Arugula is a popular fresh salad vegetable with a distinct peppery, bitter and nutty flavor. Once collected in the wild or grown in home gardens together with other cooking herbs, Arugula is now grown commercially in different parts of the globe and widely available by itself or part of premixed salad greens.
Although its popularity in America rose only in recent decades, this delicious summer green has long been part of many Mediterranean traditional dishes. Accounts of ancient history also relate that the Romans ate Arugula for good luck. Arugula was also a common ingredient of various aphrodisiac potions throughout history.
Also known as salad rocket or simply rocket in British, Australia, Canadian, South African and New Zealand English , Arugula is a member of the brassicaceae family of vegetables, and, like the other vegetables from this vegetable family, Arugula abounds in health giving nutrients.
Bright or dark green and pinnately lobed, Arugula leaves resemble dandelion leaves. Smaller and younger Arugula leaves are tender and with a milder flavor, making them perfect for salads while the larger and mature Arugula leaves have a stronger and full flavor that make them great for cooking.
Native to the Mediterranean region, Arugula is a relative of kale, mustard greens, broccoli and cabbage. This spring to summer vegetable was traditionally considered as a cabbage substitute. Nowadays Arugula is becoming a popular ingredients in many nutritional supplements, blends and other health products.
Nutrients and Applications
Arugula is a rich source of key nutrients like folic acid that helps support a healthy nervous system. This zesty salad green contains essential vitamins A and C, and is likewise a great source of vitamin K that contributes positively to bone and brain health.
A good source of dietary fiber, Arugula provides good levels of vital minerals including calcium, potassium, magnesium, copper, zinc, phosphorous, manganese, and iron.
Like other cruciferous vegetables Arugula contains important phytochemicals such as indole-3-carbinol, sulforaphanes and glucosinolates that helps the body remove some toxins, promote healthy cell growth and maintain good heart health. Arugula also contains lutein and zeaxanthin that have been proven to help assist good eyesight.