Arugula, also known as the garden rocket, is a dark leafy green plant that belongs to the Brassicaceae family like radish, kale, cauliflower, and broccoli. It is a popular salad vegetable that is native to the Mediterranean regions. Arugula may look like special lettuce, but the green possesses more nutrients and has more health benefits.
Here are seven health benefits of arugula.
1. Arugula may help you fight off cancer.
Just like other cruciferous vegetables, arugula contains sulfur-containing compounds called glucosinolates. Those compounds break down to phytochemicals like thiocyanates, sulforaphane, or indoles, which could inhibit the activity of cancer-causing cells.
Arugula has also been found to have indole-3-carbinol a chemical that could help inactivate cancer-causing chemicals, protect cellular DNA from damage, induce cell death in cancerous cells, and prevent tumor blood vessel formation, according to the National Cancer Institute.
2. Arugula could help promote healthy bones.
Arugula is an excellent source of vitamin K with almost a quarter of the daily recommendation from a single cup. Vitamin K helps promote calcium absorption and facilitates the regeneration of muscles and blood clots. This may help people heal faster from bone injuries.
3. Arugula could help with weight loss.
Arugula is a nutritionally-dense food that is low in calories. People have taken advantage of this to make salads that have nutrients rather than resembling crispy water like in iceberg lettuce. One cup of arugula contains only six calories, according to the United States Department of Agriculture. People who are calorie conscious could take advantage and feel fuller with less food.
4. Arugula could help protect your eyes.
Arugula is an excellent source of vitamin A along with carotenoids, which is necessary for the prevention of macular degeneration and cataracts. An estimated 250,000 to 500,000 children become blind every year because of vitamin A deficiency. Also, a vitamin A deficiency could cause night blindness.
5. Arugula could help improve the brain health of babies.
Arugula is a good source of folate, which has been found to help pregnant women and fetal babies. Folate could help prevent neural tube defects in babies.
6. Arugula could help you digest food better.
Arugula could help increase your dietary fiber intake. High fiber diets can help you digest food quicker and prevent constipation. Also, high fiber diets can reduce the risk of colon cancer, ulcerative colitis, and diverticulitis.
7. Arugula could help you live longer.
Recent studies have found that people who ate fiber-rich foods often had a 17 to 19 percent reduced risk of death from any cause compared to those who do not eat the recommended amount of dietary food.