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Arugula: Health Benefits Of The Mediterranean Wonder Green

Scientifically termed as Eruca sativa, Arugula belongs to the family Brassicaceae. Arugula is commonly known as garden rocket, rocket salad, rucola, rugula, roquette and colewort. The leafy green plant is found in the West and East Mediterranean region[1] , stretching from Portugal and Morocco to Turkey, Syria and Lebanon. Likely, the name of Arugula varies hinging on the area you are located in. The predominant commercial consumption of Arugula is found in parts of America, North Africa and Europe; with the green leaf being a constant ingredient in Italian cuisine.

The zestfulness, as well as the slight spiciness of the leafy green, makes it a common ingredient in dishes varying from salads to pizzas. Although resembling a lettuce in its form, arugula cannot be simply put in line with any other category of greens due to the plethora of health benefits the leafy green possess. As per the statistics report of the USDA National Nutrient Database, Arugula is suffused with minerals, vitamins and antioxidants. Arugula is denominated as being a superior leafy green in comparison to the other leafy green assortments due to the decisive impact it has on the human body and mind.

Nutritional Value Of Arugula

Arugula has a very low fat content of 0.66 grams. The nutrient content of the leafy green is as follows:

  • 3.65 grams carbohydrates
  • 1.6 grams dietary fibre
  • 2.05 grams sugar
  • 2.58 grams protein
  • 91.71 grams water
  • 160 milligrams calcium
  • 1.46 milligrams iron
  • 47 milligrams magnesium
  • 27 milligrams sodium
  • 369 milligrams potassium
  • 52 milligrams phosphorus
  • 97 milligrams folate
  • 1.42 milligrams vitamin A
  • 15 milligrams vitamin C
  • 108. 6 micrograms vitamin K
Source: USDA [2]

Health Benefits Of Arugula

Ranging from detoxification of the body to resisting cancer, the miracle leafy green helps in the absorption of minerals to the augmentation of athletic performance.

1. Detoxifies the body

The ample amount of antioxidants in arugula has the ability to increase an individual's oxygen radical absorbance capacity (ORAC) that measures the antioxidant capacity. By regulating the enzyme reactions within the cells, the antioxidants present in arugula aids in destroying [3] the free radicals present in the human body. Through eliminating the disease inducers, the antioxidants help you in leading a healthy life and strengthens your immune system against simple as well as complex infirmities such as a common cold, premature ageing[4] , heart diseases and even cancer.

2. Fights & prevents cancer

Being a cruciferous vegetable, arugula is directly linked to the possible risk reduction of various types of cancer. As studies have revealed, the consumption of cruciferous vegetables such as arugula fights and prevents cancer due to the presence of isothiocyanates [5] such as sulforaphane and erucin. It has been pointed out that dietary vegetables such as cabbage, kale, cauliflower, broccoli contains cancer-preventive components, but arugula stands apart due to the large quantities [6] of glucoerucin. Researchers have revealed that erucin present in arugula fights the tumour cells by suppressing the microtubule [7] dynamics.

3. Aids in the diabetes fight

The antioxidant alpha-lipoic acid present in the miracle leaf has been proved to be effective in lowering the glucose level and increasing the insulin sensitivity. It also aids in preventing the oxidative stress-induced transition in a diabetic patient. The nitrate presence in arugula makes it a compulsory ingredient in the diet for individuals suffering[8] from type 2 diabetes. As per the dietary plan for a diabetic patient by the Group Health Cooperative of South Central [9] , arugula is a must ingredient. The components also help in increasing the peripheral and autonomic neuropathy.

4. Helps in weight loss

Arugula's low-calorie, nutrient and vitamin-rich properties inescapably have a direct impact on weight loss. By providing the necessary sustenance to the body, arugula does not add to the body weight [10] due to its low count of calories.

Top 10 Vegetables That Aids In Weight Loss

5. Improves the bone health

The richness of vitamin K and calcium in arugula makes it a definite source of bone health. The incorporation of arugula in the diet delays the onset of osteoporosis, thereby promoting the formation of bones. According to a 2003 study by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, arugula's reduced level of oxalate allows the increased absorption of minerals, thereby providing a strong base for healthy bone [11] development.

6. Improves the eyesight

Arugula contains a good amount of vitamin A, which aids in improving the eyesight. The leafy green carries out the action by protecting the surface of the cornea. The carotenoids, which are natural pigments improving the eyesight, present in arugula slows down the degradation of an individual's eyesight. Thus, the incorporation of arugula into your diet plan can aid in fighting cataracts [12] at an early period.

7. Improves metabolism

One of the most relevant health benefits of arugula is the impact it has on improving your metabolism. The vitamin B-complex present in the arugula leaves aids the metabolism process by carrying out the different processes involved in metabolism, such as the production of energy, fat synthesis, red blood cells production [13] , as well as various other critical processes by eight B vitamins.

8. Promotes hair health

The abundance of vitamins and the traces of elements such as copper, zinc, magnesium, iron etc., directly impacts the health of hair. That is, the unique beta-carotene in arugula strengthens the hair follicles, thus preventing excessive hairfall. The most effective way to use arugula for the health of hair is through the arugula oil. Arugula oil can be directly consumed and also, used as a mask during home-made hair care routines. If you do not like the taste of arugula oil [14] , you can always consume it by adding it to salads.

9. Gives healthy and glowing skin

The abundance of calcium and vitamin K present in arugula helps in fighting early skin ageing and wrinkles. As arugula improves your metabolism, this is reflected in the health of the skin. Along with calcium and vitamin K, the presence of vitamin C, and sulphur also improves your skin's health. Likewise, the amount of chlorophyll [15] present in arugula acts as a potent detoxifier.

10. Improves blood flow

The high levels of zinc content in the leafy green promote and improve the functioning of the blood vessels, thereby resulting in increased blood flow. The alkalizing nature of the green cleanses the blood [16] , resulting in the proper pumping and transport of blood.

11. Cleanses the liver

One of the most important roles played by arugula in the body is the cleansing of the liver. That is, the chlorophyll present in the leafy greens accords to liver wellness. Being a cruciferous vegetable, arugula eliminates the carcinogens, therefore, minimizing the damage level in liver cells. The consumption of arugula in fact 'cleanses' the liver, by neutralising the toxic chemicals [17] , heavy metals and the traces of pesticides that could damage the liver.

12. Increases libido

Arugula has been consumed as an aphrodisiac from the very early times. In ancient Rome, arugula had a popular reputation as an aphrodisiac. By improving the overall blood flow in your system, consumption of arugula can have a definite impact on your sex life. Celebrated as an arousal aid since the very first century, the trace of minerals as well as the antioxidants in the dark leafy green help in dissolving the environmental contaminants [18] that can negatively hinder your libido.

13. Treats gastrointestinal ulcer

Recent studies have revealed the positive impact of arugula on treating [19] gastrointestinal ulcer. Even though there is no definite cure for this kind of ulcer, the consumption of arugula is said to cause a relief. Arugula helps in this case by reducing the secretion of stomach-acid which causes the gastric ulcers. Scientists speculate that the leafy wonder helps the condition either by the reduction in the stomach acid secretion or by regulating the hormones that protect the lining of the gastric wall.

View Article References
  1. [1] Blamey, M., & Grey-Wilson, C. (1989).Illustrated flora of Britain and Northern Europe. Hodder and Stroughton.
  2. [2] United States Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service. Basic Report: 11510, Sweet potato, cooked, boiled, without skin. National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference Legacy Release.
  3. [3] Morales, M., & Janick, J. (2002). Arugula: A promising specialty leaf vegetable. Reprinted from: Trends in new crops and new uses.
  4. [4] Cordeiro-Araújo, M. K., Chia, M. A., Hereman, T. C., Sasaki, F. F., & do Carmo Bittencourt-Oliveira, M. (2015). Selective membrane permeability and peroxidase activity response of lettuce and arugula irrigated with cyanobacterial-contaminated water. Environmental Earth Sciences, 74(2), 1547-1553.
  5. [5] Azarenko, O., Jordan, M. A., & Wilson, L. (2014). Erucin, the major isothiocyanate in arugula (Eruca sativa), inhibits proliferation of MCF7 tumor cells by suppressing microtubule dynamics. PloS one, 9(6), e100599.
  6. [6] Higdon, J. V., Delage, B., Williams, D. E., & Dashwood, R. H. (2007). Cruciferous vegetables and human cancer risk: epidemiologic evidence and mechanistic basis. Pharmacological Research, 55(3), 224-236.
  7. [7] Talalay, P., & Fahey, J. W. (2001). Phytochemicals from cruciferous plants protect against cancer by modulating carcinogen metabolism.The Journal of Nutrition, 131(11), 3027S-3033S.
  8. [8] Shaheer, M. K., Finose, A., Shafi, K. M., & Hashim, K. M. Arugula-The green solution for diabetics and cholesterol.
  9. [9] Webb, R. (2007). Healthy eating. Cruciferous veggies. Arugula, broccoli, collards, oh my!. Diabetes forecast, 60(4), 27-29.
  10. [10] Cantwell, M., Rovelo, J., Nie, X., & Rubatzky, V. (1996, September). Specialty salad greens: post harvest physiology and shelf-life. In III International Symposium Diversification of Vegetable Crops 467 (pp. 371-378).
  11. [11] Lister, C. E., Skinner, M. A., & Hunter, D. C. (2007). Fruits, Vegetables And Their Phytochemicals For Bone And Joint Health. Current Topics in Nutraceutical Research, 5.
  12. [12] Kamp, D. (2009).The United States of Arugula: The Sun Dried, Cold Pressed, Dark Roasted, Extra Virgin Story of the American Food Revolution. Broadway Books.
  13. [13] Lampe, J. W., & Peterson, S. (2002). Brassica, biotransformation and cancer risk: genetic polymorphisms alter the preventive effects of cruciferous vegetables. The Journal of nutrition, 132(10), 2991-2994.
  14. [14] El Harirry, M. Y. Z. (2016). Quality Control Of Some Herbal Preparations Used In Skin Care. CU Theses.
  15. [15] Bijlwan, A., & Kush, L. (2013). The dietary aphrodisiacs. International Journal of Innovative Research and Development, 2(10).
  16. [16] Nayab, N., & Cooper, D. Foods That Improve Circulation.
  17. [17] Smith, J. J. (2014). 10-Day Green Smoothie Cleanse: Lose Up to 15 Pounds in 10 Days!. Simon and Schuster.
  18. [18] Lasekan, O., & Azeez, S. (2014). Chemo-preventive Activities of Common Vegetables’ Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs). Pharm Analyt Acta, 5(7), 1-8.
  19. [19] Roy, S. D., Chakraborty, J., Shil, D., Das, S., & Begum, N. (2013). Herbs Used In Peptic Ulcer: A Review. International Journal of Pharmaceutical Research & Allied Sciences, 2(2).

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