10 Health Benefits of Lettuce

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10 Health Benefits of Lettuce

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.

By | 2017-10-29T15:40:57+00:00 February 24th, 2013|Nutrition, PowerFoods|24 Comments

About the Author:

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.


  1. Minnie Pandit March 26, 2013 at 11:51 am

    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 March 26, 2013 at 1:29 pm

    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.

  3. Marijke March 27, 2013 at 12:42 am

    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 March 27, 2013 at 9:32 am

    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 March 27, 2013 at 11:07 am

    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.

  6. siavash March 28, 2015 at 4:32 am

    First of all we are must thank you very much indeed.
    And second one we must appreciated to you for your excellent site.

  7. Randy Fritz March 28, 2015 at 9:11 am

    thank YOU Siavash for your kind comment!

  8. Louis January 23, 2016 at 8:54 am

    Comment…This information will save life.Thanks so much.

  9. Murtala January 23, 2016 at 11:31 am

    This has seriously done a lot of good to my psyche. I’m happy I came across this article. I feel healed already. Thanks for sharing this useful info.

  10. Naomi April 1, 2016 at 6:36 am

    Sorry, but no lettuce on earth contains 20% protein! If so it would be a superfood… Fillet steak has around 20% protein but for lettuce it’s more like 2%.

  11. Helene May 31, 2016 at 11:38 am

    Greetings Randy,

    My P.A. shared that iceberg is likely to aggravate heartburn more than Romaine!!!
    Why is that?
    Enjoy your site

  12. Faylinn July 27, 2016 at 7:38 am

    Because I have insomnia, taking care of my health is very important to me. However, I had no idea that the lactucarium in the lettuce could help with that. How often should I be eating lettuce to be able to benefit from its relaxing and sleep inducing properties?

  13. Empress August 28, 2016 at 6:16 pm

    I eat it everyday raw,it good for me

  14. Dr. Goudappa September 6, 2016 at 3:19 am

    Better to eat wild varieties of lettuce because it free from the pesticides and insecticides.
    Dr. G M patil

  15. Thula September 10, 2016 at 6:23 am

    Organic vegetables are hard to get from shops

  16. Diana Herrington September 19, 2016 at 12:26 pm

    Better still grow your own organic lettuce. All summer I have fresh organic lettuce right from my garden. In the winter I buy organic lettuce.

  17. Christine davied October 25, 2016 at 2:26 pm

    Thank you Randy
    Your infirmation was very useful to me .now l know the difference between iceberg and romaine thank you for your tip and nutritional value.
    It was a brilliant write up and well put together. I will definately start eating more romaine lettuce .
    Thank you

  18. Christine davies October 25, 2016 at 2:28 pm

    Thank you Randy
    Your infirmation was very useful to me .now l know the difference between iceberg and romaine thank you for your tip and nutritional value.
    It was a brilliant write up and well put together. I will definately start eating more romaine lettuce .
    Thank you

  19. Yaroslav November 30, 2016 at 8:57 pm

    Great insight on the health benefits of lettuce. Eat healthy and be strong! BTW great gorilla joke!

  20. Chris January 27, 2017 at 12:14 pm

    I red some time a go about lettuce able to reduce libido and good for sexual drive control. But i do not know if this was true?

  21. Enoch Akomanin May 14, 2017 at 5:17 pm

    It’s Fritz ya surname ,please.i wanna cite u in ma review..

  22. Em Chambers May 24, 2017 at 8:15 am

    Mr. Fritz, thank you, I loved your article. Also, I was very interested to read that romaine helps a readers stomach upsets. Is it the fiber? I wonder, does heating lettuce ruin or reduce its health benefits? My SO won’t eat salad so I hide handfuls of it in homemade soup. Thank you so much.

  23. Ken August 3, 2017 at 8:48 pm

    Is letuss good for people with pre diabetes. Good to eat?

  24. Diana Herrington August 6, 2017 at 2:35 pm

    Yes, lettuce is good for everyone. It has no big sugar content.

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