Lettuce leaves are extremely nutritious. Their benefits can be called nothing short of being massive. They are high in minerals and vitamins and other essential nutrients. They come packed with benefits for skin, hair and health. They help solve a host of health problems and maintain your overall well-being. Here is an article briefly describing the various benefits of lettuce leaves.
Indigenously, it is found in the Mediterranean and the Middle East. In India, it is commonly known as ‘salad patta’ in Hindi. As its name suggests, it is most widely used in salads all over the world and finds its place among the list of nutritious foods. Apart from salads, it is also used in soups, sandwiches and wraps. It is also used for the purpose of juicing.
Lettuce belongs to the scientific genus Lactuca, and Lactuca sativa are one of the most widely known species of lettuce. It is also called as ‘Kasmisaag’ in Hindi, ‘Uvarcheera’ in Malayalam, ‘Lettuce Keerai’ in Tamil, and ‘Saladchi Paane’ in Marathi. Lettuce is a seasonal vegetable which is mostly grown in spring when the soil is dry enough to be worked. It is relatively easier to grow and just like other greens, this vegetable is rich in minerals, vitamins and fiber. Several types of lettuce are available such as green or red leaves, romaine, iceberg or asparagus lettuce.
Lettuce: Skin Benefits
With growing pollution levels, exposures to harmful chemicals, stress and improper diet, skin problems have become a common sight these days. In fact, having flawless skin seems like a dream and all those beauty products promising a range of benefits have very little effect whatsoever. It is important to understand that proper supply and absorption of nutrients are vital for a healthy body which includes the skin as well. Green vegetables such as lettuce are a storehouse of vital nutrients, vitamins and fiber which contribute to a healthy skin, keeping skin problems at bay.
Some of the skin benefits of lettuce are as follows:-
1. Revitalizes Skin
Lettuce is a rich source of vitamin A with six leaves providing more than 100% of your DV (daily value) of vitamin A. Vitamin A increases the cell turnover, thus revitalizing your skin (1). It is advised that you include lettuce leaves in your daily diet as much as you can.
2. Supplies Nutrition
It also contains potassium which gives a rich supply of nutrients and oxygen by improving circulation, thus resulting in a healthy and glowing skin (2).
3. Protects Skin From Pollution & UV Rays
The combination of vitamin E and vitamin C in this vegetable helps in keeping your skin healthy as you age (3). Vitamin E also provides protection against the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays and reduces the risk of cataracts and macular degeneration.
4. Glowing Skin
Lettuce leaves are high on fiber. Fiber is really good for cleaning your system. It specially helps in colon cleansing. A clean system always translates into a glowing skin (4).
5. Removes Toxins
Consumption of lettuce stimulates appetite and removes toxins from the body (5). Furthermore, it can also cure deficiency of hemoglobin and mineral salts resulting in clear and radiant skin.
6. Fights Various Skin Problems
The compresses of this vegetable is effective against several skin problems. Boil two salads of the lettuce leaf in 1 liter of water for about 20 minutes. The resulting liquid can be used as a compress on the face and other body parts. This compress can help in curing acne and psoriasis by cleaning the skin. To be effective, compresses should be at room temperature and kept for 10 minutes.
Compresses also help in toning your facial skin and can be used as masks, particularly for dry skin.
Lettuce: Hair Benefits
Just like the rest of the body, your hair also needs adequate supply of nutrients, vitamins and minerals for their growth and health. Being highly nutritious, lettuce offers a range of benefits for your hair.
8. Stimulates Hair Growth
Drinking lettuce juice on a regular basis stimulates hair growth by furnishing food to the nerves and roots of hair (6).
9. Provides Vital Micro-minerals
It contains 8% silicon, 9% phosphorus and an ample supply of sulphur. These three minerals are vital for maintenance of skin, hair and nails.
10. Prevents Hair Fall
Vitamin K is found in good quantities in lettuce leaves. It is important for preventing hair fall. Vitamin K plays an important role in maintaining the health of your hair (7).
11. Prevents Greying
Lettuce leaves are packed in with potassium. Now this helps in preventing greying of hair. It has been found that people who consume lots of lettuce leaves are a lesser risk of greying (8).
12. Provides Nutrition
The primary cause of hair loss is consumption of food in inorganic form such as cereals and devitalized food as the hair does not receive proper nourishment. Consumption of lettuce combats this problem as it provides proper nourishment in the form of essential vitamins and nutrients.
Lettuce: Health Benefits
Lettuce leaves promote general health. This incredible leafy vegetable has more health benefits that you can possibly imagine. Here are few of the health benefits of lettuce leaves:
13. Aids In Better Sleep
The infusion made from lettuce salad has anti spastic effect and acts as a diuretic and sedative. Drinking this infusion induces a good night sleep yielding the resultant benefits to the skin (9).
14. Weight Loss
Lettuce leaves are low calorie, less sugar food plus they have good fiber. Together these two things make it ideal for people trying to lose some weight. The phytonutrients have excellent disease prevention properties too (10).
15. Prevents Lung Cancer And Mouth Cancer
Lettuce leaves are high on vitamin A. Vitamin A helps in preventing cancer. It helps a great deal in lowering the risk on mouth cancer and lung cancer too (11).
16. Increases Metabolism
Iron, calcium, magnesium and potassium present in lettuce leaves increase metabolism of the body. Potassium actually helps in controlling heart rate and blood pressure. Apart from the above-mentioned benefits lettuce leaves are a good source of B-complex (12).
17. Omega-3 Fatty Acids
With a 2:1 ratio of Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids, lettuce is really beneficial for maintaining overall good health (13).
Insomnia is often found to be cured by eating lettuce with its lactucarium content that you see when the leaves are broken or cut. It helps induce relaxation and sleep (14). It has been found to have properties similar to opium other than its toxic side effects.
19. Vitamin C benefits
Vitamin C in lettuce is a rich source of antioxidants that prevent free radical formation and curb unwanted reactions that cause diseases and even cancers (15).
20. Vitamin K
Vitamin K content that is present in almost three times the amount than that in the normal iceberg lettuce is necessary for the body, especially for women in the pre-conception and pregnancy periods. This vitamin prevents neural defects during pregnancy (16).
Iron is important for the blood hemoglobin amount and also for many other heart-related benefits. Iron content can be very well-balanced with lettuce leaves as they provide almost four times the iron in the romaine variety than in the iceberg one (17).
Proteins are the building blocks of a developing body. They are needed for muscle development and many important metabolic reactions in the body. Lettuce contains a good 20 per cent of proteins in its total quantity (18).
23. Low Glycemic Index
Due to the less caloric value of lettuce, its glycemic index is considered zero and thus, its consumption helps in maintaining blood sugar levels (19).
24. Alkaline Formation And Detoxification
The minerals found in lettuce help in alkaline formation which is accompanied by the removal of toxins from the body (20).
Lettuce Nutrition Facts
Lettuce, Green Leaf Lettuce, Iceberg Lettuce, Red Leaf Lettuce, and Romaine Lettuce.
|Cholesterol 0 mg||0%|
|Total fat 0.2 g||0%|
|Saturated fat 0 g||0%|
|Polyunsaturated fat 0.1 g|
|Monounsaturated fat 0 g|
|Amount Per 1 leaf inner (5 g)|
|Sodium 28 mg||1%|
|Potassium 194 mg||5%|
|Total Carbohydrate 2.9 g||0%|
|Dietary fiber 1.3 g||5%|
|Sugar 0.8 g|
|Protein 1.4 g||2%|
|Vitamin A||148%||Vitamin C||15%|
|Vitamin B-6||5%||Vitamin B-12||0%|
*Per cent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
How to Select and Store?
Proper selection plays a vital role in ensuring that you are buying fresh vegetables. As far as lettuce is concerned, always prefer whole heads of lettuce over loose lettuce leaves as they are fresher and more nutritious. Also, ensure that the leaves are crisp, tender and brightly colored. Lettuce can be best enjoyed if it is fresh and crisp. Dark green veggies are great sources of vitamin C, folate, beta-carotene, iron, calcium, iron and dietary fiber. Therefore, try to look for dark colored leaves. Lettuce is delicious as long as it is fresh. While shopping for lettuce, you should avoid bunches that are limp, wilting, brownish or have rust, spots or holes on them. You might find romaine lettuce which is slightly brownish along the edges of the outer leaves. This does not matter as long as the rest of the head is fresh and green.
Lettuce is a delicate vegetable and proper storage is crucial for maintaining its freshness. Storing lettuce is quite an uphill task as its leaves are prone to bruising if roughly handled. Moreover, greens do not last for long. Hence, you should give up the idea of stocking lettuce for future use. Iceberg and romaine lettuce can be stored for up to 10 days and red and green leaf lettuces for about 4 days. The best way to store lettuce is to keep it unwashed in an airtight container or plastic bag and store it in the crisper section of the refrigerator. Also ensure to keep it away from ethylene gas producing fruits such as apples, bananas or pears as they accelerate the deterioration of lettuce by increasing brown spots on the leaves and causing spoilage. Bunches of lettuce should be checked for insects and the leaves having roots should be placed in a glass of water with a bag over the leaves and stored in the refrigerator. The most difficult part about storing lettuce is maintaining the moisture level. Too much moisture suffocates the lettuce leaves due to condensation, causing the lettuce to spoil faster. More moisture also results in more production of ethylene gas which speeds up decay and spoilage. Some moisture, though, is necessary to ensure that the leaves stay crisp and do not dry out. Lettuce should be kept moist by wrapping it in a slightly damp paper towel or zip top bag. This enables the lettuce to absorb excess water without dehydrating the leaves. The crisper section of the refrigerator is the best spot for storing lettuce due to controlled and consistent humidity.
Tips for Usage
The dark, richly colored varieties of lettuce such as dark green, red or purple ones are the richest in nutritional value indicated by the presence of vitamin A and other antioxidants such as carotenoids and lutein, which is why it is considered as one of the world’s most popular vegetables.
Lettuce is mostly eaten raw so before serving remove any brown, slimy, wilted or decayed leaves. The leaves should be washed thoroughly and dried to remove any dirt or insects. Lettuce is most commonly used in salads by regular lettuce eaters. Given below are certain tips for preparing lettuce before serving it in the form of salad.
- Wash the leaves in cold water. Avoid washing it in running water as it might damage the leaves and gently pat the leaves to dry them.
- Place the bunch on the chopping board and pound the core hard. This will loosen the leaves and make them easier to remove.
- Holding the core firmly in one hand and lettuce in another, twist the core to separate the leaves from it.
- Place the leaves in a salad spinner to dry. Tear them instead of cutting with a knife so that they do not get bruised.
- Any dressing to the salad should be added just before serving it so that the leaves remain crisp.
Apart from being eaten in salads, lettuce can also be cooked and made into dishes that can serve as a delightful treat. Being crisp, mild, soft and buttery lettuce can suit all tastes and form part of many dishes, making them more interesting.
- This wonderful vegetable can be braised, steamed, sautéed and even grilled to create something that is pleasing to the taste-buds besides being nutritious. Try adding some extra virgin olive oil to halved radicchio or romaine lettuce and grill unless they are softened and browned.
- Lettuce can be easily used along with other vegetables in burgers, sandwiches, and wraps.
- You can try using an entire head of lettuce in a smoothie. It is advisable to add the fruits and blend it first and then add lettuce leaves into the smoothie. You can make a smoothie using fruits like bananas, strawberries or mangoes in combination with an entire head of romaine lettuce.
Lettuce Leaves Recipes
Following recipes show you a great way of soaking in the benefits of lettuce leaves through your dishes.
Wash lettuce leaves properly. Finely chop onions and lettuce leaves. Add butter to a pan and heat it. Sauté onions and lettuce in butter for few minutes. Now add some milk and some water. Let it cook well for around 10 minutes. Once it cools off completely, blend it well in a blender or grinder, making a smooth puree. Put it back to the pan and bring it to a boil. Finally, add some black pepper and salt and serve hot.
Chop green bell peppers, cherry tomatoes, lettuce, and cucumber. Now add a cup full of garlic croutons to this and some nuts. Whisk all ingredients and put it into the refrigerator. Now take some olive oil, vinegar, roasted cumin powder, black pepper powder cinnamon powder and castor sugar or jaggery syrup. Now add all vegetables to it and serve fresh.
Word Of Caution
Lettuce leaves are home to pesticides and other organisms. They love lettuce as much as you do. Make sure you wash it clean before consumption every time.
Hope you can put this information shared on lettuce leaves to use. Do let us know what you think about the article and leave us a comment. Stay healthy!
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