Arugula is a health superstar, boasting an impressive roster of nutritional benefits that come at a small caloric price – meaning you can munch on the peppery green without worrying about your waistline.
As one of the most nutritionally-dense foods you can eat, arugula has health benefits that pack a big punch. Vitamins A, K, and C can all be found in the peppery green leaves. These vitamins, along with the calcium and magnesium also found in arugula, help to build healthy bones and control blood pressure. The leafy powerhouse also contains disease-fighting carotenes, such as beta-carotene and lutein, which help reduce the risk of macular degeneration and cataracts.
Arugula is a member of the cruciferous family of vegetables, containing many of the same cancer fighting qualities as broccoli, watercress, and cabbage. These include natural phytochemicals, called indoles, which may help to reduce the risk of breast and prostate cancer. Additionally, the carotenoids found in green, leafy vegetables such as arugula may lower the risk of certain types of cancer, particularly prostate cancer.
As for arugula’s nutrition, it scored incredibly well on the Aggregate Nutrient Density Index (ANDI). This index assigns a score to a variety of foods based on how many nutrients they deliver to your body in each calorie consumed. Since nutritional labels don't always give you the information necessary to understand exactly what you are eating, these rankings do the equation for you and give you a sense of what foods yield the highest nutritional outcome. Dr. Joel Fuhrman, author of Eat for Health, believes that getting the most nutrients in the fewest calories possible is the recipe for disease prevention and reversal and for permanent weight loss.
According to the ANDI, arugula is in the top ten most nutrient-dense foods, meaning that the long list of arugula’s nutritional benefits come at a small caloric price – a cup of the leafy green is only four calories. Low in fat and a great source of protein, fiber, and iron, arugula puts the pro in produce with big flavor and even bigger health benefits.