Arugula aka “Rocket” is a dark leafy green in the cruciferous family of vegetables. It is closely related to broccoli, cauliflower, bok choy, and brussel sprouts, amoung some of the most potent anti-cancer foods around. Of all the salad greens, arugula is one of the most nutritious, it is packed with disease-fighting phytochemicals, vitamins, and minerals.It has a peppery, mustardy flavor with a slight bitterness. Younger leaves, known as baby arugula, are more tender and less pungent than the more mature greens. Arugula leaves are shaped like oak leaves or dandelion greens.

A serving size of five cups provides a good portion of vitamins and minerals; one cup only offers a fraction. Still, arugula greens provide a readily absorbable source of calcium, iron, manganese, copper, and potassium. It is also a good source of vitamins A, C, K, and folic acid.

Arugula is also a great source of chlorophyll, a compound that the body can always benefit from. Chlorophyll cleanses and energizes the blood. It helps bring large amounts of oxygen to all parts of the body, creating an environment undesirable to viruses and harmful bacteria. Chlorophyll also supports healthy skin, and limits the potential of carcinogens.

Best way to eat Arugula for health benefits is raw. Full of flavor, arugula is great as a salad green, baby greens alone or mixed with milder greens, toss with a simple vinaigrette, pair with roasted beets and goat cheese or cherry tomatoes and walnuts.

Arugula is excellent cooked as well. As long as the greens are not overcooked, most of the nutrients are retained. Add to soups, dips, put of pizzas, saute arugula with olive oil and garlic at a medium-low heat. Sprinkle with salt to taste. Delicious!

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