One of the most popular foods of each dieter, lettuce boasts a host of nutrients and antioxidants that promote the overall health.
Crispy, delicious, and wholesome, lettuce isn’t used in salads only. You can use it in a variety of meals while reaping all the health benefits it has to offer.
Read on to find out the types of lettuce, its nutritional information, and awesome health benefits.
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What are the main types of lettuce?
There are four main type of lettuce people consume these days:
- Iceberg lettuce, which has a mild taste and crisp texture, and is white on the inside.
- Romaine lettuce is crunchy and sweet and is often mixed with watercress or arugula.
- Green and red leaf lettuce has a delicate taste and is highly nutritious.
- Butter, Boston and Bibb lettuce has soft and sweet large green leaves.
What are nutritional facts of lettuce?
Lettuce is packed with vitamins A, C, E, and K along with minerals such as magnesium, potassium, iron, zinc, and calcium. Plus, lettuce is rich in powerful antioxidants. In general a cup of lettuce provides your body with:
- 5 calories
- 10 g of sodium
- Zero fats
- Zero cholesterol
- 78% of the recommended daily intake of vitamin K
- 11% of RDI of vitamin C
- 53 of RDI of vitamin A
- 5 g of fiber
- 7 mcg of folate
- 3 mg of iron
15 Best health benefits of lettuce
A regular intake of any type of lettuce will help you:
1.Strengthen your immunity
The high content of vitamin A and vitamin C along with potent antioxidants found in lettuce make it an effective food for strengthening your immune system.
Additionally, most types of lettuce boast antimicrobial properties, and therefore, help to prevent a lot of diseases.
2.Improve your bone health
Lettuce is packed with vitamins C, A, and K, which are essential for bone formation and collagen production.
Vitamin K aids in building the connective tissues and cartilage while vitamin C helps to prevent the bone depletion that’s the culprit for premature aging. Vitamin A is responsible for developing the new bone cells. The deficiency of any of these vitamins can lead to the high risk of fractures and osteoporosis.
Renowned as a bone savior, vitamin K helps to enhance the overall bone strength. The vitamin K deficiency can lead to reduced bone mass or osteopenia and the high fracture risk.
Even though vitamin K supplementation is usually prescribed to support the bone health, you can get it from natural foods like lettuce. The International Osteoporosis Foundation claims that vitamin K is critical for a good bone mineralization.
3.Cope with sleep disorders
Lettuce is a great source of a substance called lactur carium, which helps to calm down the nervous system and improve sleep. Lettuce is also rich in lactucin, a substance that promotes relaxation and sleep.
Lettuce had been used in the medieval times to treat sleep disorders, including insomnia. The next time you have trouble falling asleep, have a lettuce-packed salad as a late night meal.
Read More: 20 Easy Ways to Fall Asleep Faster
4.Enhance your digestive system
Lettuce contains fiber that enhances the digestive health and keeps the digestive woes like bloating and constipation away.
Studies also showed that a frequent consumption of lettuce help people ease the stomach pain and help to process various types of food faster. A few pilot studies suggested that lettuce boosts the intestinal health.
5.Maintain eye health
The omega-3s found in lettuce has been shown to promote eye health and prevent the potential vision-related issues.
The powerful antioxidant called zeaxanthin in Romaine lettuce aids in improving the eye health just like carrots do. Moreover, eating Romaine lettuce regularly helps to reduce the risk factor of the age-related macular degeneration.
According to a report provided by the American Association of Opthalmology, all dark green veggies, including lettuce, are high in both zeaxanthin and lutein – one of the most powerful antioxidant combo that wards off serious eye-relates diseases.
A research showed that women who followed a high-lutein meal plan had 23% reduced risk of developing cataracts. Many nutritionists believe that Romaine lettuce is an ideal replacement for another eye-friendly food – spinach that is also rich in zeaxanthin and lutein.
6.Reduce the diabetes risk
Multiple researches have proven the fact that greens, such as lettuce, can lower the chance of developing type 2 diabetes. Mostly, it’s because of the low glycemic index of lettuce. This means that eating lettuce doesn’t cause the blood sugar spikes.
Moreover, there are only 2 grams of carbs and 5 calories in a cup of lettuce, making it an excellent addition to a diet of diabetics. Researchers recommend eating Romaine lettuce as this variety contains almost twice more essential micronutrients than any other type.
Lettuce is also rich in an anti-diabetic carotenoid called lactucaxanthin that aids in decreasing the blood sugar levels and might be an effective cure for diabetes.
7.Reduce the risk of cancer
Regular lettuce consumption has scientifically been proved to prevent stomach cancer, according to a Japanese study. The report done by the World Cancer Research Fund stated that non-starchy vegetables, including lettuce, wards off a few cancer types like throat, mouth, stomach, and esophagus cancers.
Another research done by Japanese scientists that involved smokers with lung cancer indicated that a regular consumption of lettuce provided the protective effects against cancer.
8.Keep your heart health
Folate in Romaine lettuce is a B vitamin that plays a key role in converting homocysteine. When unconverted, homocysteine negatively impacts the blood vessels, causing the plaque accumulation and ruining the heart health.
Also, lettuce contains vitamin A and vitamin C, which aid in supporting the arteries and oxidizing cholesterol. Both vitamins also help to enhance the blood flow and reduce the likelihood of heart attacks.
Lettuce is also a wonderful source of potassium that eases the blood pressure and alleviates cardiovascular diseases. Lettuce intake can also boost the good cholesterol (HDL) and decrease the bad cholesterol (LDL.)
Additionally, lettuce consumption is linked to a better cholesterol metabolism and boosts the antioxidant amounts in the body, protecting your heart from daily stress and other health woes. The omega-3s found in lettuce can also contribute to your cardiovascular health. 2 to 3 servings of lettuce a day will maintain your heart health and boost your overall health.
9.Boost your brain function
Any impairment of brain function can cause the death of neuronal cells, increasing the risk factor of serious brain diseases, including Alzheimer’s disease.
Several studies suggested that the lettuce extracts help to control this death of neuronal cells because of its critical role in glucose/serum deprivation.
Dietary nitrate in lettuce is converted to nitric oxide that’s a cellular signaling molecule, which enhances the endothelial function. When this function is reduced, it leads to cognitive decline and a number of other dangerous neurological conditions linked to aging. Eating lettuce on a daily basis helps to prevent this process. An added bonus: The lettuce’s omega-3s content helps to relieve the anxiety and depression symptoms.
10.Promote weight loss
Thanks to its super low calorie content, lettuce is one of the best foods for weight loss. Can you imagine filling your stomach with healthy food that has only 5 calories per serving? It’s real.
Lettuce is also responsible for bridging the micronutrient gap, which is difficult to reach on a diet extremely low in calories.
Apart from tiny calorie content, lettuce has the reduced energy density. For instance, one cup of Romaine provides 1 gram of fiber and is about 95% water. Fiber helps to discourage binging by keeping you full for longer. Any lettuce type contains zero fat and it’s great news for those trying to shed pounds.
11.Prevent chronic inflammation
Lettuce contains certain proteins, such as carrageenan and lipoxygenase, that contribute to a chronic inflammation prevention, according to a study conducted in Iran. The study revealed that lettuce aids in fighting osteodynia and inflammation.
The Arthritis Foundation claims that vitamin K rich veggies like lettuce can drastically reduce the inflammatory process. It’s recommended to consume at least 2 cups of fresh leafy greens per day to prevent chronic inflammation.
Mix lettuce with other veggies high in vitamin K like broccoli, kale, cabbage, and spinach for a powerful, anti-inflammatory salad. Antioxidants in the darker varieties of lettuce as well as the omega-3s found in them also promote their anti-inflammatory abilities. This means, lettuce can help to prevent arthritis and other related conditions.
Being chock full of folate and iron, lettuce can reduce the chance of developing anemia.
A powerful nutrient, folate helps to prevent megaloblastic anemia, a kind of anemia that features the underdeveloped and very large blood cells. The vitamin B12 deficiency anemia is another serious condition that lettuce can help you to fight.
13.Improve your hair and skin health
Lettuce is high in vitamin A that boosts the cell turnover, revitalizing the skin. The potassium abundantly found in lettuce increases the circulation, supplying nutrients and oxygen to the skin.
Not to mention that a high vitamin C content of lettuce aids in protecting the skin from harmful UV radiation and thus reducing the skin cancer risk. Consuming lettuce on a daily basis has been shown to delay the aging process and fight wrinkles and fine lines.
The rich fiber content of lettuce detoxes your system, making your skin glow. Besides eating lettuce, you can use lettuce juice or extract to wash your face in the morning to promote skin health.
Lettuce consumption is believed to promote hair health as well. This is mostly due to rich vitamin K content. This vitamin strengthens the hair strength and stops the hair loss.
The potassium in lettuce wards off the premature graying of the hair. Add lettuce to your daily salad or wash your hair with fresh lettuce juice a few minutes before shampooing or conditioning in order to increase your hair health.
14.Speed up the metabolic rate and increase the muscle strength
Even though more research is required to scientifically prove this information, lettuce helps to speed up the metabolic rate and acts as a powerful source of energy.
The high potassium content of lettuce promotes the muscle growth while a deficiency of this mineral leads to the overall muscle weakness. A Swedish research showed that consuming greens, like lettuce, aids in increasing the muscle strength.
15.Ensure healthy pregnancy
Lettuce is good for pregnant women due to its rich folate content. Folate is believed to lower the risk of developing birth defects.
The vitamin K found in lettuce can decrease the likelihood of hemorrhaging that can happen during childbirth. Plus, the fiber content of lettuce treats constipation that often affects pregnant women.
There are nearly 64 micrograms of folate in half a cup of lettuce, so you don’t need to eat a lot of lettuce to increase your folate intake.
Despite being known as a rabbit food, lettuce is actually good for us and these health benefits prove it. Incorporate at least 2 cups of any type or mixed types of lettuce for ultimate health and energy.