Tasty and healthy, rucola has been known since ancient times for its benefits. Some simply hate its taste, but the benefits seems to outweigh that!
The Romans, for example, not only considered it good for the stomach, but believed that it also possessed aphrodisiac qualities. It is no coincidence that the plant was dedicated to Priapus, a mythological god symbol of virility and fertility. For this reason, over time, rucola has suffered a kind of censorship, so much so that it must be hidden in the first annals of agriculture of the period of the Counter-Reformation. Today, thanks to scientific research, his skills have been widely re-evaluated.
A recent joint study between the group of Professor Carlo Foresta of the University of Padova and that of Professor Kais Rtibi of the University of Jendouba in Tunisia started from the assumption that the presence of chemical additives in contaminated food and beverages – in particular way iBPA – is able to compromise sperm vitality, thus slowing mobility. But the consumption of rocket would seem to protect male fertility.
The survey focused mainly on bisphenol-A (BPA), an additive of synthetic origin that would improve the mechanical properties of the materials used for plastic bottles, food coatings and coffee capsules. Since BPA negatively influences cellular function and increases the production of free radicals, it can also slow down sperm mobility.
Following a careful chemical analysis of the compounds contained in rucola, the researchers noted that the plant contains high amounts of antioxidants capable of inactivating oxygen free radicals. Precisely the latter go to alter the most important cellular functions, causing apoptosis, or death. The researchers then performed some tests on sperm using a treatment with rucola extract at increasing concentrations. The same has proved capable of counteracting – even at low dosages – the toxic effects of BPA.
Scientists explain: “Rucola extract can represent a real nutraceutical control for the treatment of male infertility or in the preparation of sperm during medically assisted procreation techniques. We are defining the specific quantities and percentages” .