Follow posts tagged #model organism in seconds.Sign up
I will admit, arugula sounds sexier when Jamie Oliver says it. Both because of his British accent, and the fact that he calls it “rocket.” That’s what they call it over there. Of course, they should be calling it “roquette,” but the French name has been bastardized into rocket and there it has remained.
It’s better the we stay out of the whole mess and stick with “arugula.”
Arugula belongs to the Brassicaceae family, a large and important group of flowering plants with some very popular members. You probably can’t turn around in the produce section without bumping into one of them.
Broccoli, cabbage (and brussel sprouts), cauliflower, turnip, mustard, radish (and horseradish, and wasabi) and watercress are all kissing cousins with Arugula. Even though they all look very different, they all have (to greater and lesser degrees) that peppery and sometimes bitter taste.
In scientific circles, the most famous member of the family is one called Arabidopsis thaliana. Unless you’ve studied some flavour of biology, you likely haven’t heard of it. Like our friend yeast, Arabidopsis is a model organism – in this case, for flowering plants. It was the first to have its entire genome sequenced, and has been invaluable to the field of molecular biology in understanding how plants flower and sense light.
But what is arugula good for? Well, not a ton, really.
Oh, sure, it’s a salad green, and salad is good for you. However, I wouldn’t venture to say that arugula has any distinct advantage over other salad greens (apart from more interesting flavour). Its strongest contributors to your daily diet are Vitamin A and Potassium. Vitamin K as well, but only because 2.2 mcg gives you 3% of your daily intake.
I found a link to a page on Health.com that claims arugula is an aphrodisiac, and has been known to be one since the First Century. Allegedly, this is because research has revealed that the trace minerals and antioxidants in arugula block the uptake of toxins that kill our mojo.
Really, now? Really?
It makes you randy by blocking things that make you not randy.
By that logic, Tylenol is an aphrodisiac for getting rid of headaches. Sorry, Viagra, the jig is up!
There is, of course, no reference list from which I can verify this fluffy-sounding claim. If you look at the nutritional data for arugula you’ll see that they got one thing right: trace minerals. There’s practically nothing there! When you look at the tables, there are a lot of zeros.
Just to be sure I wasn’t missing anything I did a literature search, and all I came up with were articles by authors with the last name Arugula.
If it were me, I’d insist that people call me Dr. Rocket.