Arugula has a particular slightly bitter taste and many healthy and therapeutic characteristics: it helps digestion, purifies the body and helps to prevent tumors. It is also considered an aphrodisiac herb. Let's discover all the characteristics of the arugula (rocket)!
Arugula is a herbaceous plant with a particular spicy flavor and strong digestive and therapeutic characteristics. From a nutritional point of view, it is rich in fibers and mineral salts: magnesium, calcium, potassium, and iron. The rocket also contains a good amount of vitamin A, B vitamins (B6 and B9-folic acid), vitamin C and vitamin K. The rocket has purifying and draining characteristics because it frees us from toxins and excess fluids, and has toning and digestive characteristics because it helps prevent gastritis, ulcer and liver problems. In addition, beta carotene and sulforaphane are valid elements for cancer prevention. Rocket contains few calories (25 per 100 grams of product) and, taken in the form of herbal tea, has also a calming effect. In the past, it was thought to be an aphrodisiac plant: in ancient Rome it was used to prepare love potions.
The rocket can be wild, or grown; the cultivation is very fast, after 40 days it is already possible to collect it to prepare tasty salads. The wild rocket has a spicier flavor and its leaves are darker and a bit harder. The best time to grow it goes from the beginning of spring until September.
Characteristics and Benefits of Arugula
Protects the stomach and promotes digestion: the rocket stimulates the production of gastric juices encouraging digestion, and as an appetizer it also helps to stimulate the appetite. The protective action of vitamin A makes the rocket salad a panacea in cases of ulcer and gastritis. In addition, the rocket extract can block acidic secretions protecting the gastric mucosa.
Helps the intestine: thanks to its carminative characteristics, rocket prevents the formation of gas in the intestine. Furthermore, it performs a laxative action also thanks to the presence of fibers, thus helping in case of constipation.
Has antitumor characteristics: among the therapeutic characteristics, rocket plays an antitumor role: beta carotene contained in rocket helps prevent bladder, prostate, stomach and colon cancers as it fights carcinogens. Also the presence of sulforaphane is important as it inhibits the development of cancer cells. In addition, the rocket contains glucosinolates, substances that help the body to defend itself from the attack of viruses and bacteria.
Arugula is draining and purifying: the diuretic characteristics of rocket help eliminate toxins and excess fluids by especially purifying an important organ such as the liver. The rocket contains isothiocyanates that stimulate the production of liver enzymes helping the liver to eliminate toxins, even those with a pro-tumor action.
Stimulates the metabolism and fights anemia: the vitamin B contained in the rocket intervenes in many processes that stimulate the metabolism: it increases the production of red blood cells and energy, and participates in the synthesis of fats. The high iron content makes this herb suitable for people suffering from anemia.
Helps to lose weight: rocket is a herb that contains few calories, about 25 per 100 grams, and is therefore suitable for a low-calorie diet. We have also seen that rocket stimulates metabolism and, thanks to its draining characteristics, it helps to deflate the stomach freeing us from excess liquids.
Rocket is reinvigorating and useful for the bones: the good amount of vitamin C helps to strengthen the immune system, which makes rocket an ideal food to fight flu and seasonal illnesses, as well as making the body more resistant to allergies. On the other hand, together with folic acid, vitamin K helps to remineralise the bones, making them stronger and thus preventing osteoporosis.
Fights insomnia and protects the skin: taken as an infusion, rocket has relaxing characteristics that promote rest, helping to fight insomnia. On the other hand, vitamin A helps to protect the skin and, thanks to the antioxidant power of vitamin C, rocket also fights premature aging, opposing the harmful effects of free radicals.
Rocket is a natural aphrodisiac: it seems that the aphrodisiac characteristics of rocket, already recognized by the ancient Romans, have been confirmed by a research carried out by the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences of the University of Milan and the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences of the University of Bologna: rocket has been recognized as an effective food in the inhibition of an enzyme that causes erection problems in men.
Among the therapeutic characteristics, rocket also helps to lower high blood pressure thus protecting the heart and the cardiovascular system. Vitamin A helps protect eyesight, and calcium protects bones and also helps to maintain healthy teeth. The rocket also contains a good percentage of folic acid, which makes it a suitable food for pregnant women.
How to Eat Arugula
Arugula is eaten mainly raw as a salad, alone or combined with other types of salad: radicchio, chicory, but also radishes and cherry tomatoes, also with the addition of Parmesan cheese flakes. As a seasoning it is preferable to use a bit of extra-virgin olive oil, but also balsamic vinegar or lemon juice. Rocket is also used slightly cooked for the preparation of some dishes: pasta with cherry tomatoes and rocket, risotto with rocket and shrimps.
With rocket you can also prepare a precious infusion with diuretic and purifying characteristics useful in case of water retention: boil for 10 minutes 5 grams of leaves in 150ml of water, then filter. The infusion can be used to treat sore throats and hoarseness.
The rocket should be eaten fresh, but if you want to keep it in the refrigerator you have to wash it, let it dry and then put it in a small perforated bag of paper. Then, it must be consumed within 4 or 5 days.
Arugula has no particular contraindications, but it is not recommended for allergy sufferers and those who take anticoagulants because vitamin K interferes with this type of medicines.
Why consume a lot of rocket is not good? Excessive consumption of rocket could lead to the production of metabolites that can trigger irritating effects on our body. It is therefore advised not to consume more than two handfuls of rocket per day.
The presence of isothiocyanates can inhibit thyroid functions by limiting iodine absorption. In these cases, it is suggested to avoid prolonged consumption of rocket.