Arugula is a low calorie, nutrient rich vegetable from the Brassicaceae family that includes mustard greens, radishes, cauliflower and kale. Sometimes called "garden rocket," a term derived from its scientific name Eruca sativa, arugula is a great alternative to iceberg lettuce because it offers a much greater density of nutrients with the same low calories.
Here are 10 health benefits of arugula:
Arugula is a cruciferous vegetable. Cruciferous vegetables are associated with reduced risk of cancer in many studies. Arugula is rich with valuable antioxidants, considered essential in preventing free radical activity in the body. Studies show that vitamin A and flavonoid compounds in arugula may help protect the body from skin cancer, lung cancer and oral cancer. Arugula is also a rich source of phytochemicals like sulforaphane, which has excellent chemoprotective effects and helps to fight carcinogens.
High In Antioxidants
Arugula is dense with the natural antioxidants vitamin C, vitamin K and vitamin A. In addition to fighting free radical activity, these vitamins offer great immune system support.
High In Vitamin C
Vitamin C is a well known as a powerful antioxidant that helps prevent cancer, boosts the immune system and fights the common cold.
High In Vitamin A
Vitamin A is a powerful antioxidant, boosts immunity and is great for the eyes, skin, bones and teeth.
High In Vitamin K
Three cups of arugula provide over 100% of your daily vitamin K needs.Vitamin K is known to promote bone health and brain function while acting as an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant.
Arugula is a good source of carotenoids, fat-soluable pigments that are known to help prevent macular degeneration. The vitamin C in arugula may help in the prevention of cataracts.
Arugula is also a good source of calcium, iron, potassium, manganese and phosphorous, all essential minerals that offer their own unique health benefits.
Low in Oxalate
Oxalates inhibit mineral absorption in the body. Other healthy leafy greens, such as spinach, have high levels of oxalate. However, arugula appears to offer relatively low levels of oxalate, making it a healthier alternative for people seeking foods high in calcium and other essential minerals.
Low levels of oxalates combined with a great variety of vitamins and minerals found in arugula make it great for bone health. One study of Vitamin K found that daily consumption of the vitamin led to decreased risk of bone fractures. Calcium, potassium, magnesium, manganese and vitamin C are all considered good contributors to positive bone health.
Though arugula has no proven ability to help aid in weight loss in and of itself, it remains a low calorie, nutrient rich food, and thus a great addition to any healthy diet.