Arugula is a lesser-known cruciferous vegetable with many of the same advantages as other vegetables in the same family, including broccoli, kale, and Brussels sprouts.
The leaves of Arugula, also known as rocket or roquette, are tender with a tangy flavor and bite-sized. Arugula contains, along with other leafy greens, high amounts of beneficial nitrates and polyphenols.
This article provides an in-depth look at the potential health benefits of arugula, a nutritional breakdown, how to add it to the diet, and the potential health risks associated with arugula consumption.
Research has linked arugula and other cruciferous vegetables specifically with the following health advantages:
1. Reduced chances of cancer
While an overall good, vegetable-rich diet lowers the risk of cancer for an individual, studies have shown that unique anticancer benefits may be available for certain groups of vegetables.
A 2017 meta-analysis associated consuming more cruciferous vegetables with a decreased overall risk of cancer, along with a reduction in mortality for all causes.
The source of glucosinolates, which are compounds containing sulfur, is cruciferous vegetables. Glucosinolates may be responsible for the bitter taste and cancer-fighting power of the plants. The body breaks down glucosinolates, like sulforaphane, into a variety of beneficial compounds.
Researchers also found that sulforaphane is capable of inhibiting the histone deacetylase (HDAC) enzyme that is involved in cancer cell progression. The ability to avoid HDAC enzymes can in the future make foods containing sulforaphane a potentially important part of the treatment of cancer.
Findings have linked diets high in cruciferous vegetables with a decreased risk of breast cancer, colorectal cancer, lung cancer, prostate cancer, and more. However, the study is limited, and scientists need more high-quality evidence before confirming these benefits.
Broccoli, cauliflower, kale, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, and turnips are easily recognized as cruciferous vegetables. Arugula, bok choy, and watercress are less well-known types.
3. Prévention of osteoporosis
Arugula is rich in many main nutrients, including calcium and vitamin K, for bone health.
The Dietary Statistics Office reports that vitamin K is involved in the metabolism of the bone and that a deficiency will increase the risk of fracturing the bone. One of the main dietary sources of vitamin K is leafy green vegetables.
By playing an important role in bone mineralization, adequate intake of vitamin K enhances bone health and helps to improve how the body absorbs and excretes calcium, which is another critical nutrient for bone health.
Several analysis studies have shown that the risk of a person developing type 2 diabetes is decreased by consuming vegetables. A 2016 review study reports that leafy green vegetables are particularly advantageous.
One test tube analysis revealed that in mouse skeletal muscle cells, arugula extract had antidiabetic effects. This effect was produced by stimulating the uptake of glucose in the cells.
Plus, arugula and other cruciferous vegetables are a rich in fiber, which helps regulate blood glucose and may decrease insulin resistance. High fiber foods make individuals feel fuller for longer, which means they can help tackle overeating.
4. Heart health
Vegetable consumption has protective effects on the heart, specifically cruciferous vegetables.
A meta-analysis from 2017 notes that diets high in cruciferous vegetables, salads, and green leafy vegetables are associated with a decreased risk of cardiovascular disease.
In addition, a 2018 study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association confirmed that atherosclerosis in older women could be decreased by eating a diet rich in cruciferous vegetables. Atherosclerosis is a common disorder in which plaque in the arteries builds up, raising the risk of cardiovascular complications for an individual.
Due to their high concentration of beneficial plant compounds, including polyphenols and organosulfur compounds, the heart-protective effects of these vegetables can arise.
A cup of arugula weighing approximately 20 grams (g) contains approximately 5 calories, according to the United States Department for Agriculture (USDA) nutrient database.
A cup of arugula also contains:
- 0.516 g of protein
- 0.132 g of fat
According to the daily nutritional goals of an adult, set out in the Daily Values (DV) of the FDA, a cup of arugula can provide:
- 27.7% of vitamin K
- 3.2% of calcium
- 2.5% of vitamin C
In salads, people sometimes incorporate fresh arugula, but it also works well, just like other leafy greens, mixed into pasta, casseroles, and sauces.
It appears to sauté kale and collard greens faster than its tougher cousins. It gives more flavor to a dish than spinach or Swiss chard because of its tenderness.
People also mix arugula with other milder greens, such as watercress and romaine, because of its peppery flavor. In Italy, after baking, it is common to top the pizza with arugula.
Arugula is simple to grow and ideal for a garden with a windowsill. People can store arugula in the refrigerator and use it within a few days of purchase if store-bought or picked fresh.
Here are some tips for the everyday routine to incorporate more arugula:
- Add a handful of fresh arugula to an omelet or scramble.
- Throw a handful of arugula and blend into a fresh juice or smoothie.
- Sauté arugula in a small amount of extra virgin olive oil and season with freshly ground black pepper and freshly grated Parmesan cheese. Eat as a side dish or top a baked potato.
- Add arugula leaves to a wrap, sandwich, or flatbread.
When selecting foods to avoid illness and achieve good health, it is important to note that the most important considerations are the overall diet and eating habits. Consuming a diet rich in a variety of nutrient-dense foods is healthier than relying on individual foods.
People who take blood thinners, such as warfarin (Coumadin), should avoid starting to consume more or less vitamin K-containing foods suddenly, as this vitamin plays a crucial role in blood coagulation.
Nitrate-containing vegetable juice will accumulate bacteria that convert nitrate to nitrite and contaminate the juice if improperly stored. It can be dangerous to consume very high amounts of nitrite.
Keep in mind that large doses of foods rich in nitrate can interact with certain medicines, such as organic nitrate, nitroglycerin, or angina-treating nitrite medicines, such as tadalafil and vardenafil.
Arugula is a green peppery leaf that offers many of the same health benefits as other vegetables that are cruciferous. It has a high nutrient content and makes the majority of diets an outstanding and balanced addition.
A varied diet rich in leafy greens, including cardiovascular disease, obesity, and cancer, can help prevent health issues.
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