By: Leanne Ely
Looking to shake things up on your salad plate? The next time you’re at the market, pick up a bunch of arugula, also known as “Italian Cress.” Or, if you’re in the UK, you might find it labeled, “Rocket Salad.”
Arugula is a nice change from your regular greens because its leaves have a slight peppery bite to them. Wonderful eaten raw or cooked, arugula is tasty and full of nutrition.
This salad green is a member of the cruciferous family of vegetables, putting it very high on the nutrition charts. And since it’s lower in oxalates than other leafy greens like collards and spinach, arugula is a good choice for people trying to reduce oxalates in their diet. (Oxalates are compounds in some foods that can inhibit your body’s absorption of calcium.)
Arugula is high in vitamins A, B, C and K, and it also contains zinc, magnesium and calcium. Arugula is also a good source of carotenoids, which may help prevent diseases such as cancer and macular degeneration.
I recommend that you buy organic arugula and eat it regularly and cooked and raw, both. Your body will make better use of some of arugula’s nutrition when eaten raw and others when cooked. So, it’s a good idea to switch things up from time to time!
And whether you eat your arugula cooked or raw, add some olive oil or butter to it. Some of the compounds in arugula are best absorbed when taken with fat.
Random tip: Larger arugula leaves tend to be more peppery than the smaller leaves, so you might want to save those for cooking and use the milder leaves for raw salads.