Arugula or Eruca sativa is a leafy green native to the Mediterranean region.
The Cruciferous vegetable belongs to the Brassica family along with other greens such as Brussels sprouts, kale, cauliflower, and broccoli. 
The tender and bite-sized arugula leaves have a distinctive peppery or tangy taste. Arugula is eaten raw or cooked. It is also known as salad rocket, Italian cress, rucola, etc.
The history of Arugula as food and medicine goes back thousands of years. The leafy green is mentioned in the Bible and Jewish- Talmud and Mishna. The ancient Egyptians and Romans used arugula as a natural aphrodisiac. They claimed that the energizing vegetable is potent to sexually excite even a drowsy man.
Arugula is an important herb in folk medicinal practices of Mediterranean region—Syria, Lebanon, Turkey. In Chinese medicine arugula seeds and leaves are remedies for phlegm, skin dryness, infections, liver problems, digestive disorders, etc.
Recent clinical researches have investigated the nutritional benefits of arugula and the therapeutic efficacy of its phytoconstituents. 
There is evidence that arugula may be effective in preventing the risk of diabetes, cancer, neurodegenerative disorders, obesity, heart diseases, etc. Moreover, the nutritious veggie may improve the health of your skin, boost energy and performance.
In this article, we will review some evidence-based arugula health benefits, plus its key nutritional facts and potential side effects.
Arugula Nutritional Facts
Arugula is a good source of vitamin K, vitamin A, and vitamin C. It also contains essential nutrients such as calories, protein, calcium, folate, fiber, fat, and carbohydrates. The green vegetable is full of mineral contents including phosphorus, iron, magnesium, choline, and potassium. 
Potential Health Benefits of Arugula
1. Arugula May Prevent the Risk of Cancer.
In recent times a number of scientific research have investigated into the anti-cancer effects of cruciferous vegetables such as arugula. 
In a 2014 study, researchers suggest the Isothiocyanates contents including sulforaphane and erucin in arugula may have preventive actions against many types of cancer. 
According to a 2011 clinical study published in the journal Fitoterapia, the phytochemicals in arugula leaves, root, and seed oil was effective in reducing skin cancerous cell growth. 
The study was conducted among rats and arugula significantly reduced the growth of skin cancer without any side effects.
2. Arugula May Fight the Growth of MRSA.
MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) is a bacterial disease. the condition can lead to serious health problems such as bloodstream infections, pneumonia, and sepsis. People with a poor immune defense and working in healthcare centers or hospitals are prone to MRSA infection. processed food industries are also at the risk of MRSA contamination in the food.
More clinical research is needed to confirm the efficacy of using arugula in treating antibiotic-resistant MRSA.
3. Arugula Can Treat Neuroinflammation.
Neuroinflammation are responsible for progressive death or degeneration of vital nerve cells. Some of the serious neurodegenerative diseases include Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, Parkinson disease, prion diseases, Huntington disease, etc.
A 2018 research study reported in the journal Molecular Medicine Reports suggests the potent neuroprotective effects of Eruca sativa extracts. 
The researchers confirm that the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities of the flavonoids in arugula can prevent the risk of developing various neurodegenerative disorders. [10, 11]
4. Arugula May Treat Ulcer.
Gastric ulcer is a common stomach problem that affects millions of people worldwide. The condition is associated with painful and open sores in the lining of the stomach wall.
A 2009 clinical report in the World Journal of Gastroenterology experimented the anti-ulcer activities of Rocket salad or Eruca sativa in rats. 
In the trial, the antioxidants in rocket extract or arugula showed potent cytoprotective, anti-ulcer, and anti-secretory in gastric lesions of the experimental rats. 
The researchers conclude that arugula can be an effective salad herb in preventing and treating gastric ulcer sores.
5. Arugula Can Manage Diabetes.
Numerous clinical studies confirm the efficacy of rocket salad extracts in lowering high blood sugar level and other anti-diabetic effects in humans.
A 2016 in vitro study published in the Natural Product Research journal investigates the potential use of arugula in reducing glycaemia or blood sugar in diabetic rabbits. The 28 days study showed a significant reduction of the high blood sugar level in the rabbits. 
6. Rocket Salad Can Boost Athletic Performance.
A lot of clinical reports strongly suggest the beneficial effects of dietary nitrate in improving resistance and endurance exercise performance. [15, 17]
Arugula is a rich source of dietary nitrate.  Dietary nitrate supplementation in the form of green leafy vegetables such as arugula can boost your endurance, performance and energy. 
7. Arugula Can Prevent Osteoporosis and Improve Bone Health.
Vitamin K deficiency is related to weak bone health and conditions such as bone fracture, osteoporosis, etc.
Nutritionists suggest that vitamin K supplement in your diet through vegetables such as arugula can prevent calcium loss, improving calcium absorption, and bone matrix protein. 
Arugula Side Effects and Risk Factors
Vitamin K is a blood clotting agent. If you are in prescription blood thinning medication e.g. Coumadin (warfarin), consult a doctor before incorporating vitamin K rich arugula to your diet.
Arugula contains a good amount of dietary nitrate. Poor storing of arugula may contaminate the nitrate content of the vegetable into harmful nitrite. The toxic element may be dangerous for health.
a high-nitrate diet isn’t good for heart health as well. If you have heart diseases and are under prescription drugs, consult a doctor before consuming arugula.
Arugula is a superfood and nutritional powerhouse. As a cruciferous vegetable, it is a rich source of essential nutrients- vitamins, minerals, dietary fiber, and numerous therapeutic phytoconstituents.
Dietary supplement of the leafy green can prevent the risk of many serious diseases such as cancer, diabetes, osteoporosis, MRSA, ulcer, and neuroinflammatory disorders.
You can easily incorporate a handful of arugula in your salad, soup, wrap, sandwich, fresh smoothie, and juices.
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