Health Benefits Of Lettuce

About Lettuce And Uses Of Lettuce

Latin Name : Lactuca sativa

Lettuce is a leafy vegetable usually consumed raw but sometimes cultivated for its stem and seeds.

Lettuce cultivation first started in Egypt around 4500 BC, for its seeds that were used to extract oil from. It spread to Greece and Rome from where it spread to Europe somewhere between the 16th and 18th century.

The plant is easy to grow and quite hardy too but requires low temperatures to prevent it from flowering too soon. The tips of the lettuce tend to be bitter, hence it is best to snip them off before consuming, though there are other reasons too that make the lettuce taste bitter.

Though mainly used in salads, lettuce is also used in soups, wraps, sandwiches etc. The variety that is grown for its stem is consumed both raw and cooked. Most of the lettuce is grown for consumption as a vegetable. However some of it is used to produce tobacco free cigarettes.

Most varieties of lettuce leaves when broken exude a white liquid that is somewhat bitter. Do not store lettuce close to apples, bananas and pears as these fruits produce ethylene gas which makes the lettuce leaves turn brown.


different types of lettuce
different types of lettuce | Source

Types Of Lettuce

There are several types of lettuce. The most common are :

  • Crisphead - This type includes the most popular Iceberg variety.
  • Romaine or Cos - This is used in salads.
  • Butterhead - examples are the Boston lettuce and Bibb lettuce.
  • Loose Leaf - This variety does not form heads. Examples are green leaf, red leaf and oak leaf.

As can be seen from the USDA nutrient table below not all the lettuce varieties are the same in nutrient density. Ironically, the most popular variety in the U.S. the iceberg lettuce has the least amount of vitamins and minerals. Though it has more fiber, it is also much higher in sugar than the other varieties.

As you can see, Romaine lettuce is the healthiest as it has less sugar and higher fiber levels. It has excellent levels of vitamin C and good levels of folate and vitamin A. It however provides 10 times as much beta carotene than the iceberg variety and 2 times as much as spinach.

The next healthy is the green leaf, then the red leaf and finally the butter head variety, in this order.

Apart from the above types, there are 3 more types of lettuce :

  • Summer Crisp - A type which is midway between the loose leaf and the crisp head types.
  • Stem lettuce - grown for its stem which is used mainly in Chinese cooking.
  • Oil seed lettuce - Grown for its seeds which are used to extract oil that is used in cooking. The seeds of this variety are much larger than those of the other types.

As a general rule, the darker the leaves the higher the vitamins and mineral content. Therefore, go for the darker leafed lettuce.


Nutrition Facts : Lettuce

,
Lettuce, (Lactuca sativa var. crispa), raw
 
 
green-leaf, Nutritive value per 100 gms
 
 
(Source: USDA National Nutrient data base)
 
Principle
Nutrient Value
Percentage of RDA
Energy
15 Kcal
1%
Carbohydrates
2.79 g
2%
Protein
1.36 g
2%
Total Fat
0.15 g
0.50%
Cholesterol
0 mg
0%
Dietary Fiber
1.3 g
3%
Vitamins
 
 
Folates
38 micro gm
9.50%
Niacin
0.375 mg
2%
Pantothenic acid
0.134 mg
2.50%
Pyridoxine
0.090 mg
7%
Riboflavin
0.080 mg
6%
Thiamin
0.070 mg
6%
Vitamin A
7405 IU
247%
Vitamin C
9.2 mg
15%
Vitamin E-?
0.29 mg
2%
Vitamin K
126.3 micro gm
105%
Electrolytes
 
 
Sodium
28 mg
2%
Potassium
194 mg
4%
Minerals
 
 
Calcium
36 mg
3.50%
Copper
0.029 mg
3%
Iron
0.86 mg
10%
Magnesium
13 mg
3%
Manganese
0.250 mg
11%
Phosphorus
29 mg
4%
Zinc
0.18 mg
1.50%
Phyto-nutrients
 
 
Beta-Carotene
4443 micro gm
--
Beta-Crypto-xanthin
0 micro gm
--
Lutein-zeaxanthin
1730 micro gm
--

Nutrients In Different Types Of Lettuce

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Amount : 1 Cup Shredded Lettuce
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Loose
Leaf
 
 
 
 
 
Red Leaf
Green Leaf
Romaine
Iceberg
Butterhead
 
Nutrient
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Water
26.78 gms
34.23 gms
44.47 gms
68.86 gms
52.60 gms
 
Protein
0.37 gms
0.49 gms
0.58 gms
0.65 gms
0.74 gms
 
Total Lipid (Fat)
0.06 gms
0.05 gms
0.14 gms
0.10 gms
0.12 gms
 
Dietary Fiber
0.3 gms
0.5 gms
1 gm
0.9 gms
0.6 gms
 
Sugars
0.13 gms
0.28 gms
0.56 gms
1.42 gms
0.52 gms
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Minerals
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Calcium
9 mg
13 mg
16 mg
13 mg
19 mg
 
Iron
0.34 mg
0.31 mg
0.46 mg
0.30 mg
0.68 mg
 
Magnesium
3 mg
5 mg
7 mg
5 mg
7 mg
 
Potassium
52 mg
70 mg
116 mg
102 mg
131 mg
 
Sodium
7 mg
10 mg
4 mg
7 mg
3 mg
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Vitamins
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Vitamin C
1 mg
6.5 mg
11.3 mg
2 mg
2 mg
 
Vitamin A
0.105 mg
0.133 mg
0.205 mg
0.018 mg
0.091 mg
 
Riboflavin
0.022 mg
0.029 mg
0.031 mg
0.018 mg
0.034 mg
 
Niacin
0.090 mg
0.135 mg
0.147 mg
0.089 mg
0.196 mg
 
Folate
0.010 mg
0.014 mg
0.064 mg
0.021 mg
0.040 mg
 
Vitamin K
0.0393 mg
0.0625 mg
0.0482 mg
0.0174 mg
0.0563 mg
 
Source : USDA

Nutritional Benefits Of Lettuce

  • Lettuce is a low calorie vegetable with 100 grams providing just 15 calories.
  • Lettuce leaves have excellent amounts of vitamin A and beta carotene. 100 grams of fresh leaves provide 247% of vitamin A and 4443 micro gm of beta carotene ( carotene are precursors of vitamin A). 2 micro gm of caroten is equivalent to 1 IU of vitamin A.
  • Lettuce leaves are rich in vitamin K and C, folates and zeaxanthin.
  • They also contain good levels of the minerals iron, calcium, potassium and manganese and the vitamins B1, B2,and B6.
  • Romaine lettuce has 17% protein, is rich in omega 3 fatty acids and is low in oxalic acid.


Health Benefits Of Lettuce

Lettuce is beneficial in maintaining healthy vision, mucus membranes and skin due to its high vitamin A and beta carotene content.

The excellent vitamin K levels promote healthy bones by increasing bone mass and making them stronger. It also controls neuronal damage in the brain in those affected with Alzheimer's.

The folates prevent neural tube defects in the growing fetus while vitamin C prevents infections and scavenges free radicals.

Zeaxanthin offers protection against macular degeneration in the aged.

Mineral potassium controls heart rate and blood pressure. Copper and iron counteract anemia while manganese also helps in making bones strong as well as being a component of a strong anti oxidant enzyme.

Vitamin C and beta carotene also heart healthy nutrients which prevent oxidation of cholesterol thereby preventing plaque deposition in the arteries.

The fiber content aids heart health by binding the bile salts and removing them from the body forcing the body to produce more bile by breaking down cholesterol which in effect leads to lowering of cholesterol levels.

The folic acid also helps to convert the damaging chemical homocysteine into harmless substances. Homocysteine damages blood vessels and increases risk of heart attack and stroke.

The calcium and phosphorus keep the bones and teeth strong. Flavonoid phytonutrients reduce the risk of various cancers including those of the mouth and lungs.

Lettuce leaves can aid in weight loss. It contains a sedative lactucarium which relaxes the nerves.


Please Rate This Hub. Thank You.

4.4 out of 5 stars from 8 ratings of Health Benefits Of Lettuce

Disclaimer

The information provided in this hub is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult your physician, or health care provider before taking any home remedies, supplements or starting a new health regime.

Storing Lettuce

Fresh Pea And Romaine Lettuce Soup Recipe

Lettuce Wrap Recipe

© 2012 Rajan Singh Jolly

More by this Author


Comments 34 comments

billybuc profile image

billybuc 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

Okay, I'm going to be totally honest here....lettuce is the most boring vegetable there is....totally tasteless to me. Now, having said that, I do eat it, and your hub detailing the benefits is excellent and well-written...but it's still boring food. LOL Happy New Year my friend.


rajan jolly profile image

rajan jolly 3 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA. Author

Bill, I appreciate your honest answer, gladder still that you eat it nonetheless! Thank you.


hawaiianodysseus profile image

hawaiianodysseus 3 years ago from Southeast Washington state

Hi, Rajan! Ever since I was five years old enjoying the lettuce from my Okinawan maternal grandparents' garden, dipped in a mayo/soy sauce dressing, this vegetable has been an integral part of my diet. Your hub opens my eyes in regards to the nutritional value of certain species of lettuce. Thank you for sharing this information. Aloha, and Happy New Year, my friend!


janshares profile image

janshares 3 years ago from Washington, DC

Hi rajan,

I'm enjoying another great hub from you. I am so surprised to hear of so many benefits. I've been told that lettuce has no nutritional value. But that is not so except maybe for the iceberg. I love the crisp, sweet taste of iceberg. I like to mix it with butter, spring mix, and spinach. My second choices are boston, romaine and these others I've recently discovered, green and red mixtures that are very small heads, 4 types in one container. Thanks for the info.


By Lori profile image

By Lori 3 years ago from USA

I think it's a great food because I love salads. There are all sorts of salad recipes that are just really delicious ! I actually crave it sometimes - I tend to use romaine more than others {or sometimes use a mix of different lettuces}- because romaine is good for you.


pstraubie48 profile image

pstraubie48 3 years ago from sunny Florida

Now, the lettuce soup looks interesting. I have never heard of it..I am learning so much from you today. I had no idea there are so many healthful properties in those leaves I sometimes enjoy. Not a big fan of iceberg but like the others. And anything to make my brain work better, I will consume... Now, I'm off to see if any lettuce leaves are hanging out in my fridge. Happy New Year's Eve's eve to you..:) ps


vocalcoach profile image

vocalcoach 3 years ago from Nashville Tn.

Well, I feel the exact opposite then my friend, billy. I LOVE lettuce and eat all kinds. My favorite is romaine. You should see the size of this girl's salads! They are huge and filled with celery, carrots, beets, cucumbers, watercress, organic fuji apples and anything else I happen to have. I always add a sprinkle of raw, unsalted sunflower seeds Sometimes I add some albacore tuna, fresh, or strips of wild salmon. I mix it up with a light spritz of fat free Sesame Soy Ginger Vinaigrette. Oh, yummy.

Now that I've made myself hungry, I'm off to whip up a healthy, tasty salad. But before I do, I want to thank you for this amazing and completely informative hub with the great videos. A huge thanks to you, Rajan and may you and yours have a healthy New Year.


rajan jolly profile image

rajan jolly 3 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA. Author

@ HO - you've been lucky to have been enjoying the health benefits of lettuce from a young age and thanks for welcoming this information about the nutritional aspects of the different types of lettuce. Appreciate your visit and wish you a very Happy New Year.

@ janshares - now that you know which types are healthier maybe you can incorporate those too in you diet. Thanks for the visit and appreciate your support. Wish you a Happy New Year.

@ By Lori - Glad to know you prefer the most nutritious of all the types of lettuce. Having a mixed variety is also good. Thanks for stopping by and a Happy New Year to you.

@ Patricia - I'm glad you like the info. Maybe one of these days you could try out this soup. Thanks for the visit and wish you a Happy New Year.

@ Audrey - That sure is a very healthy salad! Good to know you love all types of lettuce. I'm glad you like the info and the videos.

Thanks very much. Your comments are so uplifting. Wish you a very Happy New Year.


Eiddwen profile image

Eiddwen 3 years ago from Wales

So interesting and useful.

Thank you so much for sharing and here's to a wonderful 2013 for you.

Take care

Eddy.


rajan jolly profile image

rajan jolly 3 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA. Author

Thanks Eddy. i'm glad you like the info. Wish you a very Happy New year.


Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

Gypsy Rose Lee 3 years ago from Riga, Latvia

Voted up and interesting. Glad to know that one of my favorite greens has so many health benefits as well. Thanks for sharing this informative hub. Passing this on. May your New Year be the best ever.


rajan jolly profile image

rajan jolly 3 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA. Author

Thanks Rasma. Always a pleasure to see you.


tirelesstraveler profile image

tirelesstraveler 3 years ago from California

Rajan-Excellent hub! Lettuce is can be used is so many ways. Billy needs to add sunflower seed to his lettuce. lol


rajan jolly profile image

rajan jolly 3 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA. Author

Thanks tirelesstraveller! Appreciate the visit and comments.


shiningirisheyes profile image

shiningirisheyes 3 years ago from Upstate, New York

Rajan - My Mother grows some amazing lettuce and spinach in the summer. Such delicious summertime treats that I greatly miss in the winter months. The taste seems improved when culled from your own garden.


rajan jolly profile image

rajan jolly 3 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA. Author

Shining, you are lucky to have these veggies as fresh as possible and of course at their optimum taste.

Thanks for your input and appreciate your visit.


vespawoolf profile image

vespawoolf 3 years ago from Peru, South America

I must admit, I don't usually think of lettuce as being nutritious. This Hub proves me wrong! We mostly use Romaine lettuce here in Peru. Although we can buy the head lettuce variety, we don't purchase it for use at home. I do like the butter lettuce at times, though. Very interesting!


rajan jolly profile image

rajan jolly 3 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA. Author

You must have felt glad on learning that you were using the healthiest lettuce for consumption. Thanks for the read and input.


Diana Lee profile image

Diana Lee 3 years ago from Potter County, Pa.

I'm eating more raw vegetables now than ever trying to eat healthier. It is good to learn lettuce is the right choice. Voted up.


rajan jolly profile image

rajan jolly 3 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA. Author

Thanks Diana. Thanks for dropping in.


DDE profile image

DDE 3 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

Interesting about the benefits of lettuce, I had no idea lettuce had so many benefits, you have shared another helpful information about what we eat on a daily basis


rajan jolly profile image

rajan jolly 3 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA. Author

Thanks Devika.


moonlake profile image

moonlake 3 years ago from America

We have grown lettuce in our garden. I love lettuce in fact I like lettuce sandwichs. Voted up


Indian Chef profile image

Indian Chef 3 years ago from New Delhi India

Rajan, I grew up in small town and there was no lettuce available there. Even now I am in Delhi and there too it is available in big stores only and not easily available on sabji thelas, but from now on i would include lettuce in my diet more. Thanks for sharing the values of lettuce.


rajan jolly profile image

rajan jolly 3 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA. Author

@ moonlake - Lettuce sandwiches are great. Thanks.

@ Indian Chef, I understand lettuce is not available with sabjiwalas but in big stores. and it is expensive too. But it is healthy so good to have it as often as possible. Thanks.


penlady profile image

penlady 3 years ago from Sacramento, CA

This hub is very educational. I love to eat romaine lettuce on sandwiches and in salads. I was told it's more healthier than iceberg.

It's good to know that when I'm eating lettuce, I'm eating something not only delicious, but healthy as well. Thanks for such an informative hub!

Voted up, interesting, and tweeted.


rajan jolly profile image

rajan jolly 3 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA. Author

penlady, romaine lettuce is the healthiest variety of lettuce and what you heard was correct.

Thanks for stopping by and appreciate your comments.


Bake Like a Pro profile image

Bake Like a Pro 3 years ago

Another great article! I didn't know lettuce had so many benefits. I love salads and used to eat bowls of them growing up but I had always heard it had no nutritional value hmmm!!


rajan jolly profile image

rajan jolly 3 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA. Author

I wonder who said lettuce had no nutrition! Anyway, you have the benefits before you mow. Good that you were eating it. Thanks for coming by.


heidithorne profile image

heidithorne 3 years ago from Chicago Area

Wow, I didn't know the storage with apples, etc. issues... although I usually don't store them near each other anyway. So glad to see that Romaine is such a healthy choice (my favorite). Voted up & shared!


rajan jolly profile image

rajan jolly 3 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA. Author

Heidi, I'm glad you gleaned some useful information from this hub. And yes, Romaine lettuce is the healthiest of them all.

Thanks for stopping by and the sharing is much appreciated.


Samprita profile image

Samprita 2 years ago from Indore, India

nice and informative hub. Thumbs up!!!!


rajan jolly profile image

rajan jolly 2 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA. Author

Thanks Samprita.


Paul Kuehn profile image

Paul Kuehn 21 months ago from Udorn City, Thailand

Rajan, Thanks for sharing another one of your great interesting and useful hubs about lettuce. I eat green leaf lettuce almost every day in salads and occasionally in wraps. Now I understand why I shouldn't store lettuce next to apples, bananas or pears. I am doing almost all of my writing now on Hubpages. I have an account on Persona Paper but I think I have earned only $0.71 there so far. How many sites are you writing on now? Voted up and sharing with HP followers and on Facebook.

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.


    Click to Rate This Article
    working