Arugula ( Eruca sativa ) or known as salad rocket, rucola, rucoli, rugula, colewort, and roquette is one of leavy vegetable that widely consume especially in Italy. Arugula usually added to salad, pizza or another kind of dish which suit to leavy vegetable. Arugula is a low-growing annual plant with dull-green leaves and pungent flavour.
Arugula is one of the first spring vegetable and can be harvested many times with continuous cutting. Arugula can grows fast in cool-season temperature. Its appears that arugula is well adapted to the Midwest area can possibly available in market for long period. Planting arugula is also simple and it can be harvested after 20 to 27 days and will continue growing to get another harvest.
Description of Plant
Arugula ( Eruca sativa ) is annual plant which means it needs a year to complete the growth phase. Arugula is one of plant from Brassicaceae family, as well as cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower. Eruca sativa or arugula can grows from 20 to 100 centimetres in height. The dark green leaves have deeply pinnately lobed with elongated shape. Younger arugula leaves has light green color, and appear same to spinach leave color.
The flowers of arugula are range from 2 – 4 in diameter. They are arranged in a corymb pattern same like other typical plant from Brassicaceae family. They have creamy white petals with purpl veined and with yellow stamens. Arugula also produce siliqua fruits which has 12–35 millimetres diametre and it contains several seeds that usually edible and used to make arugula oil.
Arugula history has begun since biblical times. In some countries like India it didn’t cultivated as vegetable but rather as oil that can be produced by seed. Arugula has been used in America since the colonization began but it yet became popular during 1990’s. Arugula has strong flavour and some of people loves the taste either some others don’t like the hot and pungent taste.
Arugula has been grown in Mediterranean as an edible herb since Roman times. Many classical author of that era mentioned the function of arugula as aphrodisiac. The most famous line form a poem in Roman age was “et veneris revocans eruca morantuem” (“rocket leaves excites the sexual desire of drowsy people”). This may explain the reason why at that era, people are forbidden to grow arugula in monasteries. It was listed, however, in a decree by Charlemagne of 802 as one of the pot herbs suitable for growing in gardens.
Nutrition Facts of Arugula
Arugula contains many nutrients which give lots of benefits to our body. Below are nutritions fact of arugula :
Amount Per 0.5 cup (10 g)
Calories 3 % Daily Value*
Total Fat 0.1 g 0%
Saturated fat 0 g 0%
Polyunsaturated fat 0 g
Monounsaturated fat 0 g
Cholesterol 0 mg 0%
Sodium 3 mg 0%
Potassium 37 mg 1%
Total Carbohydrate 0.4 g 0%
Dietary fiber 0.2 g 0%
Sugar 0.2 g
Protein 0.3 g 0%
Vitamin A 4% Vitamin C 2%
Calcium 1% Iron 0%
Vitamin D 0% Vitamiin B-6 0%
Vitamin B-12 0% Magnesium 1%
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Health Benefits of Arugula
Rich in nutrients, arugula serves many benefits of health. Check the list of arugula benefits maybe you didn’t know about it before
1. Lowering risk of cancer
Having leavy vegetable especially cruciferrous is known to has significant effect in lowering the risk of cancer especially colon cancer. Arugula, just like other cruciferous vegetables contains a cancer-fight compound which called sulforaphane. Studies reported that sulforaphane has ability to delay the cancer cell proliferation and inhibit the effect of enzyme histone deacetylase (HDAC) , known as hormone which involved in the growing of cancer cells. Arugula also contains another phytochemical compound such chlorophyll, which effective to block carcinogenic effects of heterocyclic amines that generated when food being grilled at a high temperature.
Based on ORAC (oxygen radical absorbance capacity, a measure of anti-oxidant strength) test arugula contains about 1904 µmol TE per 100 grams. Arugula leaves are rich in phytochemicals such as indoles, thiocyanates, sulforaphane, and iso-thiocyanates which counter carcinogenic effects of estrogen and may protect the body from prostate, breast, cervical, colon, and even ovarian cancers.
2. Prevent Diabetes
Arugula as well as other leavy vegetable contains alpha lipoic acid which belong to antioxidant component. Alpha lipoic acid has been reported can lower glucose level in blood and imcrease the sensitivity of insulin. This make arugula is one of leavy vegetable that can be included in diet especially for diabetic people.
3. Prevent Osteoporosis
Osteoporosis has become a nightmare for some people nowadays. Osteoporosis happen when bones losing the minerals that compound them and it makes the bones fragile or easily fractured. Osteoporosis usually happen in old age but the chance will increase without adequate calcium and Vitamin K intake. Arugula contains Vitamin K which is important to maintain strong bones by helping the absorbtion of calcium and building bone matrix. Arugula also contributes some amount of calcium which higher the effect in strengthen the bones. In two cups arugula contains 64 milligrams calcium which fulfil daily intake of calcium.
4. Relaxing muscle after work out
Arugula can improve endurance when work out and also help to relaxing the muscle after work out. This benefits is served by the presence of nitrate component in arugula. Nitrate supplement known has great effect to improve muscle oxygenation. Adequate and fast oxygen delivery will get rid of lactic acid from which can cause muscle pain and fatigue
5. Help to lose weight
Consuming vegetable and fruit always has benefits related to weight lost. Arugula contain fiber which can longer satiety and delay hunger. As well as in other greens leavy vegetable, arugula contain very low calorie. 100 g of fresh leaves just provides 25 calories.
6. Strenghten Immune system
Fresh arugula leaves known to contain has effect di-indolyl-methane (DIM) which has further effect in fight viral infection, and acts as anti-bacterial properties. DIM has been proved in reduce the infection of respiratory papillomatosis that caused by the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV)
7. Prevent newborn baby disorder
Arugula or rocket salad is rich in folates. 100 g of fresh arugula leaves contain 97 µg or 24% of folic acid. Folic acid play important role in the development of fetus during pregnancy especially in brain developing. Mother who consume folic acid during pregnancy has protect her baby from neural tube defect and it can be serious disorder for newborn baby.
Arugula is contain lower oxalate level compare to otyher green leavy vegetables such as spinach, purslane, mustard greens, celery, etc. This is why arugula is save and can be consumed during pregnancy and lactation. For your information, oxalate is reactice molecules found in many variety of plant that can create several health problem. Study reported that high amount of oxalate can induce development of mental disorders in children, including autism
8. Keeping healthy vision
Arugula also excellent source of vitamin A. Just like carrot, arugula contain beta-caroten which is important to keep the healthy eyes and vision. In 100 g fresh arugula leaves contain 2373 IU vitamin A and 1424 µg of beta-carotene. The carotenes itself will be convert into vitamin A inside the body.
Arugula also contain two components antioxidant, lutein and zeaxanthin that help protect your eye’s macula from sunlight exposure especially UV light and other high-intensity blue light. Those rays can cause problem such as eyestrain and weak vision.
9. Boost metabolism
Metabolism is one of important thing in our body. Metabolism process is the main thing to regulate body’s energy. Arugula is a great sources of Vitamin B-complex such as thiamin, riboflavin, Vitamin B-6 (pyridoxine), niacin, vitamin B-6 and pantothenic acid. All of those types of Vitamin B complex are essential to optimize the cellular enzymatic and metabolic functions.
10. Prevent Scurvy
As mentioned before that arugula contains high amount of vitamin C. Vitamin C is one of powerful anti-oxidant. Foods rich in Vitamin C is well know to help human body protect from scurvy disease and develop resistance against free radicals which can create serious problem as well as oral infection
11. Help to prevent brain damage and Alzheimer
Salad rocket or arugula is great sources of vitamin-K. Vitamin K is not only establish its role in maintaining healthy bones but also help limiting the neural damage in brain. Vitamin K is usually used in the treatment of patients suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.
Arugula contains adequate amount of some important mineral such as iron and copper. Those minerals are important in haemoglobin ( red blood cell ) production that plays role in oxygen transportation. Defiency of iron can lead to anemia and may make your body feel weak and tired.
13. Promotes sexual desire
Arugula has been used to promotes sexual desire or libido. It has been acted as as natural aphrodisiac since early 1st century AD. The Romans even consider arugula as symbole of fertility god, Priapus.
A recent study that published in Journal of Al-Nahrain University, Iraq in 2013 found that arugula leaf extracts can boosted sperm activity and testosterone levels in mice. The results concluede that the phytochemicals in arugula can act as aphrodisiac properties.
14. Hidrating the body
People may experience dehydration especially during summer. Arugula can be perfect choice to keep body hydrated because arugula leaves is composed by 90 percent water. Consuming arugula may help your body to cooling down and provide better temperatures for metabolism.
15. Helps reduce inflammation
Arugula contains indole-3-carbinol and isothiocyanates components which have been shown the effect to suppress inflammation in the body. Inflammation can occur due to bacterial or viral infection.
16.Detoxify body from toxin and promote healthy digestion
The fiber in arugula helps to clean out the body especially colon from toxin. Fiber also well known to promotes healthy bowel movements. It has been proved that he phytochemicals, and other components such as antioxidant found in arugula can help cleanse out toxins in the body.
Arugula leaves also an excellent source of chlorophyll. Chlorophyll is alkalizing and detoxifying agent in the body. Chlorophyll is also known as an excellent blood detoxifier and oxygenator. It has been proved that the alkalizing and oxygenating process in blood by consuming dark leafy greens such as arugula can increase energy levels.
17.Prevent gastric ulcer
A study published by World Journal of Gastroenterology in April 2009 found that arugula extract contain anti-ulcer activity in rats with has experienced gastric ulcer. It is believed that the anti-ulcer effects of arugula are associated with prostaglandin-mediated activity and antioxidant properties. Eventough there is no study that has been proved arugula potential effects to treat gastric ulcer in human
18. Promotes hair growth
It is well known in some countries that arugula can be use to thicken the hair and it promotes healthy shiny hair. Regular consumption of arugula juice can prevent hair lost. A study published in the journal of the American health ideas reported that arugula juice can helps to prevent hair thinning caused by infection with viruses. The anti-bacterial component in arugula leaves can help to cleanse the pores of hair follicle and promote new hair cells growth.
19. Keeping healthy skin
The effect of antioxidant in dark green vegetable is undoubtedly. It can fight against free radicals and protect skin from aging. Consuming regular arugula leaves can make your skin hydrated and moist during summer
20. Reduce the risk of liver damage
It has been mentioned before that arugula can detoxify the body from toxin. Some toxin enter our body from food, pollution, chemical exposure and etc. Liver is the important organ in our body which has function in detoxification. Consuming regular arugula can help to reduce the damage of liver cell and help liver to flush the toxin out of the body.
Health risk of Arugula
- It is better to combine arugula with other ingredients in your diet to achieving more health benefits.
- If you are under medication and taking some medicine which is blood-thinners such as Coumadin (warfarin). Consuming excessive or high amount of arugula is not suggested since its contain Vitamin K that play role in blood clotting
- Always store arugula properly. If arugula improperly stored it can be nest of bacteria which convert nitrate in arugula into nitrite. High levels of nitrite can be harmful for the body if it is being consumed
- If you have problem with cardiovascular disease or other associated risk, its better to consult the doctor before consuming arugula. The high nitrate content in arugula may interact with cardio medicine or angina treatment such as sildenafil citrate, tadalafil, and vardenafil. All of those are belong to nitrate drugs.
How to purchase and store arugula
- When purchasing arugula, choose only fresh arugula leaves in market. Purchase for the younger bright green leaves and avoid to purchase arugula with yellow leaves
- If possible, choose organic arugula to avoid pesticide or spray. If you cant fimf the organic one in market, you shoul make sure that you wash it clean when you reach home
- to minimize or remove pesticide or residues content in arugula you soak the leaves in hot water the add some apple vinegar or other types of edible vinegar
- Arugula should be stored in the refrigerator and used within a few days of purchase.
- Wrap the arugula leaves with damp paper or plastic. Try to change the package or wrap everyday if you store arugula for long time.
- Arugula is best store for 4 – 5 days after some days the leaves will turn into yellow
- Arugula can also be frozen for longer time storage.
- Wash arugula before use. Better wash it with flowing water and add some salt to remove dirt faster
- After it has been stored the leaves may be wilted. Just soak it in ice or cold water for 10 minutes. It will get back the freshness of the leaves
Tips to enjoy arugula in different ways
Arugula is commonly consumed as fresh vegetables in salads but it also can be mix with other dish such as pastas, casseroles and gravy just same as other leafy greens. It has more flavour compare with spinach and the leaves are tender. In Italy, due to its pungent taste, arugula is used as pizza topping. You can also make other variant dish using arugula. These are tips to enjoy arugula in different ways as your daily routine:
- You can add a fresh arugula to your omelet or scramble as breakfast
- It is also possible to enjoy arugula as smoothie or juice by blend it or mix it with other ingredients.
- Arugula is also can be eaten as side dish by saute it with olive oil before serve. Add some blackpepper, cheese or salt to enhance the flavour.
- It can be a great salad if you mix arugula with some olive oil and cheese
- If you feel the flavour of arugula is too pungent or strong, you can combine it with other mild-flavour leaves sandwich
- Instead of using basil in some dish you can try to use arugula
- To keep the fresh green colour of leaves you can blanch it it boiled water for some minutes then saute or stir it.
Those are the benefits of arugula which may suprise us. It is better to combine arugula leaves with other healthy ingredients to gain healthy body. So, lets start to enjoy arugula and choose your meal that well eaten with arugula and get the benefits.