Kale and other leafy greens get plenty of attention, and today I wanted to turn your attention to something just slightly more delicate, but no less full of flavor and versatility: arugula.
Arugula is a flavourful green with a peppery taste that is sometimes known as "rocket".
The fibre in arugula helps promote digestive regularity and leaves you feeling full longer. It also helps to lower cholesterol, balance blood sugar and reduce the risk of heart disease.
Here are five reasons to add arugula to your meals:
1. Arugula is a detoxifying, cancer-fighting superfood
Arugula is a member of the brassica family of vegetables called cruciferous – this group is known for its nutritional powerhouses broccoli, kale and cabbage. This family of vegetables is high in fibre and antioxidants, but they’re also rich in compounds which studies show may reduce the risk of developing lung, colorectal, breast, prostate, and pancreatic cancer.
2. Arugula has high levels of chlorophyll
This can help to prevent DNA and liver damage from aflatoxins — carcinogenic substances produced by the mould sometimes found in corn, peanuts and some tree nuts. To preserve the chlorophyll in arugula – eat it raw. It tastes great in a salad!
3. Arugula promotes bone health
It contains eight times more calcium than iceberg lettuce as well as vitamin K, which is important for the absorption of calcium into the bones and teeth. Vitamin K also plays a role in the prevention of heart disease. Plaque that forms inside the linings of the arteries can be partly related to calcium that is not taken up by the bones and teeth. This important vitamin can also help to keep this calcium going to the bones where it belongs.
4. Eating arugula will help to reduce chronic inflammation
Arugula contains indole-3-carbinol and isothiocyanates. Both of these bioactive compounds have been shown to suppress the production of inflammatory mediators.
5. Eating arugula can protect the aging brain and cognitive decline
Arugula is high in most of the B vitamins but contains especially high amounts of folate. In high-functioning older adults, low levels of folate have been shown to be a risk factor for cognitive decline.
This is one of my favorite salads using arugula. It's the perfect plant-based meal or side dish.