Arugula is a nutritious leafy vegetable known for its unique taste and aromatic flavor. It is popular by some other names such as salad rocket, garden rocket, rucola, roquette and colewort. It belongs to the genus Eruca and Brassicaceae family and is closely related to radish, kale, and cauliflower. Arugula leaves provide many health and beauty benefits as they are loaded with essential nutrients like vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, phytonutrients, and dietary fibers, etc.
Nutritional Value of Arugula Leaves
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 fiber. It is also a rich source of vitamin C vitamin A, vitamin K, folate, calcium, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, and iron, etc.
Health Benefits of Arugula Leaves
Some major health benefits of arugula leaves are as follows.
(1) Good For Eyes
Arugula leaves are good for the eyes and help in maintaining our ocular health.
Vitamin C, vitamin A, and other antioxidant compounds like phytonutrients, etc in arugula leaves protects our eyes from free radical damage and reduces the risk of age-related macular degeneration, cataract, and glaucoma, etc.
Vitamin A is an essential nutrient for the eyes as it improves vision, prevents dryness of the eyes, and reduces the risk of night blindness.
Carotenoids such as Lutein and zeaxanthin in arugula leaves protects the eyes from the high-density illumination and harmful UV rays of the sun.
Per 100 grams of arugula leaves provide around 170 milligrams of Omega-3 fatty acid that contributes to better eye health.
(2) Promotes weight loss
Arugula leaves promote weight loss as it has a low calorific value of 25 calories per 100 grams. One can enjoy the benefits of arugula leaves without worrying about the excessive calorie load.
Dietary fibers in arugula leaves provide stomach satiety and control overeating, a major cause of obesity.
The low carbohydrates in arugula leaves improve metabolism and promote weight loss.
(3) Protection Against Various Cancer(s)
Arugula leaves contain powerful antioxidants such as vitamin C, vitamin A, and other relevant compounds such as phytonutrients, and polyphenols.
These compounds protect our cells from free radical damage and reduce the risk of various cancers such as colon cancer, pancreatic cancer, intestinal cancer, lung cancer, and abdominal cancer, etc.
Free radicals are unstabilized ions that stabilize by stealing electrons from the neighboring molecules, and doing so causes oxidative damage to them.
Glucosinolates, a sulfurous compound in arugula leaves get metabolized into Indoles Thiocyanates and Isothiocyanates.
As per studies, Indole and Isothiocyanates inhibit the growth of cancer cells in the following ways.
- Inactivate carcinogenic chemicals to protects cellular DNA from oxidative damage.
- Promotes cancer cell death and prevents an invasion.
(4) Regulates High Blood Pressure
Arugula leaves contain potassium (369 mg per 100 grams), a natural vasodilator that relaxes blood vessels, improves blood circulation, and provides relief from hypertension or high blood pressure.
Hypertension or high blood pressure is a common health problem that affects millions around the world and is a leading cause of cardiovascular and other health problems.
Additionally, calcium and magnesium in arugula leaves dilates blood vessels and helps in regulating blood pressure.
If you are already consuming high potassium diet, consume arugula leaves moderately as otherwise they may lower blood pressure below the normal range and cause dizziness, fainting, nausea, vomiting, blurred vision, dehydration, and lack of concentration, etc.
Eating arugula leaves while being on blood pressure medication should be considered only after consulting with the doctor to ensure there is no food-drug interference.
(5) Improve Digestive Health
Consuming arugula leaves improve our digestive health.
Vitamin C, vitamin A, and other antioxidant compounds such as carotenoids, etc in arugula leaves protect our digestive system from free radical damage.
It reduces the risk of colon cancer, abdominal cancer, rectal cancer, and pancreatic cancer, etc.
The laxative properties of dietary fibers in arugula leaves improve bowel movement and provide relief from constipation and other gastrointestinal problems such as abdominal pain, gas, bloating, and flatulence, etc.
Other nutrients like zinc, magnesium, and folate, etc. also play a major role in improving digestive health.
(6) Strengthen Bones
Arugula leaves strengthen our bones as they contain bone-strengthening minerals such as calcium, potassium, and magnesium, etc.
Calcium is an essential mineral for bone health as it promotes growth and development of the bones, and lack of it may cause bone disorders such as osteoporosis.
Potassium improves bone density by neutralizing acid load and reducing the loss of calcium from the bones.
Other nutrients like magnesium and manganese also play an important role in improving bone density.
Vitamin K in arugula leaves promotes bone calcification and prevents calcification of blood vessels and kidneys.
(7) Helps In Managing Diabetes
Arugula leaves help in managing diabetes as it has a low glycemic index of 32.
It reduces the rate at which sugar is released into the bloodstream and regulate blood sugar level.
Dietary fibers in arugula leaves reduce the absorption of sugar by the bloodstream and help in managing diabetes.
Despite the advantage, eat arugula leaves in moderation as otherwise they may drop blood sugar below the normal level and cause excessive hunger, excessive sweating, fainting, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, anxiety, blurred vision, palpitation, and slurred speech, etc.
If you take diabetic medication, consult your doctor before consuming arugula leaves to ensure there is no food-drug interference risk.
(8) Strengthens Immune system
Arugula leaves strengthen our immune system, the defense mechanism of the body that prevents and treats diseases, infections, injuries, and wounds.
Vitamin C, vitamin A, and other antioxidant compounds like phytonutrients, etc in arugula leaves protects our immune cells or white blood cells from free radical damage.
This strengthens immunity and reduces the risk of fever, flu, cough, and cold, etc.
Vitamin C enhances the production of white blood cells and further strengthens immunity.
The anti-microbial properties of arugula leaves protect us from bacterial, viral, and fungal infections.
Other nutrients like zinc, iron, copper, magnesium, and potassium, etc also play an important role in maintaining our immune health.
(9) Promotes Detoxification
Arugula leaves contain detoxifying compounds such as dietary fibers and vitamin C.
These compounds remove toxins, pollutants, and other unwanted substances from our system and help with detoxification.
By helping with the detoxification, it reduces the detoxification burden from our vital organs like the liver and kidneys.
This allows these organs to focus on other functions they need to perform.
Chlorophyllin arugula leaves promote detoxification by reducing the production of gas and toxins during digestion and protects the liver from damage.
(10) Improves Neurological Health
Arugula leaves improve our neurological health due to the abundance of essential nutrients.
Vitamin C, vitamin A, and other relevant compounds like phytonutrients, etc in arugula leaves protect our brain cells aka neurons from free radical damage.
This reduces the risk of neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, amnesia, and dementia, etc.
Folate in arugula leaves slow down cognitive decline experienced with aging.
Other nutrients like iron, potassium, zinc, magnesium, and B vitamins, etc in arugula leaves contribute to neurological health by improving cognitive functions such as sharper memory, better focus, improved concentration, and reduced mental confusion.
(11) Provides Anti-Inflammatory Benefits
The anti-inflammatory compounds such as vitamin C and dietary fibers in arugula leaves provide relief from pain and inflammation caused by inflammatory conditions such as arthritis, rheumatism, rheumatoid, gouts, asthma, and bronchial asthma, etc.
These compounds inhibit the functioning of enzymes and mediators responsible for causing inflammation.
Omega-3 fatty acid in arugula leaves slow down the pain signals to the brain.
(12) Improved Athletic Performance
Arugula leaves help in maintaining the athletic performance of a person because of their rich nutritious profile.
Antioxidants like vitamin C, vitamin A, and other relevant compounds such as carotenoids protect our cells from free radical damage and improve cellular efficiency.
Detoxifying properties of arugula leaves remove toxins, pollutants, and other impurities from the vital organs like the liver and kidneys, and enhance their functionality.
Arugula leaves contain nitrates that enhance athletic performance by improving the flow of oxygen from the lungs to the muscles.
Vitamin K in arugula leaves promotes cartilage growth and prevents bone injuries.
(13) Improves Mineral Absorption
Arugula leaves improve mineral absorption because of their low oxalate levels.
Oxalate or oxalic acid is a naturally occurring compound in our plants. They bind with minerals such as calcium and potassium and inhibit the rate at which these minerals are absorbed by our body.
By binding with minerals such as calcium, oxalates increase the risk of kidney stones such as calcium oxalate.
(14) Helps With Cholesterol Management
Arugula leaves help with cholesterol management as it reduces LDL cholesterol in our body.
By reducing LDL cholesterol, it lowers the risk of atherosclerosis.
Atherosclerosis is a condition that leads to hardening and narrowing of the arteries due to the accumulation of plaque and fat deposits in the arterial walls.
It is a leading cause of cardiovascular problems such as heart attack, heart stroke, and coronary artery disease.
(15) Improves Cardiovascular Health
Arugula leaves are good for our heart and improve our cardiovascular system.
They are loaded with powerful antioxidants such as vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin K, and other relevant compounds such as isothiocyanate.
These compounds protect our cardiovascular system from free radical damage.
Potassium in arugula leaves regulates blood pressure and reduces the risk of hypertension, a leading cause of cardiovascular problems.
Arugula leaves help with cholesterol management as they contain dietary fibers that reduce the risk of atherosclerosis, a leading cause of cardiovascular problems.
Arugula leaves contain folate that improves cardiovascular health by maintaining homocysteine levels in our bodies.
Other nutrients like iron, magnesium, and B vitamins, etc in arugula leaves also play an important role in improving cardiovascular health.
(16) Eating Arugula Leaves During Pregnancy And Nursing
Arugula leaves contain essential compounds such as vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, phytonutrients, and dietary fibers, etc.
These compounds play an important role in maintaining a healthy pregnancy.
Antioxidants such as vitamin C, vitamin A, and other relevant compounds like phytonutrients, etc in arugula leaves protects the fetus from free radical damage.
Folate or folic acid in arugula leaves promotes the brain development of the fetus and reduces the risk of neural tube defects such as Spina Bifida.
Dietary fibers in arugula leaves regulate blood sugar and reduce the risk of gestational diabetes.
Potassium in arugula leaves regulates blood pressure and reduces the risk of hypertension during pregnancy.
Arugula leaves have low oxalate levels and reduce the risk of kidney stones during pregnancy.
Other nutrients like zinc, iron, copper, calcium, and magnesium, etc in arugula leaves also contribute to a healthy pregnancy.
Despite these advantages, consult your doctor before eating arugula leaves during pregnancy and ensure there is no food-drug interference risk.
Nursing mothers should follow the same precaution and go with their doctor’s advice regarding the consumption of arugula leaves during the nursing period.
(17) Maintains Skin Health
The benefits of arugula leaves are not just limited to health as they are equally beneficial for the skin.
Vitamins, minerals, and other essential compounds in arugula leaves provide nourishment to the skin and make it soft, supple, and radiant.
Antioxidants like vitamin C, vitamin A, and other relevant compounds such as phytonutrients, etc in arugula leaves protects the skin from free radical damage.
It reduces fine lines, wrinkles, age spots, dark spots, skin blemishes, and other signs of aging.
Antioxidants protect our skin from the harmful UV rays of the sun.
Vitamin C enhances the production of collagen, an essential amino acid that maintains skin elasticity and prevents wrinkles and skin sagging.
Arugula leaves bring out the natural glow of the skin and improve skin radiance.
Dietary fibers in arugula leaves promote skin detoxification and prevent toxins, pollutants, and other impurities from getting clogged up in our skin pores.
It reduces the risk of skin problems like acne and pimples.
Dietary fibers regulate the secretion of excess oil from glands of the skin and prevent acne from worsening.
Zinc, iron, potassium, copper, magnesium, and B vitamins, etc in arugula leaves also plays an important role in improving skin health.
How To Use Arugula Leaves
Some of the ways you enjoy arugula leaves are as follows.
- As a topping for pizza, nachos, sandwiches, and wraps.
- Can be enjoyed by adding a little drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, salt, and pepper. It can also be used for making other salad recipes.
- As an alternative to basil leaves while making hot or cold pesto.
Because of their perishable nature, arugula leaves should be kept in a cool and moist environment.
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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Bharat Sharma is a Delhi-based writer who loves reading and writing research-based topics revolving around health, fitness, and nutrition. His love for writing started during his teenage and continues till date. After his graduation, he worked for GE Money, and IBM, but later found his true love i.e. blogging.