Arugula is a green leafy vegetable used in salads, pizza and other popular dishes. The bitter vegetable, also known as garden rocket or roquette, is a staple in Mediterranean cuisine and widely used in France and Italy. These days, the plant is also found in dishes in the U.S., where its peppery flavor enhances the taste of pasta, sandwiches and sauces.
As a superfood, arugula is packed with phytonutrients that benefit the body in many ways. Here are seven health benefits of arugula:
- It promotes eye health. Arugula is rich in beta-carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin. Beta-carotene is a carotenoid the body uses to create vitamin A. The bitter vegetable also contains lutein and zeaxanthin, both of which may prevent age-related macular degeneration and cataracts.
- It may reduce the risk of cancer. Arugula contains glucosinolates — sulfur-containing compounds that are metabolized into indoles, thiocyanates and isothiocyanates. According to research, isothiocyanates exhibit anti-cancer properties. Studies also suggest that eating arugula can help reduce the risk of lung, prostate, breast and pancreatic cancer.
- It is good for bone health. Arugula is a good source of calcium and vitamin K. In fact, it contains eight times more calcium than iceberg lettuce. Only three cups of the vegetable are needed to supply the body with 100 percent of its daily vitamin K needs. Vitamin K is needed to help the bones and teeth absorb calcium, thus promoting optimum bone health. People who have osteoporosis and those who are recovering from bone injuries are advised to eat arugula.
- It promotes weight loss and supports digestion – Arugula contains only 25 calories per 100 grams. It is also low in carbohydrates but high in fiber. This fiber, together with arugula’s water content, may help with indigestion. Fiber can also help reduce food intake by promoting satiety.
- It supports the growth of healthy skin – Because of its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, eating arugula is good for the skin. Since ancient times, people have been using this vegetable to treat common skin conditions like eczema, dry skin and acne. Adding arugula seed oil to your diet may also help protect your skin from harmful ultraviolet rays.
- It is good for brain health – In a study that focused on the role of folate and other nutrients in preventing cognitive decline, researchers discovered that among high-functioning older adults, the risk of developing cognitive decline is higher for those who have low folate levels. The researchers thus concluded that increasing dietary folate intake can help reduce the risk of cognitive decline. Arugula is rich in folate and provides 97 micrograms of this essential vitamin per 100-gram serving.
- It helps boost sexual performance – Eating arugula also benefits reproductive health. According to an animal study, arugula contains phytonutrients with aphrodisiac effects. The ancient Romans also used the vegetable as an aphrodisiac. (Related: Arugula is known as an aphrodisiac and as a top anti-cancer food.)
Arugula is a nutritious vegetable that offers plenty of health benefits. To learn more about the nutritional properties and medicinal uses of this superfood, visit Food.news.