• Dr. Kaitlyn Zorn ND

Food As Medicine: Arugula & Hot Peppers

Today's Food as Medicine blog series features 2 vegetables with a spicy kick: ARUGULA and HOT PEPPERS

Let's get right into why these 2 veggies are not only tasty but also nutritious.


This week I picked up a ton of Arugula. I just love this bitter tasting leafy green that adds a kick to salads, pizzas and pastas.

Health Info: Like other leafy greens, arugula contains Vitamin A, K and folate. It is also a type of cruciferous vegetable! Most of us think of broccoli and brussel sprouts as cruciferous vegetables, but arugula is a lesser known one (must be why it’s so bitter!). Cruciferous vegetables contain cancer-fighting compounds called isothiocyanates (1)

Use For: Anemia and Nerve Health.

Folate is necessary for the production of red blood cells. If you suffer from anemia, it may not always be from low iron but could be from low B12 or folate (This is something that isn’t always looked into!). Folate and other B vitamins are useful for mental health and neurological health.

Cancer Prevention.

The isothiocyanates in arugula have been shown to promote apoptosis (cell death) of cancer sells through different signaling pathways (2).

Recipe Idea: Try some arugula salad with beets, walnuts and goat cheese.

Hot Peppers

We were so excited to pick the hot peppers that we decided to pick some early! Although not in full maturity (colour & taste) they still had a spicy kick to I’m good with that. Hot Peppers are really fun to grow because they can be pickled, made into home-made hot sauces and more! That is, if you enjoy the heat ;).

Health Info: Hot Peppers include a compound known as Capsaicin. This molecule has been shown to modulate many signalling mechanisms in the body that encourage weight loss, prevent obesity and lead to feelings of fullness/satiety. I love adding hot peppers into most of my cooking, and notice that I usually feel pretty satisfied after the meal.

Use For: Obesity/Weight Loss & Appetite Control.

Research has shown that capsaicin increases metabolism of brown fat stores, which counteract obesity, along with inhibiting fat production in the body. It also has the ability to communicate with the brain to reduce hunger signals, and encourage feelings of fullness.

Recipe Idea: With this batch I’m going to chop them up and pickle them, but I’d love to try this home-made hot sauce recipe: http://www.nakedcuisine.com/homemade-hot-sauce/

So tell me, are you a hot pepper fan or not? Will you incorporate it into your wellness plan to aid in metabolism? As for arugula, I’m excited to incorporate this into more of my recipes knowing that it contains the same cancer-preventing compounds as broccoli and brussel sprouts.

Read last-week's post here.


1) https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/285753.php

2) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15476860


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