Arugula, also know as rocket or roquette in other parts of the world, is a peppery tasting, nutrient packed food that comes with many health benefits.
Arugula belongs to a family of vegetables known as cruciferous vegetables. Other cruciferous vegetables include broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower and kale. They are known for their powerful phytonutrient, such as glycosinolates, that breakdown into cancer fighting compounds know as isothiocyanates. Isothiocyanates help neutralize free radicals and carcinogens, which can potentially damage DNA or cause cells to mutate. (World’s Healthiest Foods)
Bitter foods like arugula help stimulate bile production in the liver and the production of digestive enzymes which helps support digestion and natural detoxification pathways in the liver.Other bitter foods include dandelion greens, coffee (that’s right coffee), bitter melon, kale and dill have similar effects in the body.
Arugula boosts the following benefits,
- source of fibre, which aids in digestion
- source of vitamin A, C and K, important component in bone health and blood clotting
- folate, recommended for pregnancy to help prevent neural tube defects
- source of minerals such as calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium and manganese
- source of B vitamins, such as, thiamin, riboflavin, B5, B6, folate, necessary for metabolism and energy production in the body
- source of carotenoids such as lutein and zeaxanthin, necessary for eye health. Carotenoids also act as antioxidants, neutralizing free radicals.
- source of phytochemical nutrients that have an anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory effect.
All health benefits aside, arugula is great tasting, readily available this time of year and easy to incorporate into any meal. Try using it as a base for salads, add 1-2 handfuls to your favourite pesto recipe, or add it to a veggie pasta dish or even as a veggie pizza topping. Enjoy!
Arugula Strawberry Salad
- 2 large handfuls arugula, washed and dried
- 4-6 strawberries, sliced
- 1/4 cup walnuts (optional)
- 1/4 goat cheese, crumbled (optional)
- 1-2 teaspoons hemp hearts
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
To a large bowl, add arugula, strawberries and walnuts.
In a small bowl, whisk together balsamic vinegar, olive oil, hemp hearts and season with salt and pepper. Add the vinaigrette to the salad mixture and toss to combine. Top with crumbled goat cheese and serve.