Arugula: 7 benefits and recipes

The arugula, a species native to the Mediterranean region and the western part of the Asian continent, is a vegetable that has a slightly spicy flavor , which is why it is also called Persian mustard, and is very good for your health. 

This is because, according to information provided by nutritionist Jéssika Gracielly, the leaves of this vegetable are full of vitamins and minerals, in addition to important phytochemicals and antioxidants .

Among its benefits we can point out that of protecting the brain and preventing loss of vision, helping in the fight against various types of cancer and also being a great ally of a healthy pregnancy , as it is a source of folic acid.

No need to turn up your nose thinking you can only eat it in salads, okay? On the contrary, arugula is very versatile and can be consumed in different ways .

7 benefits of consuming arugula

Arugula ( Eruca sativa ) is a natural source of dietary fiber and minerals such as calcium, iron , magnesium, phosphorus and potassium, in addition to having fatty acids. ( 1 )

It is also possible to find good amounts of vitamins A, C , E, K and the B complex.  In addition to carotenoids, natural colorings and glucosinolate, responsible for its spicy taste. ( 2 )

But the professional warns: for all these nutrients to be absorbed, it must be consumed raw , as heat deteriorates several of its components.

1. Helps you lose weight

Yes, arugula is a food that needs to be on the menu of those who want to lose weight with health. This is mainly because it is a super nutritious food and has a very low caloric value . Each 100 gram serving of it has only 17 calories.

It is still rich in fiber, 2.43 grams per serving, so it increases the feeling of satiety , leaving those who eat satisfied faster and for a longer period of time, as the fibers take longer to leave the stomach. ( 1 )

2. Relieves intestinal cramps

The vegetable also “plays a special function on the functioning of the intestines, acting as an anti-inflammatory in colic ”, defends the nutritionist.

This effect is associated with the presence of compounds such as flavonoids, quercetins and isothiocyanates, which are naturally present in vegetables. ( 3 )

Another point that makes it beneficial for the intestine is due to dietary fiber , a non-digestible part of food, which increases in size and hydrates the fecal cake. Therefore, they help to end the pain caused by gas and constipation .

3. Protects eye health

The food “helps to protect the eyes from age-related disorders, such as eye degeneration , one of the main causes of blindness in older adults”, explains the professional.

This protection is due to the carotenoids, abundant in the leaves, which, after ingested, are transformed into vitamin A.  So much so that the 100 gram portion of rocket generates 564 mg of this nutrient. ( 1 )

This represents more than 60% of the recommended daily doses for an adult man, according to data from the Brazilian Association of Pediatrics (SBP).

This nutrient is used by the body to regenerate eye cells and make small components that are sensitive to light inside the eyes.

Its nutritional deficiency causes night blindness, dry eyes and can, in more severe cases, cause permanent blindness. ( 4 )

4. Provides a healthy pregnancy

Want to ensure a healthy pregnancy from start to finish? So start eating arugula even before you get pregnant. It is rich in folic acid (folate), an extremely important nutrient during pregnancy.

Jéssika warned that B9 is essential to prevent malformations in the neural tube of children still in the uterus. In children already born, who absorb the component through breast milk, it helps in brain development .

5. Protects the brain against degenerative diseases

The antioxidants present in arugula are responsible for protecting brain cells (neurons) from the harmful effects of oxidative stress, a process that causes changes in DNA and tissue death.

Folic acid also lowers the risk of elderly people developing dementia by up to 50%. ( 6 )

6. It is an ally in cancer prevention

Arugula is one of the allied foods in the fight against cancer. And, once again, antioxidants appear as protagonists. They protect cells from undergoing changes that increase the risk of developing the disease. ( 5 )

The compounds extracted from the leaves and seeds of the vegetable are effective in controlling the growth of tumors , as a result of their antiproliferative action.

This means that the vegetable can be helpful in preventing cancer and metastasis, which is when cancer cells spread to other areas of the body. But always as a helper, as there is no miraculous food and this is an illness with several causes. ( 7 )

7. Prevents gastric ulcers

The arugula has the ability to protect the gastric mucosa (wet part), and that is why it is important for those who suffer from the symptoms of ulcers in the region.

Its phytochemicals protect the stomach from excess acidity , as well as reducing its release. Because of this, the place gains better conditions for the wounds to recover.

The rocket also showed the action of protecting the body against the helicobacter pylori bacteria , a type well known for causing ulcers. On top of that, consuming it reduces the inflammatory response. What is also essential for the recovery of tissues in the region. ( 8 )

Nutritional table

100 gram servingAmount per serving
Energetic value13 Kcal
Protein1,8 g
Cholesterol –
Carbohydrate2,2 g
Fiber1,7 g
Calcium117 mg
Match25 mg
Ferro0,9 mg
Sodium9 mg
Potassium233 mg
C vitamin46.3mg
Magnesium18 mg

* Daily reference values ​​based on a 2000kcal or 8400kj diet. Your daily values ​​can be higher or lower depending on your energy needs. Data taken from TACO, revised and expanded edition.

How to eat arugula: easy recipes

Arugula Salad With Mango

Ingredients 

  • 1 large bunch of arugula
  • 2 medium size sleeves
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 crushed garlic clove
  • Salt to taste.

Preparation mode

Coarsely shred the arugula leaves and set aside in a salad bowl or any available bowl. Then add the mango cut into small cubes.

Add the lemon juice , garlic and salt on top and the salad is ready to serve. This is a very refreshing option, so it is ideal to be served in the summer.

Arugula pesto

Ingredients 

  • 2 cups of arugula leaves
  • 1 cup of olive oil
  • ¼ cup of cashew nuts
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 lemon juice.

Preparation mode

Tear off the arugula leaves and place together with all the other ingredients in the food processor or blender. Beat well until everything is crushed. Once ready, store in a sterilized glass jar in the refrigerator.

This recipe is delicious and great for those who don’t like the traditional basil pesto or like to vary the flavors. It goes well with pasta or white meat.

arugula green juice

Ingredients 

  • ½ cup of sanitized arugula leaves
  • 1 cup of natural orange juice 
  • 1 lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon of honey to sweeten
  • Ice to taste.

Preparation mode

The way of preparation is incredibly simple: just blend all the ingredients in a blender and the juice will be ready. The ideal is not to strain, to be able to take advantage of all the fibers present in the drink.

Arugula quiche

Ingredients for dough 

  • ⅔ cup of cold butter
  • 2 cups of wheat flour
  • 1 tablespoon and ½ (tablespoon) of ice water
  • 1 large pinch of salt .

Ingredients for the filling

  • 2 cups of arugula
  • 1 small onion
  • 2 eggs
  • 200 ml of whey-free cream
  • ½ cup of milk
  • Salt and pepper to taste.

Preparation mode

The first step is to prepare the dough by incorporating the wheat, butter, salt and water in a bowl. Mix with your hands until it has a smooth texture and stops sticking to your hands.

Once this is done, wrap in plastic films and refrigerate to rest for at least an hour. Roll out the cold dough and place it in a pan with a removable bottom. Bake in a medium oven for 10 minutes.

Important tip: pierce the dough with a fork before putting it in the oven, this prevents the bottom from swelling with accumulated air.

For the filling, saute the onion, garlic and arugula, cut very thinly, with butter. In a bowl place the eggs, cream, salt and pepper and mix well. Add the stew and mix a little more.

Put this cream on the dough and put it in the oven again, until it turns golden. You can add cheese to the filling.

How to choose, store and care for vegetables

Arugula is a very delicate vegetable and should be consumed within a maximum of 4 days after harvesting, provided it is stored in the refrigerator, in a container with a lid.

Because of this, it is important to choose the vegetable well. The vegetable should have very smooth , long leaves and a vibrant dark green tone. They also cannot have dark spots or yellow spots and need to be very firm. ( 9 )

The nutrition professional also warns that it is necessary to be very careful with cleaning it before consumption. To ensure safety, she recommends washing the leaves individually under running water and then soaking them in a mixture of 1 tablespoon of bleach for every 1 liter of water.

Just soak for 15 minutes in this solution, then rinse and it can be eaten without any problems. 

Ellie Lauderdale

My name is Ellie Lauderdale, MD and I am USA based professional Nutritionist .

I am a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and board certified specialist in sports dietetics who is trained in integrative medicine. I have worked with hundreds of clients, from those suffering with chronic disease to professional and olympian athletes. My goal is to help optimize you from the inside so that you can feel, perform, and look your best on the outside.

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