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Arugula nutrition facts

Arugula, also known as salad or garden rocket, is a nutritious leafy green vegetable of Mediterranean origin. It belongs to the brassicaceae family like mustard greens, cauliflower, kale ... etc and has scientific name Eruca sativa.

Salad rocket is a low growing annual herb features dandelion like succulent, elongated, lobular leaves with green veins. Young plant features plain light green color leaves, which appear identical to that of spinach. Young, tender leaves feature sweet, nutty, flavor with less peppery taste than strong spicy flavored mature greens.

Arugula is a quick growing, cool season crop. It prefers well-drained, fertile soil and full sun to flourish. In general, arugula grows to about 2-3 feet in height with creamy white color edible flowers. Its leaves are ready to harvest within 40 days of sowing the seed.

Health benefits of Arugula

  • As in other greens, arugula is one of very low calorie vegetable. 100 g of fresh leaves provides just 25 calories. Nonetheless, it has many vital phytochemicals, anti-oxidants, vitamins, and minerals that can immensely benefit health.

  • Rocket salad is rich source of certain phytochemicals such as indoles, thiocyanates, sulforaphane and iso­thiocyanates. Together they have been found to counter carcinogenic effects of estrogen and thus help benefit against prostate, breast, cervical, colon, ovarian cancers by virtue of their cancer cell growth inhibition, cytotoxic effects on cancer cells.

  • In addition, di-indolyl-methane (DIM), a lipid soluble metabolite of indole has immune modulator, anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties ( by potentiating Interferon-Gamma receptors and production). DIM has currently been found application in the treatment of recurring respiratory papillomatosis caused by the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) and is in Phase III clinical trials for cervical dysplasia.

  • Rocket is very good source of folates. 100 g of fresh greens contain 97 mcg or 24% of folic acid. When given around conception period it helps prevent neural tube defects in the newborns.

  • Like kale, salad rocket is an excellent source of vitamin A. 100 g fresh leaves contain 1424 mcg of beta carotene and 2373 IU of vitamin A. Beta carotenes converts into vitamin A in the body. Studies found that vitamin A and flavonoid compounds in in green leafy vegetables help protect from skin, lung and oral cavity cancers.

  • This vegetable also rich in B-complex group of vitamins such as thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B-6 (pyridoxine), and pantothenic acid those are essential for optimum cellular enzymatic and metabolic functions.

  • Fresh rocket leaves contain good levels of vitamin C. Vitamin C is a powerful, natural anti-oxidant. Foods rich in vitamin C helps body protect from scurvy disease; develop resistance against infectious agents (boosts immunity) and scavenge harmful, pro-inflammatory free radicals from the body.

  • Salad rocket is one of the excellent vegetable sources for vitamin-K; 100 g provides about 90% of recommended intake. Vitamin K has potential role bone health by promoting osteotrophic (bone formation and strengthening) activity. Adequate vitamin-K levels in the diet helps limiting neuronal damage in the brain; thus, has established role in the treatment of patients suffering from Alzheimer's disease.

  • Arugula is good in minerals especially copper and iron. In addition, it has small amounts of some other essential minerals and electrolytes such as calcium, iron, potassium, manganese, and phosphorus.

    See the table below for in depth analysis of nutrients:

    Arugula (Eruca sativa), raw,
    Nutrition value per 100 g.
    ORAC value 1904
    (Source: USDA National Nutrient data base)
    Principle Nutrient Value Percentage of RDA
    Energy 25 Kcal 1%
    Carbohydrates 3.65 g 3%
    Protein 2.58 g 5%
    Total Fat 0.66 g 3%
    Cholesterol 0 mg 0%
    Dietary Fiber 1.6 g 4%

    Folates 97 mcg 24%
    Niacin 0.305 mg 2%
    Pantothenic acid 0.437 mg 8%
    Pyridoxine 0.073 mg 6%
    Riboflavin 0.086 mg 7%
    Thiamin 0.044 mg 4%
    Vitamin C 15 mg 25%
    Vitamin A 2373 IU 79%
    Vitamin E 0.43 mg 3%
    Vitamin K 108.6 mcg 90%

    Sodium 27 mg 2%
    Potassium 369 mg 7.5%

    Calcium 160 mg 16%
    Copper 0.076 mg 8%
    Iron 1.46 mg 18%
    Magnesium 47 mg 12%
    Manganese 0.321 mg 14%
    Phosphorus 52 mg 7.5%
    Selenium 0.3 mcg <1%
    Zinc 0.47 mg 5%

    Carotene-ß 1424 mcg
    Carotene-? 0 mcg
    Lutein-zeaxanthin 3555 mcg

Selection and storage

Fresh arugula is available in the markets all around the year. While buying, look for crispy green color young leaves. Avoid flowered harvest, as its leaves are tough and bitter in taste. Discard any bruised, slump leaves and stems before storage.

Store the herb as you do for other greens like spinach, purslane, kale, ...  etc. Place it in the vegetable compartment of the refrigerator set at high relative humidity.

Preparation and serving methods

Field grown arugula may is often sold in the local markets with root attached. Cut open the bushel and trim the lower stems. Discard yellow, wilted, bruised leaves. Place the leaves in a large bowl of cold water and swish thoroughly as you do it in cases of other greens like spinach in order to remove sand, soil, dirt…etc. Then drain the water, gently pat dry using moisture absorbent cloth before use in cooking.

Here are some serving tips:

  • Young tender rocket leaves are favored in salads, sandwiches, and burgers.

  • Fresh greens are used in soups, stews, juices, and cooked as vegetable.

  • Prepare Italian style arugula pasta with added goat cheese.
  • Enjoy garlic toasts dipped in leek-arugula vichyssoise.

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