Benefits of Arugula
I had to share a few facts on arugula! Some of these you might find surprising.
It was brought over to the US from the Mediterranean region of Europe, likely from an Italian immigrant. They also brought us pizza so there is more than one thing to thank them for! The Egyptians and Romans considered arugula leaves and its seed oil an aphrodisiac *wink*. The seed oil of arugula is known as taramira and is popular in India for external medicinal purposes and as massage oil.
It has long been used in salads but not always the type of salads you think of! See this recipe from The Blue Zone Solution for a vegged up potato salad. Arugula is also known as garden rocket, roquette, rugola, Italian ruca, and sometimes hedge mustard. It is in the mustard family which makes sense with its bitter peppery tones. Its botanical name is Eruca Sativa and there are several different varieties you could grow.
From what I’ve been told, you can grow it inside easily and in lower light which is great because despite a ton of windows, I have a very little direct sunlight. I’m planning on buying some seeds and planting and I’ll let you know how it goes. I would love to be a gardener but I haven’t had a ton of luck. According to the Hardiness Zone map Arugula grows basically anywhere in the U.S. except most of Alaska so you’ll likely be able to give it a go too! (In fact, please do and send me your tips and tricks because I tend to kill plants)
There are many nutrient benefits to eating arugula just like many other dark leafy greens. It is rich in vitamins A, C, E, and K. It also has high levels of fiber, iron, magnesium, potassium and calcium.
There are now studies that suggest a sulfur containing compound called sulforaphane gives certain vegetables both a bitter taste cancer fighting ability. Sulforaphane is being studied for its ability to delay or impede cancer. There is also research with folate, which is also supplied by dark greens, which could decrease your risk for cancer. Double nutrient whammy against cancer never hurts!
Eating dark greens, arugula included, have been associated with reduced potential for osteoporosis, heart disease, diabetes, and lower blood pressure. There is also research that associates nutrients found in arugula could help reduce the amount of oxygen needed during exercise which would enhance workout performance.
I can’t claim to be an expert (and references are below for those who want to keep reading) but in general, arugula is easy to incorporate into meals, is good for you, could help prevent cancer, and it’s easy to grow. Why not include it in your regular rotation?
Recipes that include arugula: