English settlers brought arugula to the Americas in the 17th century. Originally from the Mediterranean, the green, leafy vegetable grows around the world today.
Arugula is a cousin of radish, kale, and cabbage. The leaves have a peppery, spicy flavor that grow 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.
Nutrients per Serving
Raw arugula is your healthiest option. One hundred grams of arugula has:
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 breast, prostate, lung, and colon cancers.
The ample vitamin K in arugula is good for both your bones and your brain.
Are There Any Risks?
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.
Preparation and Storage
In the kitchen, you can put arugula on top of your pizza or use it to complement your favorite pasta. You can mix arugula with other leafy greens in a salad or chop it up and use in a sauce or soup. You can substitute arugula for lettuce in a sandwich or use it in a homemade pesto.