Arugula Nutrition Facts

Calories, Carbs, and Health Benefits

Arugula annotated
Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman 

Arugula is a cruciferous vegetable often used as a salad green. Offering a pepper-like flavor, arugula leaves are high in various nutrients including beta-carotene, vitamin C, fiber, folate, and magnesium, all of which are key for allowing the body’s organ systems to function properly.

While its reputation is a bit lesser-known, arugula has been shown to offer many of the same health benefits as vegetables such as broccoli, kale, and Brussels sprouts. Arugula is relatively inexpensive and easy to find pre-packaged in most grocery stores. It’s also easy to grow at home in a windowsill garden with minimal sunlight.

Nutrition Facts

The following nutrition information is provided by the USDA for one 1/2 cup serving of arugula.

  • Calories: 2.5
  • Fat: 0.1g
  • Sodium: 0mg
  • Carbohydrates: 0.4g
  • Fiber: 0.2g
  • Sugars: 0.2g
  • Protein: 0.3g

Carbs in Arugula

Arugula is very low in carbohydrates, offering less than 1 gram per serving. As such, it shouldn’t be viewed as a primary source of carbs in any meal or diet. Arugula is also very low in sugar, which shouldn’t be surprising given its savory and slightly spicy flavor.

Finally, unlike many of its other cruciferous counterparts, arugula is quite low in fiber per serving. However, if you’re using it as a salad base, you will likely be consuming more than a typical 1/2 cup serving—this means you should end up getting a little bit more fiber. A 2-cup serving of arugula would provide closer to 0.8 grams of fiber.

Fats in Arugula
Not surprisingly, as a leafy, cruciferous vegetable, arugula is also virtually fat-free. This includes healthy fats, such as monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, as well as omega-3 fatty acids.

Protein in Arugula
Just as with carbohydrates, sugar, and fat content, arugula is also very low in protein. If you’re using it as a salad base, you’ll likely want to include another main ingredient as a protein source—this could be a meat product such as chicken, or a legume like black beans.

Micronutrients in Arugula
Micronutrients are where arugula really shines. Arugula is high in beta-carotene, vitamin C, folate, vitamin K, fiber and magnesium. These ingredients allow the body’s cardiovascular, nervous, and digestive systems to continue working properly. 

Just 2 cups of arugula will provide 20% of the body’s daily vitamin A needs, 50% of vitamin K needs, and 8% of vitamin C, folate, and calcium needs.

Health Benefits

For decades, research has shown that consuming a high amount of cruciferous vegetables is associated with a decreased risk of developing cancer, particularly lung and colon cancers. Additionally, because of its high vitamin K content, arugula is known for improving bone health through improved calcium absorption.

This also contributes to the prevention of osteoporosis. Leafy green vegetables such as arugula also contain alpha-lipoic acid, an antioxidant that may benefit people with diabetes, as it may promote lower glucose levels, increase insulin sensitivity, and prevent oxidative stress-induced changes.

Common Questions

Can I eat arugula raw or plain?

While there’s nothing wrong with eating raw or plain arugula, most people prefer to eat it in salads, sandwiches, or pasta due to its slightly spicy flavor.

Does arugula need to be refrigerated?

Yes, arugula is highly perishable and should be kept cool at all times when being stored.

When is arugula in season?

While arugula production peaks from June to December, you can usually find arugula in stores all year long.

Recipes and Preparation Tips

As previously mentioned, one of the most popular ways to enjoy arugula is as a salad base. One way to do so is a take on a Caesar salad with just pecorino cheese, lemon juice, and Italian dressing as your ingredients. Or, you could add tomato and green onion as well.

Another popular version is with dried cranberries, blue cheese, and walnuts added, which is also often done with mixed greens. Arugula can also be used in place of lettuce in sandwiches, or sautéed and mixed into pasta dishes.

Allergies and Interactions

If you are allergic to arugula, you can opt for another leafy greens such as kale or spinach in whatever dish you are preparing. If you are concerned about a potential or existing food allergy, be sure to consult with your healthcare provider.

If you take a blood thinner, such as Warfarin (coumadin), it is important that you keep your intake of foods high in vitamin K about the same each day. Vitamin K interacts with these medications. Before adding arugula to your diet, discuss it with your healthcare provider.

Was this page helpful?

Article Sources

Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial policy to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Royston KJ, Tollefsbol TO. The epigenetic impact of cruciferous vegetables on cancer preventionCurr Pharmacol Rep. 2015;1(1):46–51. doi:10.1007/s40495-014-0003-9

  2. Vitamin K. Fact Sheet for Consumers. National Institutes of Health. Office of Dietary Supplements. Updated: July 12, 2019

  3. Golbidi S, Badran M, Laher I. Diabetes and alpha lipoic acidFront Pharmacol. 2011;2:69. Published 2011 Nov 17. doi:10.3389/fphar.2011.00069