I'm A Gastroenterologist & This Is My Favorite Leafy Green For Gut Health
When it comes to nourishing your gut health, we at mbg are all about identifying which foods will give you the biggest bang for your buck. In addition to staples like yogurt and fermented foods, leafy greens can pack a powerful punch when it comes to supporting your gut microbiome and overall health. Take it from integrative gastroenterologist Marvin Singh, M.D., who recently shared his list of top 10 foods with us on the mindbodygreen podcast. His first pick? Arugula.
Below, we dive into the reasons this veggie is such a gut-supporting star.
Why arugula is one of Singh's favorite greens.
Arugula is a type of cruciferous bitter green, which, according to Singh, "[makes it] good with digestion and bloating." Cruciferous vegetables support the gut with fiber and prebiotics, which nourish its good bacteria. Research suggests that when prebiotics are combined with probiotics, the latter is more likely to survive and flourish in the gut. What's more, leafy greens have been shown to support heart health, thanks to their nitrate content—which can support healthy blood pressure levels and cardiovascular function.
In addition to gut health benefits, Singh lauds arugula as "a source of calcium, potassium, folate, and different kinds of vitamins," including vitamin C for immune health, vitamin K for heart health, and vitamin A for immune, eye, skin, and reproductive health.
In addition to these health benefits, Singh appreciates arugula's slightly peppery flavor. "I love adding it to a salad or mixing it on any kind of dish," he says. "It gives a little spice to your food, a little flare to it. People say, 'Oh, my salad is monotonous.' Well, do something different. Put some cilantro in there, put some arugula in there, and all of a sudden you're eating something different, even though it's really still a salad." (For what it's worth, Singh touts cilantro as another gut-healthy staple; he even calls the spicy garnish a "super-herb.")
According to Singh, we don't give arugula enough credit. Not only does the cruciferous veggie support your gut, but it also contains a host of antioxidants to enhance whole-body health. And, like Singh, you can include the peppery green in a variety of recipes.