One of the more commonly eaten greens around the world, arugula has a lot of different names depending on the region. Among the favorite is the rocket salad or garden rocket. Arugula is the preferred nomenclature here in the western hemisphere, even though that name wasn’t used until the 1960’s. No matter what you call it, this particular plant is used in a lot of different ways, with most of them being culinary.
Adding arugula to salads or other foods is a small, yet simple, thing you can do to get more greens into your diet. Arugula has a ton of fantastic benefits, which shouldn’t come as much of a surprise considering the plants that arugula is most similar to. Here, we’ll look at the nutritional breakdown of arugula, and show you what some of those great health benefits are. Once you see them, there’s no doubt you’ll think of arugula as more than just an addition to unhealthier foods.
Nutrition of Arugula
You could basically eat arugula almost all day and not have to worry about putting on any weight. That’s because there are only seven calories in a one ounce serving, and that’s actually quite a large one. A very small amount of arugula is made from protein and fiber, but there’s also just one gram of carbohydrates in each serving. Vitamins make up the biggest part of arugula, providing you with nearly 40 percent of your daily recommended value of vitamin K.
Vitamin A is also significant at more than 10 percent, while those that fall just under the 10 percent mark include both vitamin C and folate. Arugula isn’t a large source of one specific mineral, but you’ll get around five percent of your daily value of calcium, magnesium, potassium, manganese and iron. There’s almost no fat in arugula and no cholesterol, all while providing a decent amount of omega-3 fatty acids.
As we mentioned a bit earlier, arugula is one of those foods that you can eat plenty of without having to worry about your waistline. If you’re looking for something to snack on for the sake of snacking, arugula is a great way to go. The fact alone that arugula is only seven calories per ounce has some people say that it’s one of the “negative calorie” foods, where you actually exert more calories than intake from eating it.
The small amount of fiber also helps, though it’s best to combine arugula with more high fiber foods so that you feel fuller for longer. What makes arugula such a great part of a weight loss diet is the wide range of nutrients that you get and the low amount of calories. Normally, foods that have as many nutrients as arugula are much, much higher in calories, so it’s suggested you get multiple servings each week of arugula and similar foods.
If you aren’t eating a lot of leafy green vegetables, there’s a good chance that you’re not getting enough vitamin K in your diet. Vitamin K is often overlooked compared to some of the other essential vitamins, especially in the bone department. Calcium seems to get all of the love, but getting enough calcium in your diet won’t be all that beneficial for your bones unless you’re also getting vitamin K, as it helps your body absorb calcium.
Vitamin K is a building block for bones that makes them stronger, and you reduce your chances of problems such as arthritis, osteoporosis and bone loss later in life if you’re getting the recommended amount. Not only can you help prevent these problems, but you can also slow down the negative effects and symptoms if you’ve already suffered from them. Just keep vitamin K in mind in the future so that you can avoid these problems down the road.
Another big aspect of leafy greens like arugula is the fact that they are loaded with antioxidants, and arugula is among the most beneficial in that department. Arugula has been shown to increase the oxygen radical absorbance capacity in the body, which creates a more efficient use of antioxidants. These antioxidants fight off free radicals that can damage the cells and cause a wide range of diseases the include cancer.
Arugula even helps with the simple diseases that you might have to face when being around a lot of people such as the common cold or influenza. Arugula boosts your immune system and increases your white blood cell count to attack these foreign invaders so you don’t get nagged by those minor illnesses, especially in the colder months.
Heart and Mind
Folate is one of those minerals that people might not be getting if they’re not eating a lot of vegetables in their diet. Arugula is a great source of folate at nearly 10 percent of the daily recommendation, which has a benefit for your heart. Folate, when combined with the other minerals in arugula, help to control blood pressure to a more normal rate, reducing your chances of heart attack or stroke.
Arugula will also help your brain because of that high amount of vitamin K. Your neural pathways can degrade over time as you age, which is the main cause of neurological diseases such as Alzheimer’s. If you want to take care of your brain, vitamin K and omega-3 fatty acids are the most beneficial minerals that you can get, and arugula has both of them.
With advanced age sadly comes a loss of vision for most people. While it can’t always be prevented, you can keep your vision up for a longer period of time by eating more foods like arugula. Arugula is packed with carotenoids, which have been shown to reduce your chances of developing age related eye diseases such as macular degeneration or cataracts. Another big aspect is the amount of vitamin A found in arugula, which has been shown to increase overall vision health and avoid night vision loss. Even if you already have some of these problems, eating more arugula can slow down or stop them from getting worse.
Summing it Up
Most of the leafy greens out there in your local supermarket have almost no problems, but you can eliminate just about any side effect by eating cooked ones like arugula. Eating too many raw cruciferous vegetables could lead to an enlarged thyroid, but that’s not the case for everybody. This includes other similar vegetables such as kale and broccoli, and most professionals advise cooking these vegetables, even if the risk is small.
As is the case with most foods, make sure to speak with your doctor before changing your diet around just to make sure that you aren’t on any medications that could interact negatively. Arugula doesn’t have many warnings when it comes to most medications, so there’s a good chance it won’t even come into play. With all of that said, adding arugula into your diet is an easy process, and the combination of taste and health benefits make for a great part of that diet!