Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Debunking Those Arugula Myths

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Debunking Those Arugula Myths

Article excerpt

Byline: Nancy Correa-Matos

Known as the "rocket salad," arugula is widely used in Italian cuisine. This green leaf is rich in antioxidants, vitamins and fiber. Nancy Correa-Matos, registered dietitian and a member of the faculty in the Department of Nutrition and Dietetics Flagship Program at the University of North Florida, discusses arugula, a heart-healthy, cancer-fighting source of vitamins and minerals that is low in calories, fat and is cholesterol free.

Myth: Arugula is unknown in the United States.

Fact: Although arugula is widely used in Italian food, it has been in the United States since the '90s and has been added to beds of green salads and many Italian dishes we consume. Most people will recognize the use of arugula by its other names: rocket, rucola or roquette. It's sold all year long in any grocery store.

Myth: Arugula leaves are not nutritious.

Fact: Arugula leaves contain high amounts of fiber, zinc, copper, magnesium, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, folate, iron, potassium and magnesium. Arugula leaves are also good sources of several phytochemicals that provide health benefits, such as immune and cancer protection. Arugula also provides health benefits, enhancing the immune system as potential antiviral and antibacterial. Its fiber content and anti-inflammatory properties can reduce cardiovascular diseases and promote weight control. Because of its high content of folate, it's recommended for women in their child-bearing ages to prevent infant neural-tube defects. They are also low in calories; four cups of arugula contains 20 calories and less than 1 gram of fat.

Myth: Arugula leaves are spicy.

Fact: Only the mature long greens leaves are spicy. The young tender leaves are sweet and have a nutty taste and are preferred for salads. A combination of both the young and mature leaves provides a tasty flavor to salads. The seeds are also used in flavoring oils.

Myth: There is no evidence of Arugula's health benefits.

Fact: Arugula, also known as Eruca sativa, belongs to the Brassica family of plants, as well as broccoli and cauliflower. Research has shown that some sulfur compounds in arugula play an important role in the prevention and treatment of certain cancers, such as prostate, colon, cervical and breast cancer. …

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