Top 10 Nutritional Benefits of Arugula: Why Salad Rocket Is So Good For You
Arugula is a highly nutritious cruciferous vegetable that’s well worth eating as often as possible.
Also called rocket, rucola or roquette, it has a distinctive and delicious peppery flavor to its soft green leaves and goes particularly well in fresh salads.
This nutrient-rich green has many beneficial properties for energy production, disease prevention, natural weight loss and a healthier appearance. Here’s just what makes salad rocket so good for you.
10 Reasons Why Arugula is So Good for You
1. High in Vitamin K for Your Heart, Bones and Skin
Like many greens, arugula is high in vitamin K. 100 grams of rucola contains around 109 mg of this important vitamin, which is 136% of the recommended daily intake.
Vitamin K is intimately involved in calcium regulation and metabolism and helps get the mineral into your bones and keep it there. Low vitamin K intake can lead to crippling osteoporosis later in life and is implicated in many other degenerative disorders.
When calcium is being leached out of your bones due to vitamin K deficiency it can be deposited in your arteries instead and lead to serious issues.
People with circulatory problems should make sure they get a good intake of vitamin K rich foods like this to keep calcium where it should be in their body.
Proper calcium metabolism is even necessary for healthy skin. Without enough vitamin K in your diet, calcium can stiffen the elastin fibers that help keep your skin soft and subtle.
Longer-term, this can be one of the causes of skin aging and wrinkles, but even in the short term improving your vitamin K intake has been reported to help many skin problems.
2. Protective Sulforaphane and Indole-3-Carbinol
Arugula, and most other cruciferous vegetables, are rich in special sulfur containing substances called glucosinolates. These convert to potent compounds known as indoles, thiocyanates and isothiocyanates.
Scientists are particularly interested in indole-3-carbinol and sulforaphane (an isothiocyanate) for their anticarcinogenic properties.
The isothiocyanates and indoles in cruciferous vegetables have also been shown to have anti-inflammatory and antibacterial effects.
Ideally get a good supply of cruciferous vegetables like roquette, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, collard greens, kale, Brussels sprouts and the very healthy bok choy into your diet regularly.
Though with the number of problematic substances in our foods, drinks and environment these days, supplementation could be advisable if you’re not eating a lot of superfoods like arugula.
3. Eye Nutrients for Better Vision
Two special eye antioxidants called lutein and zeaxanthin are found in good levels in salad rocket. These phytonutrients are concentrated by your body in the macula region of your eye, the area responsible for detecting fine details like the words on this screen.
Lutein and zeaxanthin help protect your eye’s macula from both UV light and high-intensity blue light that can cause eyestrain and vision problems.
4. Rich Source of Antioxidants
Arugula is full of antioxidant carotenoids like beta-carotene for preventing free radical cellular damage in your body.
It has an impressive ORAC rating of 1904 µmol TE per 100 grams and ranks highly compared to most other vegetables.
The beta-carotene in this salad green is often listed as vitamin A and nutritional information notes it as containing nearly half of the recommended daily intake. In fact, this is only potential vitamin A if you are deficient in it.
Beta-carotene is better off in your body as an antioxidant and vitamin A should ideally be obtained from preformed vitamin A foods like free range eggs, grass fed butter and especially cod liver oil.
5. Folate and B Vitamins
Roquette contains 97 mcg of folate or 24% of the recommended daily intake, an important B vitamin for good health.
Dark leafy greens like rucola are some of the best sources of folate and ideally it should come from foods like these rather than the synthetic folic acid in cheap multivitamins.
A good variety of most of the other B vitamins, with the exception of B12, are all found in this leafy green and will add to your daily intake of these valuable nutrients.
6. Vitamin C Content
Another antioxidant found in arugula is vitamin C, with nutrition data saying it contains 25% of the recommended daily intake in 100 grams of the pepper flavored leaves.
As well as quenching free radical damage throughout your body, vitamin C, like vitamin K has an important role to play in skin health and has many benefits for protecting your circulatory system.
7. Good Source of Cleansing Chlorophyll
Leafy greens like salad rocket are a great source of alkalizing and detoxifying chlorophyll.
Chlorophyll is like the green blood of plant leaves and resembles our own red blood cells. Because of this it is known as an excellent cleanser and oxygenator.
Alkalizing and oxygenating your circulatory system with dark leafy greens or chlorophyll rich green smoothies can have a strong detoxification effect throughout your body.
Many people notice an increase in their energy levels when they start including more high chlorophyll foods like roquette in their meals.
8. Minerals in Salad Rocket
Arugula is high in natural calcium, which at 160 mg per 100 grams goes well with its naturally high vitamin K content.
The dark green leaves also contain helpful amounts of other minerals like magnesium, potassium, manganese, phosphorus and iron.
9. Rucola as an Aphrodisiac?
Since Roman times roquette has had a reputation as an aphrodisiac, particularly for men.
While not especially high in obvious libido boosters, like testosterone promoting Brazil nuts for instance, its broad array of nutrients may add extra energy to your love life if you eat it regularly.
10. Low in Calories and Good for Weight Loss
Very low in calories with 100 grams of the vegetable having just 25 calories, and even more importantly just 3.7 grams of carbohydrates, arugula is a great weight loss food.
An excellent way to use rucola for losing weight is to make it a base for your meals and use it to replace fattening grain products like pasta and bread.
It has a rich peppery flavor and is much more interesting to eat than bland iceberg lettuce or many other salad vegetables.
Try having the fillings you would usually have on a sandwich mixed into an rocket salad. It’s surprisingly versatile and can be used instead of pasta or rice in many dishes.
Replacing grain-based foods that promote fat storage with rucola, and other dark leafy greens, is a simple way to boost your nutritional intake and maintain a healthy weight.
In the long term, this is a far easier way of keeping the weight off than calorie counting and restrictive dieting.
Selection and Storage
You should be able to find fresh salad rocket in the market throughout the year. Look for the younger bright green leaves and avoid any with too many yellow or wilted leaves.
I always try and get organic greens to avoid sprays. If you can’t find organic at very least soak the leaves in hot water and a splash vinegar to clean them and minimize any residues before eating them.
I hope all of these arugula benefits have inspired you to give it a try or start using it more regularly. It really is an amazing superfood and I’d appreciate if you share how healthy it is with your friends.
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