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Back to the Basics 5: Arugula – Take It To The Next Level

If I haven’t said it recently (and I haven’t … I checked), I am so grateful that you are here every Wednesday for “Wellness Wednesday.” Thank you for being a part of the Fundamental Health Family. I hope you’re getting as much out of it as I’ve gotten from putting it together.

The whole month of April, we’ve been going back to the basics to rediscover some amazingly powerful foods that we tend to walk past in the grocery store – the dark, leafy greens. We’ve looked at the health benefits that we so often take for granted in spinach, lettuce, kale, and Swiss chard. I hope you’ve been adding them to your smoothies and salads, and experiencing all the benefits.

Up A Notch

This week I want to take you past grade school and into a more advanced level of veggies. If you’re  white bread and white rice kind of eater, this next green might just be too much for you. That’s perfectly OK — we can’t all be black belt connoisseurs of fine food.

But if’ you’re ready to move up and try something that is going to explode your life just a little, we’re going for it today.

Ride the Rocket

It looks like fancy lettuce, with its curlicue leaf shapes and vibrant blend of colors, but one bite will let you know you’re in a different stratosphere. From the Latin “eruca,” Arugula is known across Europe as garden rocket, rucola, roquette, and colewort. I personally like “rocket,” because it brings so much flavor to a salad! I’ll show you a simple recipe below that will blow your mind.

Benefits

  • Remember the phytochemicals we mentioned in weeks past, and their ability to combat cancer-causing elements in the body? Arugula is one of your best sources for phytos.
  • Arugula contains five times the vitamin A, vitamin C and vitamin K as lettuce, as well as eight times the calcium (did I mention the word “rocket”?). This is a mighty combination of antioxidants that actively target and destroy free radicals, reinforcing your immune system. plus it provides a powerful osteotrophic boost for healthy bones and teeth. Plus, researchers are just starting to understand the value of Vitamin K for nourishing neural pathways in the brain. All that Vitamin K in arugula makes it a handy weapon against neural degradation, Alzheimer’s Disease, and inflammatory conditions, like arthritis.
  • Loaded with cartenoids, it’s great for your eyesight.
  • Loaded with folates, it’s great for your brain, especially for pre-natal mothers and their babies.
  • Arugula is packed with other B-complex Vitamins as well, which promote healthy cell activities, including energy production, fat synthesis, red blood cell production. They also regulate your metabolism, helping you burn fat and process sugars efficiently.
  • Copper aids in white blood cell production. Iron is a key component in red blood cells.
  • Potassium balances and regulates calcium and magnesium in your system.
  • Its peppery flavor provides a natural cooling effect on the body – a good food for hot weather picnics! Like other leafy greens, arugula is also a hydrating food, helping keep your body hydrated in the heat of summer.

Wait! I Have to Run Out and Buy Some Arugula!

I know, right? Once you see what it can do for you, you don’t want to let another minute go by without having arugula in your house. But be aware: arugula is in the same family as radishes and kale, and it has a strong flavor that may take you by surprise the first time (or two… or ten).

So, what I recommend is to include it in a smoothie or a salad with plenty of strawberries (don’t even get me on my strawberry rabbit trail!).

Here’s a quick salad recipe that I know you’ll love…if you’re ready for it.

Recipe: Strawberry, Goat Cheese & Arugula Salad

Ingredients

5 ounces of organic, pre-washed arugula (I get a bag of organic arugula from Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods)
½ pint of organic strawberries, washed and sliced
2 ounces of goat cheese, crumbled
2 Tbsp nuts of your choice (I like walnuts for this one)
Lemon vinaigrette
Salt & pepper

Instructions

Place the greens in a large bowl and toss in the remaining ingredients (just a tiny pinch of salt & pepper is probably enough). Drizzle with desired amount of dressing.

Note: I’ve been remiss for not mentioning this before, but one of the best things you can add to greens is meat, because together they form a complete package of the amino acids we need for optimum performance. Half a cup of sliced grilled chicken or turkey will make this salad a meal!

I hope this month we’ve spent exploring the leafy greens has been fun for you. Maybe it even changed your mind about salad! If so, I’d encourage you to share this article with friends. You might be surprised to find out who benefits most from it.

Find us on Facebook and share your arugula story with us there! I look forward to hearing from you.

See you tomorrow for “Think Right Thursday.”

By the way, if you’re in the Naples area and we haven’t met in person, I hope you’ll stop by my practice and say hello. I’m located in the suites behind the Sports Authority on Pine Ridge Road and Airport-Pulling Road.

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