Taking proper nutrition is one effort to state human health both physically or mentally. Many varieties of diets prefer numerous food products including plant base food or plant product. Plant products contains 1%–2% protein on average, and it can be higher in vegetables. (Kunachowicz et al.,2005).
Vegetables contains small amount of protein but still they included in the healthy diet as main components since they high in other types of nutrients such as vitamin and minerals. The leaves of some plants can be used as a raw material that served in salad such as rocket leaves. Rocket leaves are plant product that derived from Brassicaceae family and they considered tobe potential nutritional and health-promoting agents (Bukhsh et al., 2007). Study show that rocket leaves contains up to 17% of drymatter, including 37.2% of protein, 2.36% of total sugars, 2.00% of monosaccharides, and 243.2 mg 100 g–1 of L-ascorbic acid.
There are two types of rocket leaves or also called as arugula which popular nowadays, they are the cultivated one Eruca sativa and Diplotaxis tenuifolia or known as wild rocket. They both belongs to the Brassicaceae family (same family to cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower) and they originated in the Mediterranean region. Wild rocket leaves have the pungent taste and stronger than the cultivated rocket especially the young leaves, which make them as one of perfect ingredients in salads, pizza toppings and other cooked culinary purposes.
Wild rocket have dark green color with serrated leaves and they known to have intense peppery flavor. This vegetable is very popular in Italy and French. It is believed that wild rocket have been used in culinary and medication purposes since Roman age. Later the Italian settler brought the vegetable to North America and other part of Europe. Wild rocket also posses long history of medicinal use for various purposes such as diuretic, laxative, stimulant, antiphlogistic, astringent, digestive, tonic, stimulant, laxative and others.
Health Benefits of Wild Rocket Leaves
Wild rocket contains a range of health-promoting properties such as phytochemicals including Vitamin C, carotenoids, dietary fiber, magnesium, calcium, potassium, Vitamin K, polyphenols and glucosinolates. This compound has a strong protective agents to our body and can help to prevent from several serious diseases. Due to their nutritional contents, they my bring benefits to human body. These benefits include the list below
1. Promotes healthy digestion
Wild rocket contains high dietary fiber which can help to improve digestion health. The fiber contents of wild rocket can significantly increase bowel movement and help in nutrients absorption.
2. Relieve constipation
Constipation used to be happen when people consume lack of fiber. Wild rockets contains high amounts of fiber that can help the bowel movement inside the colon and ease the stool to passed it. If you experience constipation during your day, including wild rocket in your meal can be helpful to relieve it.
3. Prevent cancer
Wild rocket posses high antioxidant that can prevent the body from developing cancer. Study reported that wild rocket not only high in antioxidant but they also contains a substance called sulforaphene which has ability to delay the growth of cancer cells and inhibit the Histone deacetylase enzime which known as cancer promotors.
Wild rocket also contains chlorophyl which can block the carcinogenic substance that comes from heterocyclic amines (substance which gormed during grilling process of food). Taking wild rocket with grilled steak or other grilled food may prevent the body from heterocyclic amines and other acrcinogenic effects.
4. Prevent diabetes
Wild rocket contains alpha lipoic acids that categorized as antioxidant. Study reported that alpha lipoic acid in wild rocket can lower the blood sugar level and increase insulin sensitivity. This make wild rocket as great vegetable to be consumed by diabetes patient and those who want to prevent from building diabetes.
5. Reduce cholesterol
Fiber in wild rocket can increase the amount of good fat or known as High density lipoprotein (HDL) and decreased the amount of bad fat or Low Density Lipoprotein that can cause many health problem within the body.
6. Prevent atherosclerosis
By reducing the level of cholesterol, wild rocket can be effective in prevent atheroscleoris since we know that the main thing that causing atherosclerosis is the cholesterol or bad fat. The cholesterol which enter the body will gather and accumulated in the wall of arteries and this may higher the chance of building cardiovascular (CVD) disease.
7. Reduce the risk of heart disease
Wild rocket can reduce cholesterol, protect the blood vessels and it also contains potassium which can maintain healthy heart beat. These effects may give benefits in reducing the risk of heart disease especially among elderly.
8. Help in weight lose
Wild rocket is very low in calories and they can help to make you full and satisfy by just eating it. It will prevent you from hunger and make your stomach full in longer time. Fiber in wild rocket also can block the fat to enter the body. These will be a great reason why you should put wild rocket into your diet.
9. Prevent obesity
Study by Nazam Ansari from Department of Pharmacology, College of Pharmacy, Prince Sattam Bin Abdulaziz University, Al-Kharj, Saudi Arabia in 2015 which published in the bulletin of environment pharmacology and life science reported that after several experiment, he found that wild rocket leaves extract can reduce the risk of obesity and treat obesity by increasing urinary and nutrient intake.
10. Protect kidney
Wild rocket contains high antioxidant which can help to protect the kidney from several harmful substance such as mercuric chloride and it has been proven by several studies which conducted by researchers from Saudi Arabia.
11. Maintain healthy skin
High antioxidant contents and vitamin C in wild rocket can keep your skin nourished and healthy. Wild rocket can help to maintain healthy blood circulation and make sure that the skin tissue get enough nutrients and oxygen. The vitamin C in wild rocket also promotes collagen production that can keep the skin tissue firm and young.
12. Prevent osteoporosis
The calcium within wild rocket can help to maintain bone mineral density and it may prevent the bones from losing their mass especially in older age or known as osteoporosis. The bones which lost their mineral will be easily fractured and it can be a serious problem to elderly.
13. Alleviate stress and Relaxing muscle
Wild rocket contains magnesium that can relax the muscle and soothe nerve. Consuming wild rocket on dinner not only will make you stay healthy but also can alleviate your stress and relaxing muscle after a hard day at work.
14. Boost immune system
High antioxidant contents in wild rocket leaves may promotes better and efficient immune function. The antioxidant can strengthen the immune cells and prevent the body from free radical damage as well as certain infection of microorganism that can cause disease.
15. Promotes healthy pregnancy
Wild rocket is totally save to be consumed during pregnancy. Wild rocket leaves contain folate and other beneficial nutrients that can really help in developing the fetus and prevent the baby from neural tube defect or other birth disorder. The fiber in wild rocket will also make the mother feel comfort and relax during pregnancy.
16. Maintain healthy vision
Wild rocket contains Vitamin A and even its not in high amount, still it can keep the healthy eyes and vision. Vitamin A in wild rocket can significantly protect the eyes from building eyes disorder such as cataract and age macular degeneration.
17. Maintain metabolism rate
Vitamin B complex contents in wild rocket play important role in the body metabolism process. They are the co-factor of several enzymes in the body which work to produce energy that required by every cell in the body.
18. Prevent scurvy
Wild rocket contains vitamin C that can keep oral health and prevent from developing scurvy. The antioxidant in wild rocket also can protect the mouth from bacteria infection which lead to several oral problem.
19. Prevent alzheimer
It is well known that wild rocket contains high level of antioxidant that can help to protect the brain from damage especially which caused by free radicals damage. Consuming wild rocket regularly can maintain stable brain function and prevent from alzheimer (brain disorder which people lost the memory, it is a sign of dementia) that usually occur in elderly age.
20. Promotes sexual desire
Since Roman times, wild rocket has been popular as aphrodisiac. It is believed that both wild or cultivated rocket can promotes sexual desire and increse sperm count in male. They can also get rid of frigidity in women.
21. Prevent anemia
Wild rocket contains iron, a mineral which is vital in developing new red blood cells. Lack of iron can cause anemia and it can reduce productivity of a person. Anemia is a disorder which the body don’t get enough oxygen and nutrient transport since the body lack of red blood cells (red blood cells are the ones who deliver the oxygen and nutrients to all part of the body including brain).
22. Increase fluid intake
Wild rocket contains water and it can increase your fluid intake in the body especially during the hot day. This type of vegetable can soothe your stomach and make you feel rehydrate after doing any activity.
23. Fight inflammation
Wild rocket contains high antioxidant and they can also act as anti-inflammatory properties such as indole-3-carbinol and isothiocyanates inside the body. Antioxidant content of wild rocket can reduce the inflammation in the body which caused by microorganism infection or harmful susbtance which enetr the body.
24. Cleansing colon
Wild rocket leaves is a natural colon cleansing agent that can help to clean the colon from harmful toxin and flush it away from the body. As we know that colon is a place where stool and digestion waste is formed, colon may get dirty and contains many toxin that can be harmful. Not only cleanse the colon. wild rocket also can promotes the good bacteria growth inside the colon.
25. Prevent ulcer
A study which published in World journal of gastroenterology reported that wild rocket just like the cultivated one have anti-ulcer properties that can protect the stomach and prevent it from gastric ulcer.
26. Promotes healthy hair
According to study, people who take wild rocket or arugula juice can prevent hair loss that caused by viral infection since it contains anti-inflammatory properties. It also can help to prevent hair thinning and promotes healthy hair growth.
27. Protect liver
Wild rocket contains antioxidant and also chlorophyll which popular as natural body cleanser. Those substance can help the body to purify the blood from toxin and other substance so it ease the liver function and work. The antioxidant in wild rocket also can protect the liver from damage that caused by free radicals.
Health Side Effect of wild Rocket
Wild rocket must be stored properly by wrapping in inside the fridge because it can easily damaged and infected by bacteria that produce nitrate. This substance may harmful for the body. Wild rocket also contains Vitamin K that may interfere with blood thinning medication or warfarin. As well as people who are under medication should confirm the doctor or any health care provider before consuming wild rocket.
Tips to Consume Wild Rocket
Before you include the wild rocket in your diet better watch these tips :
- Purchase fresh wild rocket in the market and choose the bright dark green color of wild rocket leaves
- Wash the arugula leaves before you consume it to remove dirt and other subtance which stick into the leaves
- Store wild rocket in the fridge by wrapping it tight with plastic and they can only be stored for 4-5 days
- You can consume wild rocket in salad or add it to your omelete or scramble while having breakfast
- Wild rocket can also be stirred fry, saute, or boiled. It depend on your favorite way to enjoy the vegetable
Wild rocket may posses great benefits to your body and you may consider to take it as vegetable in your diet along with other types of vegetable. To increase the health benefits, you also can combine the wild rocket with other kind of vegetable and simply enjoy it as healthy meal.