Arugula is a salad with a particular and pungent taste with good nutritional properties. It is rich in vital nutrients including vitamins, minerals and many other antioxidant compounds
Arugula, scientific name Eruca Sativa, is a plant with interesting therapeutic properties belonging to the Crucifera family. It is also known as rocket salad and grows spontaneously in the Mediterranean area up to an altitude of 800 meters above sea level. Its leaves have an intense, almost acidic taste that characterizes them.
Arugula has a very fast life cycle. After sowing, which usually takes place in spring, in fact, it can be consumed after just a few weeks. It also lends itself to being grown in containers.
In addition to the domestic one there is also the wild variety which, while maintaining the same taste, presents different leaves and flowers of another color.
- Chemical Composition
- Gastric Ulcer
- Blood Pressure
Arugula is widespread throughout the world, particularly in India where the seeds are used for the production of a traditional spicy oil called taramira.
The Egyptians and the ancient Romans were convinced that this herb had aphrodisiac properties. There were famous authors who at the time described the benefits that derived from his employment. They claimed that this plant had the ability to excite sexual desire.
The ancient Romans discovered that those who ate rocket most often had better health and were more sexually aroused. This property is probably due to the fact that the rocket improves blood circulation and has energizing properties.
The positive and beneficial effects on human health of the phytochemical compounds contained in the rocket have been reported in several studies. Furthermore, consumption of green leafy vegetables has been associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease. ( 1 ) These beneficial effects have been attributed to the range of phytochemicals they contain, including vitamins A and C, flavonoids and glucosinolates, which are found in abundance in Brassicaceae cultures.
Chemical composition of Rocket Salad
|Chemical composition for 100 grams of arugula|
|Vitamin A, RAE||mcg||119|
Arugula also contains 170 mg of Omega 3 fatty acids and 130 mg of omega 6 fatty acids.
Amino acids : alanine, arginine, aspartate, glutamate, glycine, histidine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, proline, serine, threonine and valine. ( 2 )
100 grams of rocket salad have a caloric yield of 25 kcal.
Arugula: Properties and Benefits
Inflammation is a primary response to tissue injury and infection and plays an important role in innate and adaptive. However, apart from these positive roles in inflammation, the unresolved and chronic role is associated with a variety of diseases, including cancers, type 2 diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease and neurodegenerative diseases. ( 3 )
Arugula contains erucine, an isothiocyanate that has recently been reported for its anticancer properties in various tumor lines. According to recent studies, they suggest that this compound exerts a powerful anti-inflammatory activity by inhibiting pro-inflammatory enzymes and cytokines. The results of the studies indicate that erucina can be used as a natural anti-inflammatory agent, which can help prevent or alleviate diseases related to chronic inflammation. ( 4 )
A very recent Italian study states that rocket seed extract is able to induce anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective effects in motor neurons. ( 5 )
One of the properties recognized to arugula is to facilitate the digestive process. Its intake is in fact able to favor the production of gastric juices. In addition to the digestive properties, the rocket salad facilitates the expulsion of liquids from the body and is therefore a fairly good diuretic.
Gastric ulcer is a disease that affects a considerable number of people around the world. The etiological factors of this pathology include: stress, smoking, nutritional deficiencies, infections, frequent and indiscriminate use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.
According to a study carried out on animals, the rocket extract has anti-secretory, protective and anti-ulcer activity against experimentally induced gastric lesions. The anti-ulcer properties are due to the anti-secretory and antioxidant properties of prostaglandin. ( 6 )
It has a high nitrate content, about 250 mg per 100 gr. A diet containing a good quantity of nitrates has been shown to lower blood pressure. At the same time there is less demand for oxygen from the body during physical activity.
Arugula, thanks to components such as vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin E, beta-carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin has antioxidant properties. For this reason its inclusion in our diet can only bring benefits to our body.
Arugula is in fact useful to counteract the activity of free radicals. It therefore plays a preventive role against some cancers and cardiovascular diseases.
According to an Indian study, the plant possesses a powerful antioxidant activity capable of protecting the kidneys from oxidative stress. ( 7 )
E. sativa is considered an excellent source of antioxidants, since it includes phenolic compounds, carotenoids, glucosinolates and degradation products as isothiocyanates. ( 8 )
The flavonoid compounds present in green leafy vegetables have been shown to have anticancer properties especially against skin, mouth and lungs. The activity of other constituents such as sulforaphane, thiocyanates, or indoles has been shown to play an active role in the prevention of certain cancers. For example, breast, colon and prostate.
Recent studies have investigated the role of anthocyanins, phenols and carotenoids in the fight against tumors. It appears that these compounds have antitumor properties and are capable of killing tumor cells by apoptosis, or programmed cell death.
Like other vegetables of the Crucifera family, it contains glucosinolates which are phytonutrients with anticancer properties. When we eat salad, these compounds mix with a digestive enzyme called myrosinase. Isothiocyanates are formed from this mixture, powerful nutrients that fight tumors. ( 9 )
The isothiocyanates neutralize free radicals and other dangerous tumor agents preventing the mutation of cells and DNA damage. Many of these isothiocyanates contain sulfur compounds that are also present in Chinese cabbage and kohlrabi.
There are several studies showing a relationship between the consumption of raw vegetables that contain isothiocyanates and a reduced cancer risk. ( 10 )
An Indian study found that seed oil and leaf and root extract inhibit the growth of melanoma, a rather aggressive malignant tumor. ( 11 )
The same result was another 2015 study in which the seed oil and the bioactive principles of the plant proved to be effective in reducing melanoma. ( 12 )
It is a good source of iron and is therefore indicated for the treatment and prevention of anemia.
Thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties, the plant is able to improve the health of blood vessels. This is one of the reasons why taking cruciferous vegetables reduces the risk of heart disease. ( 13 )
According to studies, a diet rich in low-calorie vegetables is associated with better blood pressure, better blood circulation and a lower risk of having a stroke or heart attack. Vegetables provide antioxidants and nutrients such as magnesium and potassium that are beneficial for the functioning of the heart. ( 14 )
Unlike many other vegetables, it contains few oxalates. The oxalates inhibit the absorption of minerals from the body. The arugula containing few oxalates can be considered a food that facilitates the absorption of minerals. Another property of this herb is to treat cough of nervous origin.
For years, chinese medicine has believed that bitter green leafy vegetables like dandelion and arugula beneficial effects on the liver. The scientific studies carried out in this direction have demonstrated this property of the rocket salad.
Its intake can help protect the eyes from age-related disorders. This thanks to its good content of antioxidant carotenoids such as beta-carotene, zeaxanthin and leucine. These compounds have been extensively studied for their ability to protect the eyes from macular degeneration.
According to a US study on the properties of carotenoids, arugula helps improve eye health. This vegetable is in fact a good source of carotenoids which slow down the process of macular degeneration. Increasing rocket salad consumption can therefore slow down this degenerative process typical of old age. ( 15 )
It has a high vitamin K content which we know is essential for bone health. In indeed some scholars maintain that this vitamin contributes to the construction of bones even more than calcium. Studies show that those who take more vitamin K have a reduced risk of developing osteoporosis. ( 16 )
Scientific studies have shown that rocket seed extract helps to regulate the fluctuation of blood sugar levels. However, a diet rich in green leafy vegetables is ideal for improving the body’s response to insulin.
Rocket extract and even oil extracted from seeds are very effective in preventing diabetes and improving insulin response. ( 17 )
An Egyptian study suggests that rocket leaf extract is rich in fatty acids. These exert anti-diabetic activities in insulin-sensitive cell lines and can therefore be useful for the treatment of type 2 diabetes. ( 18 )
In another Pakistani study, Eruca sativa‘s hydroalcoholic extract showed a significant reduction in blood sugar, also supported by the recovery of body weight. ( 19 )
Good for the Skin
Extract of arugula affects benefits with regard to the prevention and treatment of skin disorders. This at least is what is believed in Middle Eastern medicine. According to this tradition, arugula oils are a natural remedy for eczema and psoriasis .
If taken as an infusion it has relaxing properties while, if consumed cooked, it benefits the liver. A recent study in rats has shown that this type of salad has beneficial effects on the stomach in terms of preventing ulcers.
Known since ancient times as a herb with therapeutic properties, arugula was also considered an excellent aphrodisiac. It was therefore used, always in ancient times, to combat problems related to impotence.
It seems that at the time of the ancient romans these particular properties were particularly popular. Information can be found in literary works by famous personalities of the time such as the poet Ovid or the Greek doctor Dioscorides.
We do not know if what was stated by the herbalist Matthias de L’Obel in his works of 1575, Stirpium and Plantarum, is true or false. The herbalist tells that some monks, in excitement after drinking a arugula drink, denied their vow of chastity.
Arugula has no particular contraindications, consumed in normal dosages does not have any side effects. As with all other plants, it could cause side effects in people who are particularly sensitive to its chemical components.
In this case, if you are not sure if you can tolerate it, it is better to start with a small taste and then observe if any unwanted effects occur. Its intake is therefore not recommended for allergy sufferers, those suffering from kidney stones and those taking anticoagulant drugs such as Coumadin. In this case, in fact, the abundance of vitamin K interferes with the drug.
It is very easy to grow and grows well on almost all types of soil. The only warning is to keep it away from the wind.
The name Eruca derives from the Latin word Urere which means to burn. This is due to the pungent taste of its leaves and its seeds in particular.
The rocket also has carminative properties as it favors the expulsion of gases from the intestine.
In ancient times it was considered an excellent anti-scurvy food as it was an herb available all year round. The Scurvy is a disease caused by deficiency of vitamin C. Although in our times we must say that it is a rather rare disease. Fruits and vegetables are consumed daily without availability problems.
Thanks to the presence of some active ingredients, extracts of arugula are used in cosmetics for the preparation of beauty creams.
No side effects are known except for the possible irritation that could result from excessive consumption.
In some areas of Italy where the cold is not particularly cold, the rocket salad retains its vegetative capacity even in winter.
Maybe not Everyone Knows That
Arugula appears among the top 20 foods as far as the ANDI score is concerned . This score is obtained by calculating the relationship between vitamins, phytonutrients and minerals and its calories. In practice, to be at the top of the list, a food must have many nutrients and few calories.
Pliny the Elder wrote in his works that an infusion obtained with his seeds was useful for healing intestinal worms.
This herbaceous plant is also mentioned in several religious texts including the Bible. His name appears in some Jewish texts from the first to the fifth century AD.
Traditional Chinese medicine claims that bitter green leafy vegetables such as dandelion and arugula have beneficial effects on the liver.
Rocket: Properties and Benefits
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