Medically Reviewed by Christine Mikstas, RD, LD on August 15, 2022
2 min read

Arugula, also known as Eruca vesicaria, is a cruciferous vegetable, a cousin of broccoli, kale, and cabbage. The leaves have a peppery, spicy flavor that grows more bitter with age. You can also eat the seeds whole or pressed in an oil.

A version of this veggie called "wild arugula" tends to be more pungent. Another variety you might see in the supermarket is "baby arugula." That's just a plant that farmers harvest early.

No matter the type you get, these greens pack a nutritious punch.

Raw arugula is your healthiest option. One hundred grams of arugula has:

  • Fat: 0.7 grams
  • Carbs: 3.7 grams
  • Sodium: 27 milligrams
  • Protein: 2.6 grams

Other vitamins and minerals include:

Arugula is full of antioxidants -- compounds that can protect against or reverse damage to your cells.

Arugula also has glucosinolates. These natural substances, which give arugula its bitter taste and strong scent, may protect you against certain cancers, including breastprostatelung, and colon cancers. Arugula may also fight inflammation. It has ample vitamin K, which is good for your bones and may help prevent osteoporosis.  

There's little to suggest arugula is bad for you. But if you take medicine known as blood thinners, too much vitamin K could undo their effects. That's because vitamin K is important to the blood-clotting process.

You can use arugula just like you would other leafy greens, especially when you want a spicy bite: Try it:

  • As a pizza or baked potato topping
  • In pasta
  • In salads
  • In soups and sauces
  • Instead of lettuce in sandwiches
  • In omelets or smoothies