Arugula: Important Facts, Health Benefits, and Recipes

Explore the health benefits, history, and culinary uses of arugula, a nutritious leafy green, and learn how to incorporate it into your diet for a healthier lifestyle.

What is Arugula?

Arugula, also known as rocket or rucola, is a leafy green vegetable belonging to the Brassicaceae family. Originating from the Mediterranean region, arugula is known for its peppery, slightly bitter taste and is commonly used in salads, sandwiches, and pasta dishes. It is often paired with other ingredients to balance its bold flavor, such as sweet fruits, tangy cheeses, and rich nuts.

Is Arugula Healthy?

Arugula is indeed a healthy choice, boasting a low-calorie count and an impressive nutritional profile. It is packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, which contribute to its numerous health benefits. Including arugula in your diet can help support overall wellness and may even help prevent certain diseases.

7 Health Benefits of Arugula

  1. Rich in antioxidants: Arugula contains high levels of antioxidants, which help protect the body from oxidative stress and reduce inflammation.
  2. Supports heart health: The potassium and magnesium found in arugula may help lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of heart disease.
  3. Promotes healthy digestion: As a good source of fiber, arugula aids in digestion and helps maintain a healthy gut.
  4. Boosts immunity: The high vitamin C content in arugula supports a robust immune system.
  5. Aids in weight management: Low in calories and high in nutrients, arugula is an excellent addition to any weight management plan.
  6. Supports bone health: Arugula is a good source of calcium and vitamin K, both essential for maintaining strong bones.
  7. Promotes healthy skin and eyes: The vitamin A and beta-carotene in arugula contribute to healthy skin and good vision.

History and Background of Arugula

Arugula has been cultivated and consumed since ancient times, with records dating back to the Roman Empire. It was believed to have aphrodisiac properties and was often associated with fertility rituals. In the Middle Ages, arugula was grown in monasteries and used for medicinal purposes. Today, it is a popular ingredient in many cuisines around the world, particularly in Italian, French, and Middle Eastern dishes.

What is the Best Way to Store Arugula?

To keep arugula fresh and crisp, store it in the refrigerator, unwashed, in a plastic bag with a paper towel to absorb excess moisture. It is best used within a few days of purchase.

What are the Different Types of Arugula?

There are several varieties of arugula, including wild arugula, which has smaller leaves and a more intense flavor, and cultivated arugula, which is milder and more commonly found in grocery stores.

What is the Best Substitute for Arugula if I Don't Have Any?

If you don't have arugula, suitable substitutes include watercress, baby spinach, or mustard greens, depending on the desired flavor and texture.

What Cuisines Use Arugula?

Arugula is commonly found in Italian, French, Mediterranean, and Middle Eastern cuisines.

What are the Nutritional Benefits of Arugula?

Arugula is low in calories and high in essential nutrients, including vitamins A, C, and K, calcium, potassium, magnesium, and antioxidants.

Can Arugula be Used in Cooked Dishes?

Yes, arugula can be used in cooked dishes, such as pasta, risotto, or sautéed as a side dish. However, its delicate leaves can wilt quickly when exposed to heat, so it's best to add it towards the end of cooking.

What is the Difference Between Arugula and Spinach?

While both arugula and spinach are leafy greens, they have different flavors and textures. Arugula has a peppery, slightly bitter taste, while spinach is milder and slightly sweet. Arugula has a thinner, more delicate texture, while spinach is thicker and more robust. Both are highly nutritious and can be used interchangeably in many recipes, depending on personal preference.

Is Arugula and Rocket The Same Thing?

Yes, arugula and rocket are indeed the same thing. Arugula is commonly referred to as rocket in some parts of the world, particularly in Australia and Europe, including the United Kingdom. Generally speaking, term "rocket" is more commonly used in British English, while "arugula" is the more widely recognized term in American English.

Nutritional Facts
0.5 cup
Amount per serving
0.4 g
0.1 g
0.3 g
Saturated Fat
0 g
2.7 mg
0.2 g
0.2 g

Best Arugula Recipes