10 Health Benefits of Lettuce

| February 24, 2013 | 5 Comments

salad ingredients

Lettuce has been called ‘the perfect weight loss food’ and ‘rabbit food’ but it is so much more. With amazing healing benefits and 20% protein by calories it could be called ‘gorilla food’ instead.

Discover all the benefits and history of this amazing Powerfood, and its few concerns.

Note:  choose romaine lettuce if you can instead of iceberg.  Romaine has one of the highest nutritional values in the lettuce category.  Most people are familiar with iceberg lettuce, which has the lowest nutrition.  

Comparing these two, romaine has…

Less sugars and sodium
Twice the protein
Twice the calcium
Three times the Vitamin K
Four times the iron
Eight times the Vitamin C
Seventeen times the Vitamin A (Nutritional data originally from USDA SR-21)

This follows the general rule to choose reds and green and dark coloured foods over whites.  This means that red and green leaf lettuce is more nutritional than iceberg also.

romaine lettuce

10 Health Benefits:

1.  Low Calorie Content and almost no fat.   

Lettuce has only 12 calories for 1 shredded cup.
This is why it is so good for weight loss. 

2.  High in Fiber and Cellulose

Another reason it is good for weight loss.
This fiber also helps remove bile salts from the body. When the body replaces these salts it breaks down cholesterol to do so.  This is why lettuce is also good for your heart! 

3.  Heart Healthy

Lettuce’s vitamin C and beta-carotene work together to prevent the oxidation of cholesterol.  This prevents the build up of plaque.

4.  Omega-3 Fatty acids.

Romaine lettuce has a 2/1 ratio of omega-3 to omega-6.  That’s a great ratio.
The fat content in lettuce is not significant UNLESS you eat a lot but we actually suggest you do.

5.  Complete Protein

Romaine lettuce has 20 % of its calories in protein. Like all whole foods, much of this protein is complete but that amount can be increased by combining with balancing proteins.

Question:  What does a 400 pound gorilla eat at the salad bar?

Answer:  Anything he wants to!

I don’t imagine gorillas gain all that muscle by just eating lettuce but here is a short video of one doing that very thing!

6.  Helps with Insomnia

The white fluid that you see when you break or cut lettuce leaves is called lactucarium.

This has relaxing and sleep inducing properties similar to opium but without the strong side effects. Simply eat a few leaves or drink some lettuce juice.

7.  Lettuce is Alkaline Forming

The minerals in lettuce help to remove toxins and keep your acid/alkaline balance in order.  Once you are balanced on this level there are a host of benefits including greater energy, clearer thinking, deep restful sleep, and youthful skin. To read more go to Balance Your Body – With Alkaline Balance.

8.  Low Glycemic Index

Lettuce has an average glycemic index of 15 but because it has so few calories its glycemic load is considered zero. For anyone watching their blood sugars for medical reasons this is great.  Low glycemic index also is great of weight management.

9.  Whole live food

Lettuce is almost always eaten raw which has many micronutrients not found in cooked or processed food.  Eating raw food also adds vital energies not isolated or recognized by nutritional science.

The large food corporations have not found a way to package lettuce long term or stick it in cans or boxes.  Let’s hope they never do!
In fact, lettuce is one of the few foods which can be found organic and prewashed already in bins for you to eat immediately.

10.   Lettuce Tastes Great.

Even though lettuce has very low calories, many varieties still have a sweet taste. To get maximum benefit from your food you should really WANT to eat it with your whole body not just your mind saying it is good for you. If you like the bitter taste you can find that too!

butter lettuce

Interesting Facts and History:

  • Lettuce is part of the daisy and thistle family!
  • Lettuce was served on the tables of the Persian kings – 6th century B.C
  • It was revered by the Greeks and Romans for basic food and medicine (sleep induction)
  • Emperor Caesar Augustus built a statue praising lettuce as he believed eating it had cured him of an illness!
  • The Chinese consider lettuce good luck and make sure eat it on special occasions.
  • Lettuce was introduced to North America by none other than Christopher Columbus.  
  • Wild lettuce is common around the globe.

Types of Lettuce:

1. Romaine – This is your classic Greek salad. Sweet and crunchy.

2. Crisphead – Iceberg.  White on the inside.  Crisp texture and mild taste.

3. Butterhead – Boston and Bibb. Large green leaves that are soft and sweet.

4.  Red and Green Leaf:  delicate taste and leaves.

Arugula, watercress and mizuna are NOT classified as lettuce but are often mixed with lettuce in salads.  They have similar nutritional benefits.

As you might guess, my personal favorite is romaine.  I love the taste and nutrition but it is also much less likely to spoil than some of the others. I always have many bags of organic romaine heads in my fridge.  I also keep a tub of organic field green or spring mix but much less since it spoils so easily.

Lettuce Cautions:

Unless you buy organic, lettuce can contain a lot of toxins and pesticides. This is because

  1. It has a high surface to weight ratio.
  2. Bugs and microorganisms love those tender lettuce leaves just as much as you.

Therefore:  Lettuce in on the list of Dirty Dozen – those foods you SHOULD buy organic. Discover the other 11 foods here:  12 Foods You Must Eat Organic.

Luckily organic lettuce is getting more and more available.

lettuce leaf

Lettuce Recipes: 

Perfect Vegetable Juice:    Juicing is the perfect food for those with poor digestion and significant health challenges.

Green Raspberry Smoothie/Pudding:  It’s a healthy smoothie.  It’s a tasty desert.  Whatever you wish!

Green Nori Salad:  Enjoy the benefits of lettuce plus the nutritional punch from sea vegetables.

Alkalizing Mixed Green Salad:  This is your basic wonderful salad with lots of tastes and textures.

Copyright © Randy Fritz You are welcome to share this article with anyone who you think may benefit from this information as long as you give credit to Real Food for Life by including the link to the home page www.RealFoodforLife.com or the direct link to the post.

About Randy Fritz

A certified Nutritional Consultant, Randy has been teaching health and personal development principles for over 30 years and has personally helped individuals with over 10,000 Body Health Assessments.

Category: Nutrition, PowerFoods

Comments (5)

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  1. Minnie Pandit says:

    it was wonderful reading enormous benefits of lettuce . I have it growing in my garden ,
    I’ll use them in larger quantities. Thanx!

  2. Randy Fritz says:

    Hi Minnie,
    Good to hear that! I must say though, if you have lettuce growing in your garden RIGHT NOW, I am jealous! Most of my garden in under one foot of snow. Some of it is under three feet of snow.
    Randy

  3. Marijke says:

    Interesting information about the nutrition facts. Romain lettuce is my antacid. I eat it plain by the leaf. Thank you for your informative newsletter.

  4. Randy Fritz says:

    Very interesting about the antacid. Are you saying that if your stomach feels upset, lettuce stops that? If so that is good news for others. Thanks for sharing.

  5. marijke says:

    That’s righ, Randy. I usually eat enough lettuce and other veggies to prevent heartburn, but when it does happen I’ll eat 2-3 leaves of romain and that settles it right down. The large green leaves are the most effective.

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