Arugula: Why You Should Make This Calcium-Rich Super Green Your Salad Go-To

Depending on where you live, you might call a certain leafy green by a different name: rocket, roquette, rugola, or arugula. But no matter what you say, one thing’s for sure: the spicy little green is a dietary superstar—and not just because it makes your salad seem extra fancy. As it turns out, it has a ton of beneficial health properties. It’s full of antioxidants, vitamins, fiber, and minerals; it might even help fight cancer, balance blood sugar, and help regulate blood pressure. And, you don’t need to eat a ton to get the benefits: just one cup of arugula contains 27.7 percent of the body’s daily recommended value of vitamin K, 10 percent of the body’s daily vitamin A needs, 25 percent of its vitamin K needs. One cup also contains 4 percent of our daily needs of vitamin C, folate, and calcium.

With all these great benefits, you might just want to make arugula part of your daily diet—that is, if you haven’t already.

Rocket to health

Arugula might be sold next to the romaine and mesclun at the grocery store, but the peppery-tasting herb is actually part of the cruciferous vegetable family, which includes broccoli, cauliflower, and kale. And, here’s another fun-fact with which you can use to delight your next dinner party guests: Arugula is native the Mediterranean, and has been cultivated since (at least) the days of the Roman Empire when it was cherished it for its digestive and diuretic properties and believed it to be an aphrodisiac. More recently, arugula became popular in the United States only within the last couple of decades; you might recall that, back in 2007, then-presidential candidate Barack Obama was labeled an “elitist” for discussing the price of it during the debate.

Of course, we now know that those ancient Romans and Mr. Obama were right to sing the praises of the plant—at least when it comes to its health benefits. Arugula is low in calories, rich in fiber, and full of iron, calcium, potassium, zinc, phosphorus, and vitamins C and K.

The beauty of arugula

Arugula is high in vitamins, particularly vitamin C, which is well-known for its antioxidant and immune-strengthening properties, and also helps our bodies absorb other important nutrients. “Taking vitamin C along with an iron supplement will enhance iron absorption,” explains Dr. Nayan Patel, founder of Auro Wellness. Of course, vitamin C is also essential for building collagen, which helps skin stay firm, glowy, and wrinkle-free.

The skin-boosting benefits of the vitamins found in arugula don’t end at vitamin C, either; it’s also high in vitamins A, K, and folate—all of which help in the regeneration and repair of skin. “Supplementation of micronutrients is considered to be crucial in the reinforcement of the skin’s barrier,” one recent study on the benefits on skin and vitamins found. “Adding them to the diet or daily routine might have a positive influence on some skin inflammatory diseases such as atopic dermatitis or psoriasis. Further, UV radiation protection facilitated by some supplements and their impact on human cells might be helpful during chemotherapy or in preventing melanoma development.”

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