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Arugula (Eruca vesicaria subsp. sativa (Miller) Thell.): A healthy leafy vegetable

  • ICAR Research Complex for Eastern Region Patna Bihar India
  • ICAR - Research Complex for Eastern Region


AGRICULTURE & FOOD: e- Newsletter
ISSN: 2581-8317 Volume 1 Issue 11 November 2019
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Arugula (Eruca vesicaria subsp. sativa (Miller) Thell.): A healthy leafy vegetable
Article id: 22301
Kumari Shubha, Anirban Mukherjee, Manisha Tamta and Tanmay Kumar Koley
ICAR-Research Complex for Eastern Region, Patna
Arugula (Eruca vesicaria subsp. sativa (Miller) Thell.) is a lesser-known cruciferous vegetable which offers
many of the same benefits as other family vegetables such as broccoli, kale, and Brussels sprouts. It is an
annual edible plant in the Brassicaceae family used for its fresh, salty, bitter, tangy and peppery flavor as a
leaf vegetable. Other common names include rockets, rocket salad, Italian cress, rucola, rucoli, rugula,
colewort and roquette in the garden. It is originated in the Mediterranean region.
Health Benefits:
The popularity of Arugula has as much to do with its health benefits as it has with its taste. Consumption of
all kinds of fruits and vegetables has long been related to a reduced risk of many adverse health conditions.
Several studies suggest that increased consumption of plant foods such as rye reduces the risk of obesity,
diabetes, heart disease, and overall mortality while promoting healthy complexion, increased energy, and
overall lower weight. Arugula has high cancer-fighting agents. It contains sulfur-containing compound called
sulforaphane gives cruciferous vegetables both their bitter taste and their cancer-fighting power.
Sulforaphane is now being studied for its ability to impede cancer with promising early results associated
with melanoma, esophageal, prostate, and pancreatic cancers (Kim and Park., 2016).
Researchers have found that sulforaphane can inhibit the enzyme histone deacetylase (HDAC),
known to be involved in the advancement of cancer cells. The ability to stop HDAC enzymes could make
sulforaphane-containing foods a potentially powerful part of cancer treatment in the future. Arugula contain
an antioxidant known as alpha-lipoic acid which has been shown to lower glucose levels,
increase insulin sensitivity, and prevent oxidative stress-induced changes in patients with diabetes (Shay et
al., 2009). Studies on alpha-lipoic acid have also shown reductions in peripheral and autonomic nerve
damage in diabetics. Arugula, like other leafy greens, contains more than 250 milligrams of nitrate per 100
grams (g). It has been shown that high intakes of dietary nitrate lower blood pressure, reduce the amount of
oxygen required during exercise, and improve athletic performance (Lidder and Webb., 2013). There are also
rich calcium sources besides these Arugula, providing 64 mg in two cups. This delicious green is a nutrient-
dense food that is high in fiber and phytochemicals. Arugula is low in sugar, calories, carbohydrates, and fat.
It’s high in several vital nutrients. These include:
Arugula contains 160 mg of calcium. Calcium normally helps bone health, tooth health, muscle function and
nervous function, it is also necessary for blood to clot .
Potassium, a mineral and a heart and nerve function vital electrolyte. Arugula contains 369 mg of Potassium.
It also normally helps the muscles contract. Potassium helps to reduce the negative effects of sodium, and it
may be beneficial for people with high blood pressure for this reason.
Folate, is a B vitamin. It helps helps in production of DNA and other genetic material. It is mainly
important for pregnant women and for those who is planning to become pregnant. Folate deficiency in
pregnant women may lead to spina bifida, a neural tube defect.
Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant, which helps in, develop strong immune system. It is also known
as ascorbic acid and important for tissue health and the absorption of iron from food. Arugula contains 15
mg of calcium
AGRICULTURE & FOOD: e- Newsletter
ISSN: 2581-8317 Volume 1 Issue 11 November 2019
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Vitamin A, the umbrella term for a group of fat-soluble retinoids. Vitamin A is a powerful antioxidant, which
supports immune function, cell growth, night vision, and overall eye health. It also works to help maintain
kidney, lung, and heart function. Arugula contains high amount of Vitamin A.
Table 1: Nutrition content of Arugula 100 gm leaf
Water [g]
Energy [kcal]
Protein [g]
Total lipid (fat) [g]
Carbohydrate, by difference [g]
Sugars, total [g]
Calcium, Ca [mg]
Iron, Fe [mg]
Magnesium, Mg [mg]
Phosphorus, P [mg]
Potassium, K [mg]
Sodium, Na [mg]
Zinc, Zn [mg]
Vitamin C, total ascorbic acid [mg]
Thiamin [mg]
Niacin [mg]
Riboflavin [mg]
Vitamin B-6 [mg]
Folate, DFE [µg]
Vitamin B-12 [µg]
Vitamin A, RAE [µg]
Vitamin A, IU [IU]
Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol) [mg]
Source: USDA,
Plant Biology: It is an annual plant growing to 20100 cm tall. The leaves are deeply pinnately lobed with
four to ten small lateral lobes and a large terminal lobe. The flowers are 24 cm diameter with the
typical crucifer flower structure; the petals are creamy white with purple veins, and the stamens yellow; the
sepals are persistent after the flower opens. The fruit is a typical siliqua (pod) 1225 mm long with an apical
beak, and containing several seeds.
Basic requirements Arugula is best grown in the winter and high temperature trigger flowering and the
leaves become excessively bitter. Arugula grows best in full sun in a rich, well-draining soil with a pH
between 6.0 and 8.0. The plants can tolerate some light shade, particularly in slightly high temperatures.
Planting Arugula is commonly direct seeded and can be planted 1 to 2 weeks before the last frost date.
Seeds can also be started indoors 4-6 weeks prior to the last frost to get a head start on the growing season.
Arugula grows best in cool temperatures but can be damaged by frosts so it is best to provide it with cover if
AGRICULTURE & FOOD: e- Newsletter
ISSN: 2581-8317 Volume 1 Issue 11 November 2019
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a late frost is forecast. Plant seeds by sprinkling on the ground and lightly covering with soil. Keep the soil
moist. The seeds should germinate in 3 to 10 days.
Harvesting Arugula is ready to harvest in about 40 days. Harvest leaves from the outside of the plant by
pinching them off with your fingers or snipping them with a pair of scissors. The centre of the plant should
be left undisturbed to promote new growth.
Growing arugula in container
Because the roots of arugula are relatively shallow, so it can also grow in container. Like most salad greens,
arugula seeds are tiny, so cannot plant them too deep. Following are the steps to grow arugula in container:
1. Fill your garden pot up with potting mix, and then gently flatten it out with hand.
2. Distribute the seeds as uniformly as possible onto the potting mix.
3. Use palm, gently pat the seeds onto the soil.
4. Cover them lightly with potting soil or put a thin layer of seed starting mix over the seeds and gently
patting again.
5. Add water carefully, either using a rose attachment or a gentle spray from the hose. Care should be
taken that water pressure or weight of the water to disturb seeds and drive them too deeply into the
Arugula seedlings are fully grown and ready to harvest in about three to four weeks. The younger the leaves
the more tender and sweet they will be. Once the seedlings are 3 to 4 inches long, plant should be either pull
out or thin out. To continue the growth only top leaves should be cut.
[1]. Kim, J. K., & Park, S. U. (2016). Current potential health benefits of sulforaphane. EXCLI journal, 15, 571-
[2]. Shay, K. P., Moreau, R. F., Smith, E. J., Smith, A. R., & Hagen, T. M. (2009). Alpha-lipoic acid as a dietary
supplement: molecular mechanisms and therapeutic potential. Biochimica et Biophysica Acta (BBA)-
General Subjects, 1790(10), 1149-1160.
[3]. Lidder, S., & Webb, A. J. (2013). Vascular effects of dietary nitrate (as found in green leafy vegetables and
beetroot) via the nitrate‐nitrite‐nitric oxide pathway. British journal of clinical pharmacology, 75(3), 677-
[4]. USDA, 2019, Nutrition content of Arugula
AGRICULTURE & FOOD: e- Newsletter
ISSN: 2581-8317 Volume 1 Issue 11 November 2019
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Fig: Leaves of Arugula (Eruca vesicaria subsp. sativa (Miller) Thell.
ResearchGate has not been able to resolve any citations for this publication.
The discovery that dietary (inorganic) nitrate has important vascular effects came from the relatively recent realization of the nitrate-nitrite-nitric oxide (NO) pathway'. Dietary nitrate has been demonstrated to have a range of beneficial vascular effects, including reducing blood pressure, inhibiting platelet aggregation, preserving or improving endothelial dysfunction, enhancing exercise performance in healthy individuals and patients with peripheral arterial disease. Pre-clinical studies with nitrate or nitrite also show the potential to protect against ischaemia-reperfusion injury and reduce arterial stiffness, inflammation and intimal thickness. However, there is a need for good evidence for hard endpoints beyond epidemiological studies. Whilst these suggest reduction in cardiovascular risk with diets high in nitrate-rich vegetables (such as a Mediterranean diet), others have suggested possible small positive and negative associations with dietary nitrate and cancer, but these remain unproven. Interactions with other nutrients, such as vitamin C, polyphenols and fatty acids may enhance or inhibit these effects. In order to provide simple guidance on nitrate intake from different vegetables, we have developed the Nitrate Veg-Table' with Nitrate Units' [each unit being 1mmol of nitrate (62mg)] to achieve a nitrate intake that is likely to be sufficient to derive benefit, but also to minimize the risk of potential side effects from excessive ingestion, given the current available evidence. The lack of data concerning the long term effects of dietary nitrate is a limitation, and this will need to be addressed in future trials.
Alpha-lipoic acid (LA) has become a common ingredient in multivitamin formulas, anti-aging supplements, and even pet food. It is well-defined as a therapy for preventing diabetic polyneuropathies, and scavenges free radicals, chelates metals, and restores intracellular glutathione levels which otherwise decline with age. How do the biochemical properties of LA relate to its biological effects? Herein, we review the molecular mechanisms of LA discovered using cell and animal models, and the effects of LA on human subjects. Though LA has long been touted as an antioxidant, it has also been shown to improve glucose and ascorbate handling, increase eNOS activity, activate Phase II detoxification via the transcription factor Nrf2, and lower expression of MMP-9 and VCAM-1 through repression of NF-kappa B. LA and its reduced form, dihydrolipoic acid, may use their chemical properties as a redox couple to alter protein conformations by forming mixed disulfides. Beneficial effects are achieved with low micromolar levels of LA, suggesting that some of its therapeutic potential extends beyond the strict definition of an antioxidant. Current trials are investigating whether these beneficial properties of LA make it an appropriate treatment not just for diabetes, but also for the prevention of vascular disease, hypertension, and inflammation.