Including leafy greens to our daily diet is mandatory when it comes to the point of giving more priority to our health and wellness. Most of us ignore the fact that a good healthy body needs the right amount of greens and vegetables. Arugula is one of the popular greens that are included in the day to day diet of most people around the globe. It is known as salad or garden rocket. Its nutritional value is known to many. Arugula is a leafy vegetable that has its origin from the Mediterranean regions. It is an herb that is small, and has leaves that are elongated. It is from the Brassicaceae family, which has other members such as cauliflower, kale and more.
Arugula is also known as roquette, rucola, rugula, rucoli and colewort. It is an herb that grows fast and is a seasonal crop. Good amount of wet, fertile soil and good amount of sunlight is essential for growing this nutritious vegetable. The leaves can be harvested right after forty days after sowing its seeds.
Tender leaves of arugula have a green color and looks just like spinach without the lobulation. Tender leaves are sweeter and less spicy in flavor compared to the mature leaves. The flowers and fruit pods and even the seeds are edible and are relished by many.
Health benefits of Arugula
- There are many health benefits of Arugula, the nutritional salad vegetable.
- Arugula is a low calorie vegetable. About 100 grams of arugula leaves contain around 25 calories. It also contains essential antioxidants, minerals, photochemical and vitamins that are good for our health.
- Arugula is a good source of phytochemicals such as sulforaphane, indoles, isothiocyanates and thiocyanates. These compounds provide the best protection against cancer variations such as prostate, cervical, colon, breast, and ovarian cancers. They prevent the growth of cancer cells.
- When you choose to eat fresh salad rocket, you are making sure that you get the right amount of folates essential for the body. Pregnant women can have these leaves during conception period, and the folates help in preventing neural tube defects found in new born babies.
- B-complex group of vitamins such as vitamin B-6, thiamin, pantothenic acid, niacin, riboflavin, etc are found in arugula. It helps in boosting the metabolic functions of the body.
- Vitamin K is also found in abundance in salad rocket. If you are focusing on providing more prominence to bone health, than consuming foods with vitamin K helps a lot, since it helps in strengthening the bones and also promotes bone formation proper. With the right amount of vitamin k in the body, brain health is too maintained, as it prevents neuronal damage to a very large extent. It hence plays a major role in treating those with Alzheimer’s disease.
- Salad rocket is a good source of vitamin A. It helps in protecting us from oral cavity, skin as well as lung cancers.
Selecting and storing the vegetable
You will get fresh arugula in markets all round the world at any time of the year. Choose those leaves that look crisply, young and have green shade. The leaves with flowers should be avoided as they can taste bitter and can be a bit tough. Bruised, yellow leaves should be discarded. Do not take the stems for cooking.
Preparing the vegetable
You will find roots attached to those arugula greens that are right from the fields. The thick stems need to be cut and the bushel has to be opened with the knife. Pick the green and fresh leaves and discard the yellow bruised ones. Wash in running cold water to remove soil or dirt. Drain the water and pat off the excess water with the help of cloth before you cook it.
Add tender arugula leaves to sandwiches, burgers or your salads. It can be added to juices, soups or stews, or you can even cook it as a vegetable. Arugula pasta with goat cheese is a very popular Italian dish.
It is a low oxalate food and so is very much safe for women who are pregnant or lactating. Add this healthy vegetable to your daily diet and experience the magic of good health.