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.
Learn about the types of lettuce and discover all the nutrition benefits and history of this amazing powerfood, and its few concerns.
Types of Lettuce
- Romaine lettuce – This is your classic Greek salad. Sweet and crunchy.
- Iceberg lettuce – Crisphead. White on the inside. Crisp texture and mild taste.
- Butter lettuce – Boston and Bibb lettuce. Large green leaves that are soft and sweet.
- Red and Green Leaf: delicate taste and leaves.
- Devils lettuce
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.
Choose romaine lettuce if you can instead of iceberg.
Romaine lettuce has one of the highest nutritional values in the lettuce category. Most people are familiar with most of these types of lettuce but of them all, iceberg has the least nutrition.
Romaine lettuce Nutrition is Superior
Comparing the two, Romaine lettuce 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.
Health Benefits of Lettuce
The Calories in Lettuce are Low and Almost no Fat.
Lettuce has only 12 calories for 1 shredded cup. This is why it is so good for weight loss.
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!
Lettuce is Heart Healthy
Lettuce’s vitamin C and beta-carotene work together to prevent the oxidation of cholesterol. This prevents the build up of plaque.
Omega-3 Fatty acids.
Romaine lettuce has a 2/1 ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids. That’s a great ratio.
Calories in lettuce are not significant because there is so little fat. UNLESS you eat a lot but we actually suggest you do.
Romaine lettuce has 20 % of its calories in protein.
Like all whole foods, much of the protein in lettuce 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!
Helps with Insomnia
The white fluid that you see when you break or cut lettuce leaves is called lactucarium.
Lactucarium 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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
Unless you buy organic, lettuce can contain a lot of toxins and pesticides. This is because:
- It has a high surface to weight ratio.
- 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.
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.
Learn more about the most nutritious vegetarian foods you will always want to have in your fridge or growing on your deck.
READ: Superfoods – The most nutritious plants on the planet and learn more about the benefits of a plant based diet