been found application in the treatment of recurring respiratory papillomatosis caused by the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) and is in Phase III clinical trials for cervical dysplasia.

Rocket is very good source of folates. 100 g of fresh greens contain 97 mcg or 24% of folic acid. When given around conception period it helps prevent neural tube defects in the new-borns.

Like kale, salad rocket is an excellent source of vitamin A. 100 g fresh leaves contain 1424 mcg of beta carotene and 2373 IU of vitamin A. Beta carotenes converts into vitamin A in the body. Studies found that vitamin A and flavonoid compounds in in green leafy vegetables help protect from skin, lung and oral cavity cancers.

This vegetable also rich in B-complex group of vitamins such as thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B-6 (pyridoxine), and pantothenic acid those are essential for optimum cellular enzymatic and metabolic functions.

Fresh rocket leaves contain good levels of vitamin C. Vitamin C is a powerful, natural anti-oxidant. Foods rich in vitamin C helps body protect from scurvy disease; develop resistance against infectious agents (boosts immunity) and scavenge harmful, pro-inflammatory free radicals from the body.

Salad rocket is one of the excellent vegetable sources for vitamin-K; 100 g provides about 90% of recommended intake. Vitamin K has potential role bone health by promoting osteotrophic (bone formation and strengthening) activity. Adequate vitamin-K levels in the diet helps limiting neuronal damage in the brain; thus, has established role in the treatment of patients suffering from Alzheimer's disease.

Arugula is good in minerals especially copper and iron. In addition, it has small amounts of some other essential minerals and electrolytes such as calcium, iron, potassium, manganese, and phosphorus.

Antioxidant Properties: Arugula is a great source of antioxidants and can greatly increase a person’s ORAC value (Oxygen radical absorbance capacity), which is a measurement of antioxidant strength. Antioxidants function to maintain a healthy balance of enzyme reactions within cells, while actively seeking out and destroying the disease-causing free radicals that can attack your system. Your immune system will also thank you for choosing arugula, because antioxidants work to bolster your defences against simple illnesses like the common cold as well as more complex afflictions, such as cancer, heart disease, and premature aging.

Healthy Body: Vitamin A is one of the antioxidants mentioned above, and its significant presence in arugula also guarantees “rocket” eaters improved condition of their bones, teeth, eyes, and teeth. The flavonoid compounds in all leafy vegetables similar to arugula have been shown to protect against skin, lung, and various oral types of cancer.

Strengthens Bones and the Brain: Another key bonus of arugula in a regular diet is the inclusion of vitamin K. This heavy-hitting antioxidant also functions as an anti-inflammatory boost to your body. Vitamin K also spurs on osteotrophic activity in cells, meaning that it helps bones form and strengthen. Gradual degradation of neural pathways, like that found in conditions like Alzheimer’s disease, can be slowed down by an increase in Vitamin K in a person’s diet. As such a good source for Vitamin K, the consumption of arugula has been cited as a small, yet worthwhile, preventative method of diseases of that type.

Arugula’s combinative effects of low oxalate levels (allowing more minerals into the system) and the presence of so many minerals in the plant itself make it a strong support system for healthy bones. Sufferers of osteoporosis can see improvements, but arugula can be used as a preventative step as well, ensuring bone health and strength before the age/activity-based effects of bone degeneration become serious.

Healthy Immune System: This well-known vitamin is found in large quantities in arugula and helps to prevent cancer and maintain good health in the body by giving an extra push to your immune system. Vitamin C is one of the best defences for your body to seek out dangerous, inflammatory free radicals and eliminate them from your body before they can cause real damage

Arugula is loaded with vitamins and minerals that in some way bolster the defences of the body’s immune system. The body is stimulated to create more white blood cells from the copper in arugula, and the plant has a number of other ways to improve the strength, durability, and functionality of your immune system.

Cancer Prevention: The consumption of arugula is a deterrent to cancer, because it has lots of phytochemicals. Phytochemicals are substances like thiocyanates, sulphoraphane, or indoles. Studies have shown these to be very successful in countering cancer-causing tendencies in the body’s own processes, helping to fight prostate, breast, cervical, colon, and ovarian cancers. These phytochemicals, found in large quantities within arugula, inhibit the activity of those cancer-causing cells.

Pre-Natal Health: For mothers who are expecting, arugula is a wonderful choice to add to your diet. Folates, a classification which includes folic acid, have been shown to decrease occurrences in certain mental defects in new-borns. It is rich in folates, as are many leafy vegetables.

Metabolic Functions: Another benefit of arugula is the presence of B-Complex vitamins, formerly known simply as vitamin B, which are is actually a group of eight distinct vitamins all working to promote cell metabolism and health. B Vitamins participate and aid in all different cell activities, including energy production, fat synthesis, the production of red blood cells, and many other vital processes for cell and metabolic health. It has large amounts of B-Complex vitamins in its organic structure.

Eyesight: Arugula is a well-known source of carotenoids, which are naturally occurring pigments that have long been famous for improving a person’s ability to see properly. In fact, carotenoids slow down the process of macular degeneration, which is when the centre of a person’s field of vision becomes compromised. In most instances, this causes cataracts, which then have to be removed. By increasing the amount of carotenoids in your diet (and arugula is a great source for them), arugula eaters may be able to slow down that classic symptom of old age.

Mineral Absorption: Arugula has a very low level of oxalates when compared to other popular leafy vegetables like spinach. Oxalates inhibit the absorption of minerals by the body’s systems, which is counterproductive to consuming minerals in the same bite. It does not have those high levels of oxalates, so the minerals, like copper and iron, which you get from the plant, are more easily absorbed by the body for efficient use. Eating something green does not necessarily mean that you are eating something healthy for you. Specific attention must be paid to what benefits certain plants and vegetables are actually providing.

Weight Loss: The inclusion arugula in a diet is the same as any other low-calorie, vitamin/nutrient-rich plant, and it will inevitably have a positive effect on any attempts at weight loss. By satisfying so many nutritional needs, it is an easy way to watch your health and keep your system balanced, without making drastic changes to your diet.


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20/02/2024  © Veggiefood