Nutritional Information for Arugula

“Arugula. It’s a veg-e-tab-le.” – Steve Martin in My Blue Heaven. If you have not seen that movie, no problem! Just know that arugula is a spicy kind of leafy green vegetable and part of the commonly known “cruciferous” vegetable family. This vegetable family contains special types of antioxidants and compounds known to boost DNA repair systems and limit free radical damage. Glucosinolates are types of compounds found in cruciferous vegetables and when eaten release cancer-protective structures called isothiocyanates (sulphoraphane) and indoles.

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Benefits of Arugula

Cancer Prevention Benefits

There are only 3 studies to date on Arugula and cancer, specifically, and none of them are human trials. The two cell studies that are of some value have looked at one of the compounds in arugula, Erucin, and found that it has the ability to help fight breast cancer cell growth and spread. The other study looked at lung cancer cells and the same conclusion was found – Erucin was able to affect cancer cell growth. In human trials, when grouping cruciferous veggies together, some studies have shown men eating the most cruciferous vegetables (> 72 grams, which if eating just arugula would be over 3 cups) had 39% less odds of getting prostate cancer. In this study many different types of cruciferous veggies were eaten and the best advice for meeting that > 72 gram mark is choosing a wide variety of arugula, kale, chard, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, Brussel sprouts, bok choy and mustard greens. 

Men's Health Benefits

Arugula is one of those vegetables super high in nitrites! These natural compounds have the ability to produce nitric oxide after eaten, which helps boost blood flow and reduce the risk of high blood pressure and heart disease. Researchers conclude that eating more nitrite-rich veggies like arugula is a low cost method for helping to treat heart disease.

Ways to Use Arugula

+ Toss into Salads.

+ Add veggie and hummus sandwiches.

+ Use in pasta salads.

+ Sauté with other vegetables.

Resources for Arugula

“Foods that Fight Cancer” from AICR: Dark Green Leafy Vegetables

Nutrition Facts:

Physicians Committee:

USDA Nutrient Database: Arugula

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  7. Azarenko O, Jordan MA, Wilson L. Erucin, the major isothiocyanate in arugula (Eruca sativa), inhibits proliferation of MCF7 tumor cells by suppressing microtubule dynamics. PLoS One. 2014;9(6):e100599.
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