By: Nutrition Expert- Vidula Kozarekar, Mumbai.
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Annual species of rocket (Eruca sativa) is part of the mustard (Brassicaceae) family. Eruca sativa is commonly used in folk medications and is well known as a cure for renal illness. It contains glucosides, mineral salts and vitamin C and is in this manner thought to be a magnificent stomachic, stimulant, and hence utilized as a diuretic and antiscorbutic. Furthermore, it also showed anti-secretory, cytoprotective anti-cancer, anti-diabetic and anti-inflammatory activities (1).
Rocket leaves have unique taste and flavour; which can be hot, peppery, bitter, and sweet depending upon the genotype and phytochemical composition. Leaves are commonly consumed raw in salads (2).
- Prevents Cancer
Epidemiological data have demonstrated that dietary cruciferous vegetables such as cabbage, cauliflower, kale, arugula, wild rocket and broccoli contain cancer preventive and anti-cancer activities. Isothiocyanates such as sulforaphane and erucin may be responsible for these actions (3), (4).
- Improves Cardiovascular Health
Dietary antioxidants, such as water-soluble vitamin C and phenolic compounds, as well as lipid-soluble vitamin E and carotenoids, present in vegetables contribute both to the first and second defence lines against oxidative stress. As a result, they protect cells against oxidative damage, and may therefore prevent chronic diseases, such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes (5).
- Effective in Diabetes control
Arugula contain an antioxidant known as alpha-lipoic acid which has been shown to lower glucose levels, increase insulin sensitivity, and prevent oxidative stress-induced changes in patients with diabetes. Studies on alpha-lipoic acid have also shown reductions in peripheral and autonomic nerve damage in diabetics (6), (7).
Nutritional Content: (8)
- Arugula contains 160 mg of calcium. Calcium normally helps bone health, tooth health, muscle function and nervous function, it is also necessary for blood to clot.
- Potassium, a mineral and a heart and nerve function vital electrolyte. Arugula contains 369 mg of Potassium. It also normally helps the muscles contract. Potassium helps to reduce the negative effects of sodium, and it may be beneficial for people with high blood pressure for this reason.
- Folate, is a B vitamin. It helps in production of DNA and other genetic material. It is mainly important for pregnant women and for those who is planning to become pregnant. Folate deficiency in pregnant women may lead to spina bifida, a neural tube defect.
- Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant, which helps in, develop strong immune system. It is also known as ascorbic acid and important for tissue health and the absorption of iron from food.
- Vitamin A, the umbrella term for a group of fat-soluble retinoids. Vitamin A is a powerful antioxidant, which supports immune function, cell growth, night vision, and overall eye health. It also works to help maintain kidney, lung, and heart function. Arugula contains high amount of Vitamin A.
How to use Arugula or Rocket Leaves?
Rocket or arugula is often just thought of as a salad leaf, but you can do much more with it. You can top pizza with it, make pesto or hummus and add it to pasta, soups and stews.