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I grow arugula in my Tower Garden and enjoy it year round. It is delicious in my salads but also, I am learning to cook with it as an accent in my food and to use it in sauces, soups and stews in order to leverage the health benefits of its high nutrient density.

Arugula & Its Nutritional Value

Arugula is a small salad green characterized by long, thin leaves with green-veins. Also known as salad rocket, roquette or rucola, arugula is a Mediterranean green with a distinct peppery flavor. It belongs within the Brassicaceae (also called Cruciferae) family similar to cauliflower, cabbage, garden cress, bok choy, broccoli, brussels sprouts and similar green leaf vegetables. It has the scientific name: Eruca sativa.

Arugula leavesAccording to the USDA National Nutrient Database, two cups of arugula (about 40 grams) contains approximately 10 calories. It also contains 1 gram of protein, 0.3 grams of fat, .6 grams of fiber and 1.5 grams of carbohydrate (including 0.6 grams of fiber and 0.8 grams of sugar).

Consuming 2 cups of arugula will provide 20% of vitamin A, over 50% of vitamin K and 8% of your vitamin C, folate and calcium needs for the day.

Additionally, Arugula is ranked by Whole Foods as one of the top 10 most nutrient-dense green vegetables (Whole Foods). Nutrient-dense foods are foods that have a lot of nutrients but relatively few calories.

The Health Benefits of Arugula

Arugula provides numerous health benefits.

Arugula provides significant amounts of vitamins A and C (to boost your immune system), and K (for bone strength and the prevention of osteoporosis), as well as folate, calcium, iron, potassium and magnesium.

Picking ArugulaArugula also provides high levels of protein, thiamin, riboflavin, vitamin B6, zinc, copper, and pantothenic acid (vitamin B5) for raising good cholesterol levels and lowering the bad. Its flavonoid content has multiple benefits: to prevent cholesterol from sticking to arteries, lower blood pressure, increase blood flow, lower inflammation, and improve blood vessel function.

Additionally, research over the last 30 years has shown that eating a high amount of cruciferous vegetables has been associated with a lower risk of cancer; namely lung and colon cancer. More recent studies have suggested that the sulfur-containing compounds (namely sulforaphane) that give cruciferous vegetables their bitter bite are also what give them their ability to prevent cancer.

Leafy greens such as arugula also contain an antioxidant known as alpha-lipoic acid that has been shown to lower glucose levels, increase insulin sensitivity and prevent oxidative stress in patients with diabetes. Studies on alpha-lipoic acid have also shown decreases in peripheral neuropathy or autonomic neuropathy in diabetics.

Finally, arugula contains very high nitrate levels. High intakes of dietary nitrate have been shown to lower blood pressure, reduce the amount of oxygen needed during exercise and enhance athletic performance.

Cooking With Arugula

I love to include arugula in my salads, sandwiches, and protein shakes. At the same time, did you know that arugula is great in sauces, soups, stews, and even cooked as a vegetable?

Arugula Bruschetta 3 Serving

Two new recipes I have tried recently are Arugula & Tomato Bruschetta (above) and Arugula & Goat Cheese Pasta (below).  The bruschetta turned out great and is a healthy appetizer I will make again and maybe even take to a potluck or party with friends.

Arugula Tomato Pasta Collage

The pasta was quick to make, tasty and highly nutritious.

Want the recipes? Click Here to receive periodic updates via e-mail and receive the recipes for Arugula & Tomato Bruschetta and Arugula & Goat Cheese Pasta. 

Warmly, Laureen

To learn more about Juice Plus+ as a way to get the health benefits of a variety of fruits and vegetables daily, go to: Juice Plus+

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