- 11 Impressive Health Benefits of Lettuce
- 1. Lettuce Induces Sleep
- 2. Anti-inflammatory Properties
- 3. Anti-bacterial and Anti-fungal Properties
- 4. Keeps You Hydrated
- 5. Lettuce is a Neuro-protector
- 6. Helps Control Anxiety
- 7. Rich in Omega 3 Fatty Acids
- 8. Promotes Muscle Development
- 9. Among the Best Foods for Weight Loss
- 10. Offers Skin Care Benefits
- 11. Beneficial For Pregnancy Development
The word Lettuce is derived from the Roman ‘lactuca sativa’; however, it did not originate in Rome, but rather in Egypt. Ancient Egyptians were the first to cultivate lettuce for its oil-rich seeds. The vegetable was revered by Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans for its religious and medicinal significance.
Today, lettuce is cultivated as a leaf vegetable in nearly all parts of the world. It is an annual plant, which can only be harvested 65 to 130 days after sowing. Lettuce belongs to the daisy family, Asteraceae. The leafy vegetable is often eaten raw as a salad, or used as a food wrap.
There are several types of lettuce such as the Iceberg, Romaine, Crisphead, and Butterhead, which are amongst the best-known varieties. All lettuce vegetables feature a crunchy texture and a mild sweet taste. Most lettuces are green to yellow green, but some may be brownish purple.
Having a bowl of lettuce salad every day can do you a world of good. Lettuce is an excellent source of fiber and cellulose, which improves digestion and promotes long-term weight loss. It is also rich in vitamins A, C, E, and K as well as minerals including potassium, magnesium, iron, calcium, and zinc.
Nutrition Info (per 100 g)
Protein 1.4 g – 3% RA
Vitamin A 7404 IU – 148% RDA
Vitamin C 18.0 mg – 30% RDA
Vitamin E 0.3 mg – 1% RDA
Vitamin K 174 mcg – 217% RDA
Thiamin 0.1 mg – 5% RDA
Riboflavin 0.1 mg – 5% RDA
Niacin 0.4 mg – 2% RDA
Vitamin B6 0.1 mg – 4% RDA
Folate 38 mcg – 10% RDA
Pantothenic Acid 0.1 mg – 1% RDA
Choline 13.4 mg
Calcium 36 mg – 4% RDA
Iron 0.9 mg – 5% RDA
Magnesium 13 mg – 3% RDA
Phosphorus 29 mg – 3% RDA
Potassium 194 mg – 6% RDA
Sodium 28 mg – 1% RDA
Zinc 0.2 mg – 1% RDA
Manganese 0.3 mg 13% RDA
Selenium 0.6 mcg – 1% RDA
11 Impressive Health Benefits of Lettuce
1. Lettuce Induces Sleep
One of the oldest benefits of lettuce, which dates back to medieval times, is its property to induce sleep. This particular benefit has already been confirmed by studies. Lettuce contains lactucarium, a chemical that shares the same properties and similar structure to opium. Lactucarium is a white, milky substance found within the leaves. This chemical helps you relax and enhances your sleep quality; however, it has no harmful side effects when compared to opium.
2. Anti-inflammatory Properties
Inflammation adversely affects many aspects of your health and can cause problems including dental issues, lower back pain, and migraines to name a few. However, these can be prevented with lettuce as part of your diet. Lettuce extracts contain biochemical catalysts, lipoxygenase and carrageenan, which have shown significant control over inflammation.
3. Anti-bacterial and Anti-fungal Properties
Lettuce possesses anti-fungal properties when digested. The latex of lettuce, which is called lactucarium can eradicate various types of yeasts including Candida albicans.
Moreover, lettuce can help protect your body from harmful microbes. This property is due to its biochemical terpenes and cardenolides.
4. Keeps You Hydrated
You can eat a bowl of lettuce salad to keep you well hydrated. Lettuce contains a significant amount of potassium, which plays a vital role in maintaining fluid balance in your body. Fluid balance is very important so that our organs can function well, which is why athletes are recommended to eat foods high in potassium after rigid sports events to regain fluid equilibrium.
Potassium aIso promotes the transmission of electrical signals all over the body and improves the efficiency of nerve reflexes. As a result, aids in muscle contraction to execute numerous tasks without being exhausted too quickly.
5. Lettuce is a Neuro-protector
The death of neurons impairs the physical connections in the brain that make up your memory. Hence, neuronal death could lead to neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s. Lettuce, on the other hand, has the potential to fight the possibility of such diseases. Lettuce extracts can reduce neuron cell death owing to its role in glucose metabolism, which as it turns out plays an integral role in progression of the condition.
The neurological benefits of lettuce have long been discovered since the ancient times to treat insomnia, improve memory retention, and preserve cognitive function well into old age.
6. Helps Control Anxiety
Further research has concluded that lettuce features not only sedative properties but also anxiolytic properties as well. Hence, lettuce eaten often can help to relieve stress and anxiety.
7. Rich in Omega 3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 fatty acids are among the most important substances that our body needs for optimum health. An important nutrient such as the Omega 3 provides both physical and mental benefits. Apart from fish, lettuce is also abundant with this nutrient, making it ideal if you are a vegan or vegetarian.
Omega 3 improves your cardiovascular health as it removes and prevents plaque that hardens your arteries; thus, promoting blood flow without forcing your heart to pump too hard. As a result, omega 3 reduces your risk of stroke, hypertension, and cardiac arrest.
Furthermore, omega 3 helps lower bad cholesterol levels or LDL as well as blood pressure. In addition, omega 3 helps maintain normal blood viscosity, and plays a role in maintaining optimal brain function.
8. Promotes Muscle Development
Not all protein sources are found in meat. Lettuce, for example, is a vegetable which contains a little protein, but also enzymes that make protein synthesis more efficient. Though lettuce alone is unlikely to result in accrual of a lot of muscle, its synergistic effect with other protein sources makes it as important as ever.
9. Among the Best Foods for Weight Loss
Lettuce is among the best foods for weight loss. It is rich in fiber and cellulose, but low in calories and has no fat. Cellulose provides a feeling of fullness and delays gastric emptying; thus, it helps prevent you from overeating. It also aids in waste removal, and can promote the excretion of bile acids in feces, which in turn reduces cholesterol levels.
10. Offers Skin Care Benefits
People have to understand that improving skin quality starts within the body. Consuming nutritious foods such as lettuce provides you a range of skin care benefits.
Lettuce contains terpenes, cardenolides, and glucanases. These enzymes, which comprise the lettuce’s antibacterial properties, can ward help to reduce the likelihood of bacterial infections of the skin. Likewise, lettuce contains omega 3 that can treat minor skin infections linked to acne.
Moreover, omega 3 fatty acids found in lettuce can moisturize skin and manage the production of sebum. Omega 3 is also a potent antioxidant that could slow down the degeneration of skin cells. Thanks to the combination of Vitamin C and omega-3 found in lettuce, collagen synthesis is increased, and cell membranes are protected from excessive water loss, both necessary for the maintenance of good skin health.
11. Beneficial For Pregnancy Development
Lettuce is abundant in vitamin K, an indispensable vitamin for pregnant women. Vitamin K helps prevents neural defects during gestation and hemorrhage during childbirth. Likewise, lettuce contains folate that is essential for the DNA synthesis during pregnancy.
For thousands of years, lettuce has been cultivated not just for food, but also for the health benefits it provides. Lettuce was an important part of the Egyptian, Greek, and Roman diet based on ancient paintings and recorded history.
Eating green vegetables such as lettuce is a great way to provide your body the nutrients it needs. Aside from its wealth of vitamins and minerals, lettuce contains several enzymes that give its anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, and anxiolytic properties. Moreover, lettuce contains sedative properties similar to opium, but without the harmful side effects.
Lettuce is often eaten raw in salads or as food wrapping, but another way to make most of its health benefits is through juicing, by combining with other fruits and vegetables of your choice. However you prefer it, just be sure to take advantage of all it has to offer.