Lettuce nutritional value includes a rich source of flavonoids and folate.
This page was last updated by Bernard Preston on 12th September, 2019.
Are you concerned about where your food is sourced, what medium it is grown in, sprayed with and how long ago it was picked? It is time to start growing lettuce.
How many different kinds do you have growing in your garden? There are those with pale green leaves, others are much darker; some are purple, or reddish. Others have oak shaped fronds, a few are soft and there are those that are very firm.
Notice too the baby spinach arrowed; it is perfect in a green salad. Each of these plants has subtle differences in the vitamin, mineral and phytochemical mix; that is why we should enjoy at least five and preferably ten different coloured vegetables and fruits every day.
We have been picking two leaves from each of these plants every day for a month, and it will go on for at least another; lettuce in your own garden is so rewarding because it will go on for so long providing you with fresh greens daily.
Notice the mulch that keeps the weeds down and the roots damp.
There are subtle differences between all these greens; some are rich in this, others in that, yet they all get heaped together at lettuce.
You may have heard that if you regularly consume eight different coloured foods that you have a 35 percent lower risk from all causes of death. It is strong research in which scientists followed folk over a twenty year period.
Each of these lettuces constitutes a different coloured salad; they are not the same.
Then you add the differences between organic green salads and those that are grown using fertilizers and chemical sprays, and you have a vast difference between one and another.
If you are serious about food, and really believe that it makes all the difference, then it behooves one to grow as many different kinds of lettuce as you can.
In any event, it adds colour and variety to your lunch plate, and not just sparkling good health.
As soon as the lettuce patch gets to the maturity of the one above, it's time to start the next. In a larger family obviously one wants more plants; one leaf from each of say ten plants makes a lovely fresh, green salad.
Lettuce nutritional value is especially for women of child bearing age and parents of school going kids.
One of the main considerations when thinking about the nutritional value of lettuce is how much of that good stuff is actually absorbed into the body. One of the best parts of all salads are substances called carotenes; they are anti oxidants and help prevent cancer.
They are fat soluble, so enjoying olive oil or an avocado for example with your lettuce salad increases the absorption by three to five times. It's no coincidence that we have a culture of enjoying a dressing with our greens.
It improves the taste, the digestibility and the absorption of the fatty fraction.
But do add a healthy salad dressing, based preferably on olive or avocado oil and with no chemical preservatives, flavour enhancers and the rest.
In short, make your own. Or just dribble olive oil and freshly squeezed lemon juice over your salad.
So, what is the nutritional value of lettuce? First of all it provides fibre, so necessary for a healthy colon. The gut needs bulk, and if you eat only refined food, most of which is absorbed, then there's nothing left for the alimentary canal to work on. The result is constipation, a very serious malady that contributes greatly to colorectal cancer. Eat your organic green salads on a daily basis or suffer the consequences.
If you are looking for protein, carbohydrate or fat, then look elsewhere. The value of lettuce is in the fibre, its piquant flavour, and the micronutrients.
You need to eat two cups of lettuce, just to get one gram of protein, for example; and it's no different with the carbs and fats.
These young lettuce plants may not look so exciting, but these photos were taken two days after the winter solstice. Temperatures are low as it's the middle of the dry season; growth is slow.
Nevertheless, we have nine lettuce colours each and every day.
It's a matter of regular plantings if you want sufficient lettuce nutritional value.
And lastly, my favourite, this curly leafed red variety; the darker colours have more lettuce nutritional value.
Is it so absurd to think of nine different lettuce leaves in your lunch, plus a leaf of kale, baby spinach and a few peas? Now add a few baby tomatoes, a good dollop of homemade hummus, a couple leaves of cilantro and a wedge of lime and you have the perfect lunch. Dribble some extra virgin olive oil, and a wedge of feta cheese and it's simply without equal. Not shown, I also enjoyed a slice of low GI bread and butter, yes, butter is back, smothered with fresh honey from our hives, and it's heaven.
You could do it too if you want to take no drugs, and hope to live to a healthy eighty plus, with all your marbles intact. It can be done, but it takes some determination to turn the damn television off and get into the garden!
Now add some parsley pesto and you have a delicious, wholesome meal.
Healthy choice foods make no apology for themselves; they are the way to keep out of the clutches of doctors and the chiropractor, too, to a certain extent. If you are tired of taking so many drugs then it's time to start on the green food kick; understanding the lettuce nutritional value is as good a place as any to start.
Notice the homemade hummus in the centre; together with the feta cheese; they make up the protein. The fats come with a mixture of fresh lemon juice and olive oil that's dribbled over the whole salad.
The lettuce makes up the base of most salads and that's fine as long as there are other colours. As one wag said, 'if you don't eat healthy choice foods, just where are you planning to live?'
Of course lettuce nutritional value is just one small part of healthy choice foods; the kaempferol and cancer prevention alone make it a winner.
Convincing your kids of the value of dark green leafy vegetables may be a mission; just stating that research shows it will help them perform better in school may not wash; but these lettuce wraps recipes may.
Frankly, I too find a lettuce dull without either olive oil and lemon juice, or hummus or one of our other condiments like the sweet basil in pesto. They are so simple to make but do take a few minutes of aforethought. Do you have tahini in the cupboard, and what about some lemons in the fruit rack? Every home should have an ample supply of olive oil.
Folate is the naturally occurring form of vitamin B9; its synthetic form is called folic acid; the lettuce nutritional value is a rich source.
Lettuce contains six of the eight B vitamins, but by far the richest is folate. It has many vital functions in the body, but perhaps the best known is its role in DNA synthesis. Without folate, cells cannot divide. This is particularly important for the young foetus in its first weeks; a deficiency has caused cleft palate and spinal bifida and other neural tube diseases, even before you know you are pregnant. Thus all women of child bearing age should have a diet rich in folate.
Fortunately high folate levels are found in most fruits and salads. Only the woman on a black and white diet is at risk. As in television, think colour!
Folate also plays an important role, along with choline, in preventing the build up of toxic homocysteine, a breakdown product of protein metabolism that is strongly implicated in blood vessel and many other diseases.
If you are deficient in choline AND folate then it's game, set and match; you will have inflammation in your body, and that means pain, with a capital P, no matter how skilled your doctor and chiropractor are.
Folate AND choline food sources should be daily on the menu. You need look no further than our eggs Florentine for breakfast every day. Even the American Heart Association admits it was wrong and encourages us to enjoy eggs regularly.
Along with vitamin B12 and iron it is required to form healthy red blood cells; a deficiency causes anemia.
Folate is also very important for the developing mind. Children deficient in folate perform worse in school. More of the benefits of folate are explained at this page.
In short, the folate alone in lettuce nutritional value make this salad a winner.
Vitamins A and K are found in large amounts in lettuce.
The vitamin A contains the well known carotenoids that are so anti oxidant and thus help in cancer prevention.
Vitamin K is important in the clotting mechanism of the blood.
Molybdenum is but one of a host of minerals found in lettuce. The biochemistry is complex but, for the chiropractor, the particular importance is its role in neurotransmitter metabolism. The ability of nerves to pass on information to connecting neurons correctly is vital.
I have not included the dietary values, as it varies from one variety of lettuce to another. Those in Cos would be quite different to Iceberg, or the curly purple leafed varieties that I personally love.
Iceberg has a long shelf life, hence its popularity with supermarket owners, in comparison to the soft leafy varieties that gardeners prefer as they have more flavour; and more nutrient value. Growing lettuce in your own garden is the solution; plant a few seeds, or a punnet of plants every month from Spring to late Autumn.
Flavonoids are a group of plant phytochemicals important for their antioxidant effect, and in so called cell signalling pathways; lettuce nutritional value contains many.
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Lettuce contains many phytochemicals that are important if you want to achieve optimal health. Some have been researched, but little is known about many others. One thing you can be sure of, though, is that they are important.
Green lettuces contain the flavonoid quercitin, whereas the red varieties have cyanidin. Google them for more information. You'll see just how important they are.
Another is the flavonoid kaempferol; it's found mainly in your greens but also in butternut, leeks, tomatoes and other foods.
Lettuce nutritional value must surely include a mention of kaempferol and cancer prevention; you can either enjoy it daily in your greens for a pittance, or you can pay $5000 per month for cancer treatment. Yes, it's looking that powerful so drug companies are researching its effectivity as a treatment.
The lettuce iceberg frankly is my least favourite; it has little flavour, and the lack of colour tells you that it is far lower in these substances. Yet many of us eat only iceberg lettuce, if that. It's little wonder we find a salad dull. It IS uninteresting.
Nevertheless, we have been fooled into thinking that we need eat only those foods that we find attractive. It's a gross falsity; there are many foods we must eat if we want to be healthy. Whether we find them tasty or not is irrelevant. The coloured lettuces are one of them.
Green leafed lettuce is a rich source of choline too; that's a B vitamin vitally involved along with folate in methylating toxic homocysteine. A deficiency causes birth defects amongst many other serious diseases. Include several of these choline food sources daily in your diet.
In short, the tongue can be trained to appreciate lettuce nutritional value, whether we like it or not; I know because I've trained mine to eat and even enjoy foods that formally I detested; like broad beans. The reason is that many foods are unpalatable unless enjoyed fresh, straight from the garden.
Old broad beans are truly yuk! Young ones are the solution to Parkinsons's disease and the pods are rich in phytochemical. Google it; they are a rich source of L-dopa.
Lettuce is a heavy feeder, needing plenty of compost, and a shallow root system. It has to be watered regularly in dry weather, and mulched. I now regularly use worm wee to feed our plants; the growth is spectacular, contributing in unknown ways to the lettuce nutritional value.
Look at this organic butternut page to see the difference between veggies grown in deep compost, compared to ordinary soil.
Many scientists are now confirming that the chronic degenerative diseases are in part due to foods grown in nutrient deficient soils. Getting your garden soil ready for planting is so important, not only for better tasting food, but also in the prevention of disease.
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