Arugula is a nutritious leafy vegetable that is known for its aromatic flavor and good taste. It is also known by some other names such as salad rocket, garden rocket, rucola, roquette and colewort. It belongs to the genus Eruca and the Brassicaceae family. It is closely related to radish, kale, and cauliflower. Arugula leaves are an abundant source of essential nutrients like vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, phytonutrients, polyphenols, and dietary fibers, etc and because of these compounds, arugula provides several benefits for our health.
Nutritional Value of Arugula Leaves
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Arugula leaves are loaded with essential nutrients that provide amazing benefits.
Eating 1 cup (approximately 20 grams) of arugula leaves provides around 25 calories of energy, 3.65 grams of carbohydrates, 2.5 grams of protein, and 1.6 grams of dietary fibers. It is also a rich source of vitamin C vitamin A, vitamin K, folate, calcium, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, and iron.
Health Benefits of Arugula Leaves
Some of the major health benefits of arugula leaves are as follows:
(1) Good For Eyes
Our eyes are an important organ that allows us to enjoy the beauty of this world. We need to take good care of our eyes and arugula leaves can help in doing the same.
Arugula leaves are loaded with various nutrients like vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, phytonutrients, polyphenols, and dietary fibers, etc that makes them very beneficial for our eyes.
Beta carotene a precursor of vitamin A present in the arugula leaves protects our eyes from the oxidative damage caused by the free radicals and thus minimizes the risk of development of cataract glaucoma and age-related macular degeneration.
Lutein and zeaxanthin present in the arugula leaves protect our eyes from the high-density illumination and harmful UV radiation of the sun.
Omega 3 fatty acid present in the arugula leaves also plays a significant role in keeping our eyes healthy. Per hundred grams of arugula provides around 170 milligrams of Omega 3 fatty acids.
(2) Promotes weight loss
Arugula is very beneficial for weight loss and can help a person get rid of extra pounds. This is because of its low caloric value.
As per USDA eating 1 cup of arugula leaves weighing 20 grams provide around 5 calories of energy. This means that one can enjoy the deliciousness and the amazing benefits provided by the arugula leaves without worrying about excessive calorie intake.
In addition to this, arugula leaves are also a good source of dietary fibers that keep our stomach satisfied for a longer duration, decrease our urge to eat, again and again, and thus provides relief from overeating which is the leading cause of obesity.
Arugula leaves are also low in carbohydrates and this also plays an important role in healthy metabolism and for helping with weight loss.
(3) Beneficial During Pregnancy
Pregnancy is a crucial stage in a woman’s life. For a healthy pregnancy, she needs to ensure that she is enjoying a safe diet loaded with essential nutrients. This is because what she eats or drinks not only determines her health but also the health, wellness, and development of the fetus growing in her womb.
Arugula leaves are an abundant source of vitamins and minerals such as iron, folate, calcium, vitamin A, vitamin B, vitamin C, magnesium, protein, and zinc, etc., and the presence of these compounds makes arugula leaves very beneficial for pregnant ladies.
The antioxidants and the relevant compounds in the arugula leaves protect the uterus from the oxidative damage caused by the free radicals. Folate present in the arugula leaves plays an important role in the neurological development of the baby and thus minimizes the risk of neural tube defects such as Spina Bifida.
Dietary fibers in the arugula leaves help regulate blood sugar levels and thus minimizes the risk of gestational diabetes.
Other nutrients like zinc, copper, iron, calcium, and magnesium, etc also play a significant role in maintaining a healthy pregnancy.
The low level of oxalates in the arugula leaves reduces the risk of kidney stone development during pregnancy.
(4) Protection Against Various Cancer(s)
Arugula leaves are very effective for reducing the risk of various types of cancers such as colon cancer, abdominal cancer, intestinal cancer, pancreatic cancer, prostate cancer, and so on.
This anticancer benefit of arugula leaves is due to the presence of several antioxidants and relevant compounds in them.
These antioxidants protect our cells and tissues from the oxidative damage caused by the free radicals in our body, and thereby decreases the risk of various types of cancers.
In addition to this arugula leaves also contains glucosinolates, a sulfurous compound that gets metabolized into Indoles Thiocyanates and Isothiocyanates. Studies have found that indole and isothiocyanate are very effective for inhibiting the growth of cancer cells in the following ways:
- It protects cellular DNA from oxidative damage by inactivating the carcinogenic chemicals.
- Promotes cell death in cancer cells and prevents an invasion.
(5) Regulates High Blood Pressure
Potassium, a vital mineral present in the arugula leaves, plays an important role in providing relief from high blood pressure or hypertension.
Hypertension or high blood pressure is a common health problem that affects millions of people around the world and is a leading cause of various cardiovascular problems such as heart attack, heart stroke, heart failure, and coronary artery diseases.
it is also known as a silent killer because of its negligible symptoms during the early stage.
Potassium is a natural vasodilator that relaxes our blood vessels, improves blood circulation, and thus provides relief from hypertension.
Additionally, calcium and magnesium present in the arugula leaves are also helpful in regulating blood pressure levels because of their ability to dilate blood vessels.
Although arugula leaves help regulate high blood pressure, it is suggested to have them in moderation as excessive consumption may lower our blood pressure to an abnormally low level giving rise to hypotension which is characterized by the symptoms such as dizziness, fainting, nausea, vomiting, blurred vision, dehydration, and lack of concentration, etc.
If you are already taking medication for high blood pressure then you should consume arugula leaves only after having a word with your doctor to ensure that arugula leaves won’t interfere with the blood pressure medicines.
(6) Improves Digestive Health
Antioxidants, dietary fibers, vitamins, and minerals present in the arugula leaves are good for the stomach and improves our digestive health.
Antioxidants such as vitamin C and other related compounds such as phytonutrients and polyphenols protect our digestive system from the oxidative damage caused by the free radicals and thus minimizes the risk of colon cancer, abdominal cancer, intestinal cancer, and pancreatic cancer, etc.
The dietary fibers in the arugula act as a natural laxative that improves bowel movement, ensure smooth elimination of stool from our system, and thus provides relief from constipation and other gastrointestinal issues such as abdominal pain, irritable bowel syndrome, gas, bloating and flatulence, etc.
Arugula leaves are alkaline in nature which means they are very effective for maintaining optimal pH level of the digestive tract and thus improves our digestive health.
Other nutrients like zinc, magnesium, and folate, etc. also play a major role in keeping our digestive system healthy.
(7) Strengthens Bones and Prevents Osteoporosis
Another advantage of arugula leaves is their ability to make our bones stronger and reduce the risk of osteoporosis.
This advantage of our Arugula leaves is due to the presence of bone-strengthening minerals such as calcium, magnesium, and potassium in it.
Calcium plays an important role in the growth and development of the bones.
Deficiency of calcium can make our bones weak and fragile and thus increases the risk of osteoporosis, a bone disorder in which our bones are very prone to damage and fracture.
Other minerals such as potassium and magnesium etc also play a major role in improving our bone health.
Potassium neutralizes the acid load and thus minimizes the loss of calcium from the bones and improves bone mineral density.
Magnesium is also helpful for improving bone density.
In addition to this, vitamin k present in the arugula leaves promotes calcification of bones and at the same time prevents calcification of blood vessels and Kidneys.
(8) Regulate Blood Sugar Level
The arugula leaves are very beneficial for people with diabetes and for those who are at the risk of developing diabetes because of their ability to regulate blood sugar levels.
This advantage of arugula leaves is because of their low glycemic index and high dietary fibers.
The Glycemic index of a food item is a scale from 0 to 100 that determines the rate at which a particular food item releases sugar into the bloodstream.
Arugula leaves have a low glycemic index of 32 which means it releases sugar into the bloodstream at a slow pace and prevents a sudden spike in the blood sugar level.
The dietary fibers in the arugula leaves reduce the rate at which sugar is absorbed by the bloodstream and this also plays a major role in keeping our blood sugar in control.
By managing our blood sugar levels, arugula leaves reduce the risk of hyperglycemia.
Although arugula leaves are effective for regulating blood sugar levels, people with diabetes are advised to consume them in moderation and only after consulting with their doctor.
This is because over intake of Arugula leaves may drop your blood sugar level to an abnormally low level giving rise to hypoglycemia with symptoms such as excessive hunger, excessive sweating, fainting fatigue, nausea, vomiting, anxiety, blurred vision, palpitation, and slurred speech, etc.
Also if you are already taking medicines for regulating blood sugar then excessive intake of Arugula leaves may interfere with the functioning of medicines and should be avoided.
(9) Strengthens Immune system
Our immune system plays an important role in keeping us healthy. It is the defense mechanism of our body that protects us from the disease-causing microbes such as bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites, etc, and thus reduces the risk of various microbial infections.
Even if we get sick or sustain any injury, our immune system plays an important role in making us healthy again.
For healthy living, it is important to ensure that our immune system stays healthy and arugula leaves can help in doing the same.
The antioxidants like vitamin C and other relevant compounds such as phytonutrients and polyphenols fight with the free radicals of the body and prevents them from causing oxidative damage to our cells including the white blood cells that form the backbone of the immune system and act as the first line of defense.
By protecting our immune system from oxidative damage, it strengthens it, and when our immune system is stronger, we are less likely to be infected by cough, cold, flu, and fever, etc.
Other nutrients like zinc iron, copper, magnesium, and potassium, etc, also play a major role in making our immune system stronger.
(10) Promotes Detoxification
Detoxification is the process of removal of toxins, pollutants, and other unwanted substances from the body.
Two vital organs, the liver, and kidneys are mainly responsible for the process of detoxification in our body, and detoxification also happens at the cellular level.
Arugula leaves are very effective for promoting detoxification because of the presence of dietary fibers in them.
The dietary fibers in the arugula leaves are a natural detoxifier that helps remove toxins, impurities, pollutants, and other unwanted substances from the body.
By helping with the detoxification, dietary fibers reduce the burden of toxin removal from our vital organs like the liver and Kidneys to some extent and thus promote their optimal health.
Arugula leaves also contain chlorophyll that possesses detoxifying properties.
(11) Good For Brain
Arugula leaves are good for our brain and improve our neurological health due to the presence of essential nutrients in them. The antioxidants such as vitamin C and other associated compounds like phytonutrients and polyphenols protect our brain cells aka neurons from the oxidative damage caused by the free radicals and thus reduces the risk of various neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease Parkinson’s disease Amnesia and dementia etc.
The folate in the arugula leaves slows down the cognitive decline that one experiences due to aging. Iron in the arugula leaves improves blood circulation and thus improve our neurological health. Other compounds such as zinc, copper, potassium, and magnesium also play a significant role in keeping our neurological system healthy.
By improving our neurological health, arugula leaves provide many cognitive benefits such as sharper memory, better concentration, mental clarity, and reduced brain fog, etc.
(12) Provides Anti-Inflammatory Benefits
Arugula leaves are very effective for providing relief from the pain and inflammation caused by inflammatory diseases such as arthritis, rheumatism, rheumatoid, asthma, and bronchial asthma. This advantage of arugula leaves is because of their anti-inflammatory properties due to the presence of anti-inflammatory compounds such as vitamin C, indole-3- carbinol, and isothiocyanate in them.
These compounds inhibit the functioning of enzymes and mediators responsible for causing inflammation and thus reduces the ache and pain associated with inflammatory diseases.
Arugula leaves also contain Omega 3 fatty acid which is known to slow down the rate at which pain signals are sent to the brain.
(13) Improved Athletic Performance
Arugula leaves well-known for improving the athletic performance of a person because of the abundance of nutrients in them. The antioxidants present in them protect our cells and tissues from the oxidative damage caused by the free radicals, and the dietary fibers in the arugula leaves help with the removal of toxins and other impurities from our system and thus improve the functioning of vital organs like the liver and Kidneys.
In addition to this arugula leaves are also a great source of nitrate that improves oxygen flow from the lungs to the muscles and thus enhances athletic performance. Vitamin k in the arugula leaves helps with bone injuries and promotes cartilage growth.
(14) Improves Mineral Absorption
Arugula leaves have a low level of oxalates in them and this makes them very beneficial for improving mineral absorption. Oxalates are known to inhibit the rate at which minerals are absorbed by the body and a high level of oxalates can lead to poor mineral absorption giving rise to various health problems.
Because of their low oxalates level, arugula leaves make it easier for our body to absorb various minerals such as copper, iron, zinc, and folate, etc from the food.
(15) Improves Cardiovascular Health
Arugula leaves are very beneficial for improving our cardiovascular health because of the abundance of vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, polyphenols fatty acids, etc in them. Antioxidants such as vitamin C and other compounds such as isothiocyanate protects our cardiovascular system from the oxidative damage caused by the free radicals.
Potassium in the arugula leaves regulates our blood pressure and thus provides relief from hypertension which is the leading cause of various cardiovascular problems such as heart attack, heart failure, heart stroke, etc.
Dietary fibers in the arugula leaves reduce the risk of atherosclerosis , a condition that leads to hardening and narrowing of the arteries due to the accumulation of plaque and fat deposits in the inner lining of the arterial walls, which leads to an increased risk of cardiovascular issues.
Folate in the arugula leaves helps in maintaining homocysteine levels in our body. A high level of homocysteine levels increases the risk of cardiovascular problems.
(16) Maintains Skin Health
Arugula leaves not only provide numerous health benefits but is equally beneficial for maintaining our skin health due to the abundance of essential nutrients in them.
The antioxidants such as vitamin C, vitamin E, and other relevant compounds like phytonutrients and polyphenols protect our skin cells and tissues from the oxidative damage caused by the free radicals. By protecting our skin cells from oxidative damage, antioxidants minimize the risk of various signs of premature aging such as fine lines, wrinkles, age spots, dark spots, and skin blemishes etc.
Antioxidants are also known to protect our skin cells from the harmful UV rays of the sun.
It also enhances the production of collagen in our body and helps maintain skin elasticity. Collagen is an important amino acid found in the connective tissues such as joints, bones, tendons, and cartilage, etc, and is responsible for maintaining the elasticity of the skin.
Dietary fibers in the arugula leaves help in the removal of toxins, pollutants, and other unwanted substances from the body. When there are fewer toxins in our system they do not accumulate in our skin pores and this minimizes the risk of acne and pimples.
Dietary fibers are also known for regulating the secretion of excess oil from glands of the skin and thus prevents acne from worsening.
Other nutrients like zinc, iron, copper, and magnesium, etc also play a significant role in maintaining our skin health and make our skin soft supple, and radiant.
How To Use Arugula Leaves
The deliciousness of Arugula leaves can be enjoyed as a topping for pizza, nachos, sandwiches, and wraps.
It can also be enjoyed with a little drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, salt, and pepper. It can also be used for making other salad recipes.
arugula leaves can also be used as an alternative to basil leaves while making hot or cold pesto.
Arugula leaves should be kept in a cool and moist environment because of their perishable nature.
The information contained in the post is for general purposes only and shouldn’t be considered as medical advice or as an alternative to medical advice. Although I’ve tried my best to keep the information contained in this post as accurate and updated as possible, I make no guarantee of the accurateness of the same.
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