Egyptians were the ones who firstly cultivated lettuce. Later on it was cultivated by the Romans and Egyptians. It is used as a medicine for treating disturbed blood pressure, insomnia, loss of appetite, tonic for digestive system and intestines and stops sexual urges. The dried latex of lettuce is used as a sedative, anodyne, nasal drops and an anti-spasmodic. Nowadays it is found in South America, Asia, Australia, Africa and Siberia.
Health benefits of Lettuce
The health benefits which are provided by the lettuce are:
1. Anti-inflammatory properties
The anti-inflammatory properties of lettuce help to relieve inflammation. The experimental models show that the inflammation which is caused by biocatalysts such as carrageenan and lipoxygenase is controlled by lettuce.
2. Help prevent age-related macular degeneration
The presence of zeaxanthin improves the eyesight and also prevents cataracts. The flavonoids eliminate the lung cancer and mouth.
It quenches the thirst and rehydrates the cells. It also clears the toxins and harmful fats from the clogged cells.
The antioxidants counteract the harmful substances of the body, potassium erase toxins from the body and fiber cleanses the colon.
It cures nervous excitability, restlessness, sleep disorders and anxiety. A glass of lettuce and celery juice should be drink before bedtime which helps to promote the restful sleep. It also helps to calm and relax when one feels nervous or anxious.
6. Protects neuronal cells
Lettuce extracts helps to reduce the neuron cell death with the glucose/serum deprivation (GSD). Lettuce has the ability to treat the neurodegenerative diseases.
7. Lowers cholesterol levels
Lettuce could reduce the level of cholesterol which is the cause of cardiovascular disease and other dangerous conditions. High cholesterol level is the cause of strokes and heart attacks. The study which was conducted on mice shows that those mice who were fed lettuce, their cholesterol levels was decreased.
8. Induces sleep
The lettuce helps to promote better sleep. The research which was made on the lettuce extracts shows the isolation of a depression chemical. Lactucarium in lettuce helps to relax the body and provides the sound sleep.
9. Soothing sexual arousal
The experiment made at the University of California shows that lettuce provides the calming effect on the sexual desire. It helps the men who suffer from premature ejaculation.
10. Antioxidant properties
The studies reports that the antioxidants present in lettuce has the free radical-scavenging capabilities. The antioxidants counteract the free radicals which damage the healthy cells, tissues and DNA and leads to the mutation of healthy cells to the cancer cells. It counteracts the free radicals.
11. Antimicrobial properties
Antimicrobial properties are possessed in the latex of lettuce. It contains the enzymes such as glucanases and antimicrobial properties such as cardenolids and terpens.
12. Controls anxiety
The research conducted shows that an anxiolytic property is possessed in lettuce. The study conducted on the lab animals shows that the locomotive activity was lowered by the lettuce extracts.
13. Anti-cancer properties
The research which was conducted on human cancer cells such as breast cancer cells and leukemia cells, lettuce extracts were able to control the cancer cells to some extent. 3 kg of lettuce consumption helps to reduce the leukemia cells by 50%.
As it possesses 3 percent of carbohydrates, it could be used by the diabetic people as well. It can be eaten as a salad or as a vegetable with regular bread.
Benefits of Lettuce for skin
Stress, pollution levels, exposure to harmful chemicals and improper diet are the causes of skin problems. For a good healthy skin, proper supply and absorption of nutrients is necessary. Some skin benefits provided by lettuce are:
- Fighting various skin problems
The lettuce compress can treat the acne and other skin problems. Two salads of lettuce leaf are boiled in one liter of water for 20 minutes to make a compress. Use it in the body parts and face after keeping it in the room temperature for 10 minutes. The compress made from the lettuce effectively cures the skin related problems.
- Helps in revitalizing skin
The consumption of six leaves of lettuce in a day provides 100 percent of vitamin A which is essential to revitalize the skin with the increase in cell power. To make the skin healthier, it should be added to the daily diet.
- Protects skin from UV rays
Lettuce possesses Vitamin E and Vitamin C which helps to maintain the healthy skin. Vitamin E protects the skin from harmful UV rays of the sun and also lowers the chances of muscular degeneration and cataracts.
- Removes toxin from skin
The lettuce vitalizes the appetite and clears the toxins from the body. It cures the deficiencies of haemoglobin and mineral salts and provides the radiant and clear skin.
- Supplying nutrition to skin
Lettuce possesses potassium which improves the nutrients supply and oxygen circulation by providing the glowing and healthy skin.
- Toning skin and also for better sleep
The lettuce compress tones the facial skin. It is effective for the dry skin people. The infusion of lettuce salad provides an antispastic effect and acts as a sedative and diuretic.
Benefits of Lettuce for hair
It provides essential supply of nutrients, vitamins and minerals to the hair to promote the healthy growth. Some of the benefits are described below:
- Provide essential micro minerals for hair
It possesses 9% phosphorus, 8% silicon and sulphur which help to maintain healthy nail, skin and hair.
- Provides nutrition for hair
It nourishes the hair by providing essential and adequate amount of vitamins and minerals.
- Stimulating hair growth
The daily intake of lettuce juice helps to transfer the food to the nerves and roots of the hair. It also assists in the growth of hair.
Benefits of Lettuce in Pregnancy
1. Prevent birth defects
The presence of folic acid prevents the new born from the birth defects. The presence of minerals and vitamins promotes healthy pregnancy. Vitamin K prevents the chances of haemorrhages.
2. Provides nutrition during pregnancy and lactation
The presence of folic acid eliminates megaloblastic anemia during pregnancy. The experiment shows that the mother who eats lettuce, they were free from nutritional anemia.
3. Improving fertility
Lettuce possesses vitamin C and folates. Vitamin C enhances the immune system and prevents the infection. Folate maintains the healthy fetus during the pregnancy and also improves the reproductive health of men and women.
4. Promotes digestion
The presence of fiber relieves constipation and also boosts the digestion process. The presence of chlorides assists digestion, cleanses the colon and manages the body fluids.
5. Reduce cholesterol levels
Lettuce regulates the level of cholesterol which eliminates the chances of stroke and heart attack. It should be consumed to have a healthy life.
6. Anti-cancer benefits
Lettuce prevents the development and growth of leukemia and breast cancer. It possesses antioxidants which help to fight against cancers. According to the research made by American Cancer Institute and the American Cancer Society, the presence of vitamin C and A prevents from cancers.
Health benefits of lettuce for babies
1. Good source of vitamins
It possess Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Vitamin B complex and Vitamin E. Vitamin C helps to strengthen the immune system, Vitamin B complex develops the brain, enhances the RBC production and Vitamin A maintains the healthy eyesight.
2. Good source of iron
Iron is essential for the production of red blood cells whose main component is haemoglobin. Haemoglobin transports the oxygen to the organs and cells in the body.
3. Encouraged weight loss
Lettuce possess huge amount of fiber which assists digestion and calorie stabilization. It also possesses high cellulose that assist in keeping full for hours. It reduces the appetite and provides satiety. As it is low in calorie, it eliminates the unwanted fats. It hydrates the body as it is rich in water.
4. Conditioned heart health
Lettuce is rich in Vitamin C and beta-carotene which reduces the oxidation of cholesterol. The presence of omega-3 fatty acids helps to maintain the normal fats in the body. It reduces the chances of heart ailments and heart attacks.
5. Boost metabolic rates
Lettuce contains 20% of the protein. It enhances the metabolism which leads to facilitate digestion, weight loss and regulates bowel movement. It prevents the obesity and causes the disease and illness such as high blood pressure, diabetes and heart ailments.
6. Sturdier bones
Lettuce is rich in Vitamin K which helps to repair the bone cells. It makes the bones strong and healthy. Vitamin K strengthens the bones and prevents osteoporosis as well as lowers the brain damage. It also prevents Alzheimer’s disease. Lettuce is a great source of phosphorus and calcium which is essential to maintain healthy bones.
7. Develops Strong Body Resistance
Lettuce possesses high Vitamin which prevents from disease and infections such as flu, cold and cough. The intake of lettuce enhances the stronger body. It clears the harmful toxins from the body. It relieves the symptoms of asthma and bronchitis.
8. Stabilizes eye health
Lettuce contains Zea-xanthin which is a carotenoid that enhances the eye health and prevents visual loss, age-related blindness, ARMD etc. It also improves the eye health. The daily intake of lettuce helps to improve eye vision.
9. Rich source of antioxidants
The presence of antioxidants helps to reduce the oxidative stress which is the cause of various diseases. It helps to reduce the effect of antioxidants and eliminates the growth of diseases.
10. Antimicrobial properties
The infectious microbes could be reduced by the boiled lettuce juice and fresh lettuce juice due to the presence of various microbial properties. It can control the viruses as well.
11. Neuroprotective properties
The daily intake of lettuce protects the neurons. The damage of neurons could be lowered with the regular consumption of lettuce.
Types of Lettuce
How to select and store
Whole heads lettuce are fresher and nutritious than loose leaves. The leaves should be tender, crisp and brightly colored. The veggies which are dark green are rich in folate, iron, vitamin C, beta-carotene, calcium and dietary fiber. The bunches having wilt, rust, holes, limp, spots should be avoided.
It does not last long. Green leaf lettuce could be stored for 4 days and iceberg and romaine lettuce could be stored for 10 days. It should be stored in an airtight container by unwashed and place it in the crisper section of refrigerator. It should not be kept with bananas, apples and pears. Lettuce should be placed moist in a damp paper towel or zip top bag by wrapping. It eliminates the dehydration of leaves without absorbing excess water.
Tips for usage
Lettuce in green, purple and red possess high nutritional value. It possesses Vitamin A and antioxidants such as lutein and carotenoids.
The tips to prepare lettuce are:
- The leaves should be washed in cold water. It should not be washed in running water because the leaves might be damaged and it should be dried by patting the leaves.
- The bunch should be pound core hard by placing it on the chopping board so that the leaves would be loosened and it will be easier to remove.
- In one hand hold the core firmly and on another hold lettuce, the core should be twisted to separate the leaves.
- The leaves should be placed in a salad pinner to dry. It should be teared so that it does not get bruised.
- The salad should be dressed just before serving it so that the leaves are crispy.
- It could be steamed, braised, grilled or steamed. Extra virgin olive oil should be added to the halved radicchio or romaine lettuce and it should be grilled till is browned and softened.
- It is also used in sandwiches, burgers and wraps.
- The head of lettuce could be used in smoothie. The fruits should be blended first and then only the lettuce leaves should be added to the smoothie. The smoothie could be made with the fruits such as strawberries, bananas and mangoes with the head of romaine lettuce.
Lettuce Berries Salad
It can be made by combining with the berries. The lettuce should be cleaned, washed, dried and chopped into the bite size pieces. Romaine lettuce or combination of iceberg lettuce and romaine lettuce could be used. Blackberries, strawberries, cranberries and blue berries could be used. 5-6 prunes, raisins, chopped almonds and few peeled orange stems should be added. This salad is loaded with minerals, antioxidants, vitamins, vitamin E and C. This salad also helps to manage the weight.
Soy Lettuce Wraps
Half cup of soy granules should be added with salt and water. The chopped peppers, onions, spinach and carrots should sauté lightly in the olive oil. After removing the water from the soy, it should be added to the vegetables with cottage cheese crumble or tofu, salt, chopped green chillies, chopped jalapeno and black pepper powder. It should be cooked for 2-3 minutes. In one lettuce leaf, place this mix and wrap it by rolling the leaf and secure it with toothpick. The soy could be substituted with eggs or chicken.
Coconut-papaya lettuce wraps
Mince the raw papaya and fresh coconut. Heat some olive or coconut oil in a pan and add mustard seeds. When the seeds splatter, it should be removed from heat. It should be poured over the minced papaya and coconut. Mix it well. Salt, coriander leaves and chopped green chillies should be added. The minced carrots or chopped peppers could be added to the filling. Then wrap the lettuce leaves by filling it inside.
Side Effects of Lettuce
Some people might experience allergies. The studies show that it produces the allergies as the allergen proteins are identified. Before eating, skin prick should be tested.