Rocket, scientific name Eruca versicaria, also known as arugula, is an annual plant of the Brassicaceae family that includes also broccoli and cabbages. The leaves are used in cooking to prepare tasty salads, to fill piadine (Italian flatbread sandwiches) or as an ingredient to season pasta or pizza, better if raw in order to preserve all the nutrients. Rocket is characterized by a particular and strong flavor and it is also very healthy. Rocket indeed is a source of vitamins, especially vitamin A, that has a beneficial effect on eye-health and on the immune system, vitamin C, with an antioxidant effect and able to improve the defenses against inflammations and infections, E, group B, K and J. But rocket has also beta-carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin, that are powerful antioxidants, folic acid and mineral salts such as calcium, important for the bones, teeth and nervous system, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, with a beneficial effect on blood pressure, zinc and iron. Arugula is also a low calorie food, it brings indeed 25 kcal for 100 g, is diuretic, for this reason it counteracts water retention, has digestive properties because it promotes the production of gastric juices and protects the intestinal functioning thanks to the high content in fibers.
In addition to this, like all the other vegetables of the Brassicaceae family, also rocket contains isothyocianates, that are substances able to act as anticancer agents. In particular rocket contains erucin. This substance has been studied by scientists that have observed that it is able to inhibit the proliferation and induce apoptosis of some types of breast cancer cells (Azarenko et al, 2014, PLOS One).
Moreover, erucin has also an anti-inflammatory effect (Han Jin Cho et al, Int J Mol Sci, 2013). Finally, according to recent studies, rocket has also an antithrombotic action (Fuentes et al, Nutrients, 2014).