Reduced cancer riskWhile an overall healthful, vegetable-rich diet reduces a person’s cancer risk, studies have shown that certain groups of vegetables can have specific anticancer benefits. Cruciferous vegetables are a source of glucosinolates, which are sulfur-containing substances. Glucosinolates may be responsible for the plants’ bitter taste and their cancer-fighting power. The body breaks down glucosinolates into a range of beneficial compounds, including sulforaphane. Sulforaphane can inhibit the enzyme histone deacetylase (HDAC), which is involved in the progression of cancer cells. The ability to stop HDAC enzymes could make foods that contain sulforaphane a potentially significant part of cancer treatment in the future.
Osteoporosis preventionArugula is high in several key nutrients for bone health, including calcium and vitamin K. Vitamin K is involved in bone metabolism and that a deficiency can increase the risk of bone fracture. Adequate vitamin K consumption improves bone health by playing an essential role in bone mineralization and helps to improve how the body absorbs and excretes calcium, which is another crucial nutrient for bone health.
DiabetesSeveral review studies have found that eating vegetables reduces a person’s risk of developing type 2 diabetes. A review study from 2016 reports that leafy green vegetables are especially beneficial. One test tube study showed that arugula extract had anti-diabetic effects in mouse skeletal muscle cells. They produced this effect by stimulating glucose uptake in the cells.
Heart HealthVegetable intake, specifically cruciferous vegetables, has protective effects on the heart. A 2017 meta-analysis reports that diets rich in cruciferous vegetables, salads, and green leafy vegetables have links with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease. In addition, a 2018 study published in 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.
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