Salad greens, which are the leafy green vegetables that are either traditionally consumed raw or too delicate for cooking are a common staple for healthy eaters and calorie-conscious dieters alike. Although iceberg lettuce has long been the favorite salad green, there are more nutritious options available, and this includes arugula.
Also known as salad rocket, rucola or roquette, arugula is a Mediterranean green with a distinct peppery aroma and flavor. Arugula contains vaious health benefits due to its high nutrient density.
Arugula is rather nondescript in appearance and is often added to mesclun mixes, where it adds a delicious zest. While the paler and young leaves contains a mild flavor, and is good for fresh dishes such as pesto and salad. While the older, darker leaves contain a bit of pepper in them, which makes them stand out in pizza and soup toppings.
Health Benefits of Arugula:
1. Diabetes Management
Leafy greens contain antioxidant which is known as alpha-lipoic acid that has been reported to lower glucose levels, prevent oxidative stress-induced changes in patients with diabetes and increase insulin sensitivity.
Also, studies on alpha-lipoic acid have reported decreases in autonomic neuropathy (nerve damage) and peripheral in diabetics.
But, most studies have used intravenous alpha-lipoic acid, therefore it is uncertain whether consuming it would give the same benefits.
2. Improves Eyesight
Arugula is a popularsource of carotenoids, which are naturally occurring pigments that have been known for improving an individual’s ability to see properly.
Carotenoids help slow down the process of macular degeneration, which is when the center of an individual’s field of vision becomes compromised. In most instances, this can cause cataracts, which then have to be removed. By increasing the amount of carotenoids in your diet, which arugula is a great source of, arugula consumers may be able to slow down that classic symptom of old age.
3. Prevents Cancer
The phytochemicals present in large quantities within arugula help in inhibiting the activity of cancer-causing cells. Phytochemicals are substances such as sulforaphane, thiocyanates or indoles that are effective in countering cancer-causing tendencies in your body’s own processes. Studies have suggested that these compounds help in fighting breast, prostate, colon, cervical and ovarian cancers.
4. Prevents Osteoporosis
A low intake of vitamin K has been linked with a higher risk of bone fracture. While adequate vitamin K consumption helps in improving bone health by improving calcium absorption, acting as a modifier of bone matrix proteins and reducing urinary excretion of calcium.
Also, arugula contributes to your daily need for calcium, by providing 64 milligrams in 2 cups.
5. Promotes Cardiovascular Health
Arugula contains a combination of nutrients that are known to help cotrol and normalize blood pressure levels, which makes arugula a heart-healthy food. High blood pressure can increase your risk of having a stroke or heart attack.
Also, arugula is a good source of folate, which provides about 10% of the nutrient’s recommended daily value based on a 2,000-calorie diet. Folate is the natural form of folic acid and is most often cited for the essential role it plays in fetal development. Folate also plays an important role in amino acid metabolism. A lack of folate can elevate your homocysteine levels, and by having too much of this amino acid circulating in your blood, it can increase your heart disease risk.