All for arugula
Even without these yesteryear uses, the quietly fancy arugula can still offer many nutritional benefits, says dietitian Meenakshi Bajaj
Did you know that your favourite ‘green’ addition to your salad once held the position of an aphrodisiac? Besides this taste of exoticity, this cousin of kale, cabbage and broccoli was famously known for its medicinal properties too. Even without these yesteryear uses, the quietly fancy arugula can still offer many nutritional benefits, says dietitian Meenakshi Bajaj.
This Mediterranean herb is quite versatile and lends itself to many dishes. “It is known for its signature peppery taste; when it’s cooked, it mellows down a bit,” she shares. When the leaves are plucked, they should be bright green in colour (not yellow) and uniform. She advises that you rinse the leaves thoroughly and remove the roots before using them. She also cautions against freezing the leaves; using it in one go (instead of storing it in the fridge for long) could get you the most of its benefits.
It is rich in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, says Meenakshi. “The phytonutrients in arugula help decrease inflammation. Its consumption reduces the risk of certain cancers. It is low in calories, improves satiety, helps in weight loss, prevents metabolic diseases, and supports immunity,” she explains.
It prevents excessive bleeding and helps in blood clotting. People on blood thinners (post Covid complications or as part of a treatment protocol) should avoid arugula so as not to reverse the effects of the blood thinners.
It’s a powerful antioxidant and immunonutrient. And it helps in eye health and night vision, apart from a host of other benefits.
This immunonutrient and antioxidant helps prevent anaemia, and bleeding and swollen gums. But you need to consume arugula in its raw form to get the vitamin C in it, she points out.
It reduces the risk of a stroke.
It improves blood pressure; it is important to support nerve and heart function. Patients on diuretic therapy should avoid arugula to not counter the treatment.
Its rich calcium content helps reduce the risk of osteoporosis. It helps decrease the risk of cancer because of the presence of glucosinolate — a cancer-preventing property. Its folate and fibre content helps reduce heart diseases. It is a rich source of creatine, which improves muscle mass and regulates metabolism.
Apart from these plentiful benefits, it’s interesting to note that all parts of arugula are edible, notes Meenakshi. You can easily include it in your everyday diet through a zesty pesto sauce, as toppings on whole-wheat pizza (for it matters that the rest of the meal is healthy too), soups and salads, she concludes.