Salad greens are always healthy for you, right? Yes and no. Of course iceberg lettuce is far more healthful than a handful of french fries, but it does not contain a ton of vitamins, nutrients or minerals. Leafy greens, on the other hand, tend to be packed with necessary vitamins, nutrients and minerals to keep your body healthy and happy. Arugula is one leafy green that may be overlooked by many, but it is one that you should definitely be consuming.
The botanical name for arugula is Eruca sativa and it has roots in the cruciferous family of vegetables. Other popular vegetables from this family include cauliflower and kale. Arugula is also referred to as “salad rocket,” which is a fitting name due to the zesty flavor this leafy green gives to your salads. Arugula has roots in the Mediterranean region, making it a popular choice in Italian cuisine. The peppery flavor of arugula greens spice up any dish you add it to from a fresh garden salad to your favorite pasta meal.
Arugula is a member of the brassica family of vegetables (which also includes broccoli and cabbage) which are known to be full of fiber and high in antioxidants. Some of the specific health benefits of arugula are:
Fights Cancer – In addition to being rich in fiber and antioxidants, arugula also contains high levels of glucosinolates. Studies on vegetables from the brassica family suggest that these veggies may reduce the risk of developing breast, pancreatic, lung and prostate cancer.
Bone Health – Vitamin K is essential for strong, healthy bones. Your body needs vitamin K in order for proper absorption of calcium into your bones and teeth. Arugula is one of the best vegetable sources of vitamin K. A ½ cup serving of arugula contains 10.9 micrograms of vitamin K. If you consumed three cups of arugula, you would receive 100% of your necessary vitamin K for the day.
Weight Loss – Salads can get totally boring when you are attempting to lose weight, but not if you incorporate arugula into your salads. Arugula has a natural peppery flavor, adding a bit of zip to your salad. Additionally, one cup of arugula contains about 40 calories, so if you were to consume three cups of arugula (which provides you with all the vitamin K you need for the day), you would only be consuming 120 calories.
Hydration – Arugula is composed of 90% water. This makes it an excellent way to hydrate your body. Additionally, the peppery taste of arugula provides a natural cooling effect on your body, making arugula an excellent food to add to summer dishes for an extra bit of hydration.
Aphrodisiac – Bet you weren’t expecting this one, but arugula has been used as an aphrodisiac since the first century. Romans discovered that those who ate arugula were more sexually energized and arugula developed a reputation as a powerful aphrodisiac. There is actually science to back this up; the antioxidants and trace minerals found in this dark, leafy green are essential to your sexual health.
No matter what health benefit of arugula you find most appealing, you should definitely be adding this vegetable to your diet. Arugula is absolutely great for adding extra flavor to your salad, but you aren’t limited to salad if you want to introduce this veggie into your diet. Arugula is also a great addition to a pizza as it adds a lot of extra flavor but very few extra calories. Additionally, arugula tastes amazing added to your favorite tomato sauce of pesto recipe. Head to your local market and pick some of this leafy green up today to start seeing improvements in your health.