Lettuce

Health Benefits of Lettuce.

  • Lettuce leaves are one of the very low calorie green-vegetables. 100 g fresh greens provide just 15 calories. Nonetheless, they are the storehouse of many phyto-nutrients that possess health promoting and disease prevention properties.
  • Vitamins in lettuce are plentiful. Its fresh leaves are an excellent source of several Vitamin A and beta carotenes. Just 100 g of fresh, raw-lettuce provides 247% of daily vitamin A, and 4443 µg of beta-carotene(Carotenes convert into vitamin A in the body; 2 µg of carotene is considered equivalent to 1 IU of vitamin A). These compounds have antioxidant properties. Vitamin A is required for maintaining healthy mucus membranes and skin, and is also essential for vision. Consumption of natural fruits and vegetables rich in flavonoids helps to protect the body from lung and oral cavity cancers.
  • It is a rich source of vitamin K. Vitamin K has a potential role in the bone metabolism where it is thought to increase bone mass by promoting osteotrophic activity inside the bone cells. It also has established a role in Alzheimer’s disease patients by limiting neuronal damage in the brain.
  • Fresh leaves contain good amounts folates and vitamin C. Folates are part of co-factors in the enzyme metabolism required for DNA synthesis and therefore, play a vital role in prevention of the neural tube defects in the baby (fetus) during pregnancy.
  • Vitamin C is a powerful natural antioxidant; regular consumption of foods rich in vitamin C helps the body develop resistance against infectious agents and scavenge harmful, pro-inflammatory free radicals.
  • Zea-xanthin (1730 µg per 100 g), an important dietary carotenoid in lettuce, is selectively absorbed into the retinal macula lutea, where it thought to provide antioxidant and filter UV rays falling on the retina. Diet rich in xanthin and carotenes is thought to offer some protection against age-related macular disease (ARMD) in the elderly.
  • It also contains good amounts of minerals like iron, calcium, magnesium, and potassium, which are very essential for body metabolism. Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids that helps controlling heart rate and blood pressure. Manganese is used by the body as a co-factor for the antioxidant enzyme, superoxide dismutase. Copper is required in the production of red blood cells. Iron is essential for red blood cell formation.
  • It is rich in B-complex group of vitamins like thiamin, vitamin B-6 (pyridoxine), riboflavins.

Regular inclusion of lettuce in salads is known to prevent osteoporosis, iron-deficiency anemia, and believed to protect from cardiovascular diseases, ARMD, Alzheimer’s disease and cancers.

 

See the table below for in depth analysis of nutrients:
Lettuce, (Lactuca sativa var. crispa), raw,
green-leaf, Nutritive value per 100 g.
(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 0.5%
Cholesterol 0 mg 0%
Dietary Fiber 1.3 g 3%
Vitamins
Folates 38 µg 9.5%
Niacin 0.375 mg 2%
Pantothenic acid 0.134 mg 2.5%
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-a 0.29 mg 2%
Vitamin K 126.3 µg 105%
Electrolytes
Sodium 28 mg 2%
Potassium 194 mg 4%
Minerals
Calcium 36 mg 3.5%
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 1.5%
Phyto-nutrients
Carotene-ß 4443 µg
Crypto-xanthin-ß 0 µg
Lutein-zeaxanthin 1730 µg