You may find the latest remedy for painful peptic ulcers not at your local drugstore, but in your salad instead. Researchers recently discovered that Eruca sativa, an herb also known as rocket or arugula, helps reduce stomach-acid secretion that can irritate gastric ulcers, the type of peptic ulcers that form in the abdominal wall and can cause severe pain.
Scientists speculate that arugula, already thought to help prevent cancer and stimulate liver health, affects ulcer activity by limiting stomach-acid secretion or by regulating hormones that protect the gastric-wall lining. Arugula also has high levels of antioxidants, which researchers believe may contribute to its anti-ulcer properties.
Grown and used since ancient Roman times, arugula was first used as a medicinal herb and aphrodisiac. The leafy green is now popular in Italian cuisine and is grown and eaten around the world. The leaves tend to be deep green in color with deep notches up and down both sides. Some leaves have full, round ends while others are more pointy. Arugula is frequently eaten raw as a salad green but can also be enjoyed cooked in a variety of dishes.
Vegetable intake, specifically cruciferous vegetables, has protective effects on the heart. A recent report indicated that diets rich in cruciferous vegetables, salads, and green leafy vegetables have links with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease.
In addition, the Journal of the American Heart Association reported that consuming a diet high in cruciferous vegetables could reduce atherosclerosis in older women. Atherosclerosis is a common condition where plaque builds up in the arteries, increasing a person’s risk of cardiovascular problems.
The heart protective effects of these vegetables may be due to their high concentration of beneficial plant compounds, including polyphenols and organosulfur compounds.
The herb can be found in most produce sections and makes a tasty addition to salads, pizzas, and other dishes. People commonly add fresh arugula to salads, but it also works well incorporated into pasta, casseroles, and sauces, just like other leafy greens.
It tends to sauté faster than its tougher cousins kale and collard greens. Because of its tenderness, and it lends more flavor to a dish than spinach or Swiss chard. Due to its peppery flavor, people often mix arugula with other milder greens, such as watercress and romaine.
Give it a try!
By Sarah Toland