Lettuce (Lactuca sativa) is one of the most delicate salad plants in the world, grown most often for its leaves, but sometimes for its stem and seeds. It is an annual that belongs to the sunflower family Asteraceae. Lettuce is usually eaten cold and raw, in salads, hamburgers, tacos and several other dishes. There are basically 6 different types of lettuce, namely Butterhead (Boston or Bibb), Chinese lettuce, Crisphead (Iceberg), Looseleaf, Romaine and Summer Crisp (Batavia), each having many varieties that vary in nutritional content.
Nutritional Content of Lettuce
All lettuce varieties have low calorific values but have a varied nutritional content. Lettuce in general is a good source of chlorophyll, vitamin K, vitamin C, B-vitamins, calcium, fiber, folate and iron. Lettuce also contains significant amounts of lutein, beta-carotene, lycopene, potassium, alkaloids and zea-xanthin.
Health Benefits of Lettuce
1. Weight loss: Lettuce is an amazing food for dieters owing to its low calorific value combined with its fiber content that gives a feeling of fullness for long.
2. Complete protein: Quite surprisingly, lettuce can be a good source of proteins, and complete proteins at that! That means that they have all 8 essential amino acids.
3. Heart healthy: Lettuce’s vitamin C and beta-carotene work in tandem to prevent the oxidation of cholesterol, thus preventing the buildup of plaque.
4. Promotes restoration of tissue: Magnesium in lettuce plays an important role in the recovery of tissue, nerves, brain and muscles. Eating lettuce can accelerate recovery of tired muscles, tissues and nerves.
5. Helps with insomnia: Lettuce’s lactucarium content that can be noticed when the leaves are cut, helps induce relaxation and sleep.
6. Maintain blood sugar levels: Lettuce has a very low calorific value coupled with its nearly zero glycemic index helps maintaining blood sugar levels.
7. Protects eyesight: Beta-carotene is selectively absorbed in a selective way by the macular lutea. Lettuce contains beta-carotene and the regular consumption of beta-carotenes is known to lower risks of macular and degenerative eye diseases.
8. Detoxification: The abundance of minerals and nutrients found in lettuce along with its high water content helps remove toxins from the body.
9. Lettuce contains iron which is an important component of blood hemoglobin and is beneficial in the fight against many heart diseases.
10. Promotes healthy digestion: The good amounts of fiber in lettuce protects the colon and maintains regular bowel movement helping to relieve constipation.
11. Lettuce is alkaline forming in the body and helps maintain the acid/alkaline balance in the body. This promotes good energy levels, clear thinking, good sleep and youthful skin.
12. Lettuce is a good food during pregnancy and lactation, as its folic acid content helps prevent megaloblastic anemia. Eating lettuce can a positive effect on the secretion of the hormone progesterone.
Gardening is an amazing activity and it provides you with fresh healthy food. Why not grow lettuce at home? Order Heirloom Lettuce Seeds from our online organic store. For assistance on growing, read How to Grow Lettuce or contact us. Happy Gardening and Healthy Eating!