Arugula is also known as rocket and is one of the cruciferous group of vegetables, which are loaded with amazing health benefits. Arugula is popular and versatile in the kitchen, as it can be used as a herb, a salad green, and even a leaf vegetable. It can be used both raw or cooked.

Albanians started to cultivate arugula after the 1990s, while all the other Mediterranean countries had a lot of history in its cultivation. Arugula, or rocket, is easy to grow and available all year round.

Amazing Health benefits of Arugula

Here are 10 of the major health benefits in arugula listed by AgroWeb.org.

1. Antioxidant properties
Antioxidants maintain a healthy balance of enzyme reactions in the cells and destroy the free radicals which travel in the body attacking the system and laying you open to disease.

2. High in Vitamin A
The vitamin A content is also a powerful antioxidant and promotes the good condition of bones, teeth, eyes and skin.

3. Strong bones
Vitamin K in arugula is an anti-inflammatory which boosts bone health and prevents arthritis from developing.
An added benefit of vitamin K is that it helps the body to absorb calcium, which is a strong support for osteoarthritis sufferers.

4. Immune system
Vitamin C supports the immune system, making you less prone to infections and diseases doing the rounds. Vitamin C is a defense system which also seeks out and destroys the dangerous inflammation-causing free radicals.

5. Hormone levels
Indole-3-Carbonol (I3C) is a compound present which is said to balance out hormone levels. The carotenoids, which the body converts into vitamin A, can slow down the development of eye diseases like macular degeneration.

6. Metabolic functions
The presence of B-complex vitamins help to boost cell health, and other processes necessary for cell and metabolic health.

7. Mineral absorption
When compared to other foods such as spinach, almonds, legumes and beet greens, arugula is relatively low in oxalates. Oxalates specifically inhibit the body’s ability to absorb calcium. This ensures that calcium, a vital mineral for health, is properly absorbed.

8. Kidney stones
Foods high in oxalates, such as spinach etc, may promote the formation of painful kidney stones. Arugula, on the other hand, because of the low oxalate levels, can lower the risk of kidney stones developing.

9. Pre-natal health
This vegetable is completely safe for expectant mothers. Studies have shown that folic acid, one of the B vitamins, may decrease the danger of birth defects in newborns

10. Rich in Vitamin B5
The pantothenic acid (vitamin B5) has a favorable effect on high cholesterol levels. It has the potential to improve HDL (good) cholesterol and also decreases the LDL (bad) cholesterol in the blood. This has a positive effect on blood pressure numbers, the arteries, and the cardiovascular system.

Added benefits include the ability to cleanse the body and counteract the poisoning effects of heavy metal toxins. Arugula also has the power to eliminate pesticides and herbicides from the body.

How to add more arugula to your diet:
• Add to pesto and sauces for its pungent, peppery flavor.
• Use as a tasty, leafy bed for grilled seafood.
• Chop finely and sprinkle on pizza and pasta before serving.
• Use in salad with other greens for a revved up taste.
• Add leaves to toasted cheese and tomato sandwiches.
• Chop finely and use in omelets, or with cheese on a baked potato.
• Blend into a fresh juice or smoothie.
• Add leaves to wrap or sandwich fillings.
• Add to any casseroles, pasta, soups, and sauces./AgroWeb.org