Lettuce is an annual plant of the daisy family, Asteraceae, most often grown as a leafy vegetable, but other times for its seeds and stems.
Lettuce is an old vegetable, its seeds were used to produce oil by ancient Egyptians who turned it from a weed into food. the plant reached Persia and it also spread to Greeks and Romans. Nowadays it’s the most famous ingredient in our salads, soups, even fast food, it’s one of the most consumed vegetables worldwide.
This popular green didn’t gain its reputation from its benefits though it’s not less than any other highly nutritious vegetable, due to saving its nutritious value being consumed without cooking. The lettuce mostly eaten cold and raw but in some places like China it’s preferred cooked
This plant height and spread of approximately 15 to 30cm its succulent leaves are colored in green, red gradient.
Types of lettuce
Lettuce has many types which are different in color and shapes, even in their nutritious value. Romaine lettuce is best.
- Romaine lettuce: used in common Greek salads sweet and crunchy.
- Iceberg lettuce: it has a mild taste and crisp texture its white in the inside with a crisphead that’s where probably it got its name from.
- Red leaf lettuce: this one has delicate leaves and taste.
- Butter lettuce: known for its large green leaves which are soft and sweet.
- Devils lettuce.
Romaine is the best when it comes to lettuce types cause it has the heights’ nutritional values, and the iceberg has the least of all lettuce category.
To compare those two values, romaine lettuce possesses:
- Twice the protein
- Less sugar and sodium
- three times the vitamin K
- Eight times vitamin C
- Seventeen times vitamin A
- Four times iron
- Twice the calcium
Lettuce contains a high water content, also low in fiber, protein, fat, carbohydrates and sugars this small green is packed with vitamins and minerals including calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, iron and zinc in addition to B-vitamins, folate and vitamin C, E, and vitamin K.
Lettuce in the past had been cultivated for its medical properties which were confirmed by modern scientific researches. it health benefits includes:
- Low in fat: It has only 12 calories one cup shredded this, makes it great for weight loss
- 0mega-3 fatty acids: It has a 2/1 ratio of omega-3 omega-6 fatty acids which is great ratio.
- Lowers cholesterol levels: Lettuce can lower a high cholesterol level that leads to heart attacks, strokes and other dangerous conditions it can be contributory as a way to reduce the risk factors of cardiovascular diseases.
The vitamin C in lettuce and the beta-carotene works with each other preventing the oxidation of cholesterol; this prevents plaque from building up
- Induces sleep: It has factors that stimulate sleep, lettuce helps with insomnia as there is this white fluid when you cut lettuce leaves, it’s called lactucarium this fluid has relaxing properties.
- Forms alkaline: lettuce minerals keep the balance of acid and alkaline and remove toxins, which holds lots of benefits like great skin and sleep, clear thinking and greater energy.
- Low glycemic index: The average glycemic index in lettuce is 15 due to its low calories the glycemic load is considered zero, So lettuce is good for people watching their blood sugar also good for weight management.
- High in fiber and cellulose: Which is another reason why lettuce is good for weight loss, the fiber removes bile salts from your body, then the body breaks down cholesterol in an attempt to replace these salts .which is why lettuce is great for your heart.
- A whole food: It’s always eaten raw which means it keeps all the micronutrients which is lost in other cooked or processed food, lettuce is one of the few foods that we find organic and prewashed to eat right away.
- Hydrating: Lettuce has a high water content, eating food that is rich with water helps keeps your body hydrated and promotes fullness.
- Complete protein: Lettuce has 20% of its calories in protein
- Blood pressure: Consuming potassium-rich foods such as lettuce may help reduces high blood pressure levels and stabilizes it.
- Good source of vitamins: Lettuce is packed with vitamin A and other essentials nutrients that important for maintaining vision and immunity. Also, it’s an amazing source for vitamin K which plays a crucial part in blood clotting and prevents uncontrolled bleeding. And many more vitamins.
- Antioxidant agent: Lettuce also loaded with powerful antioxidants which are necessary for human health and disease prevention, such as anthocyanins, beta carotene, and vitamin C.
- Antimicrobial agent: The latex in lettuce has antimicrobial properties.
- Controls anxiety: Many researches proved lettuce possesses anxiolytic properties.
- Anti-cancer potential: Lettuce leaf extracts help prevent certain types of cancer, such as breast cancer.
- Protect neuronal cells: Neurons are cells in the brain that are responsible of forming the physical connection to make up memory, the death of these cells can cause memory loss and in some extreme cases it can result in a lot of diseases such as Alzheimer’s
- Anti-inflammatory agent: Lettuce possesses an anti-inflammatory property that helps controlling inflammation.
- It tastes good!: All those nutrients and benefits that lettuce has it still taste good, so it’s not a food that you eat cause your mind is telling its good for you. You can have them both the nutrients and the sweet taste.
This leafy vegetable promotes brain health, boosts immunity, supports weight loss, even skincare benefits. Bottom line lettuce is a light vegetable that can be easily added to our diet, salads or sandwiches for extra flavor, crunch and lots and lots of nutrients.
MEENAKSHI NAGDEVE _IMPRESSIVE BENEFITS OF LETTUCE_JULLY 16, 2019_ WWW.ORGANICFACTS.NET
KAITLYN BERKHESIERB_HEALTH AND NUTRITION BENEFITS OF RED LETTUCE_JUNE 4, 2019 _ WWW.HEALTHLINE.COM
Interesting facts about lettuce _ December 1 /2018 _ www.justfunfacts.com
Randy fritz _10 health benefits of lettuce _October 10, 2012_ www.realfoodforlife.com