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Health Benefits of Lettuce

Rajan is a botany and chemistry major. He has worked as a poultry breeder for 23 years, breeding layer and broiler parents.

Latin Name : Lactuca sativa

About Lettuce And Uses Of Lettuce

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.

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 fibre, 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 fibre 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 butterhead 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 crisphead types.
  • Stem lettuce - grown for its stem which is used mainly in Chinese cooking.
  • Oilseed 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

Source : USDA

 

 

 

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

 

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 carotene 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 anaemia while manganese also helps in making bones strong as well as being a component of a strong antioxidant enzyme.

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

The fibre 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 the lowering of cholesterol levels.

The folic acid also helps to convert the damaging chemical homocysteine into harmless substances. Homocysteine damages blood vessels and increases the 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 sedative lactucarium which relaxes the nerves.

Please Rate This Hub. Thank You.

Some Of My Other Hubs On Healthy Foods

  • The Health Benefits Of Greek Yogurt And Frozen Yogurt
    Greek yogurt is the current craze and is a healthier option than regular yogurt. To find out the many health benefits of Greek Yogurt, read on.....
  • Oats And Oatmeal Health Benefits
    Oats are a nutrient dense food low in calories. Also, a bowl of oatmeal provides more than half of the daily value of omega-3 fatty acids as double the daily value for manganese. To find out many more like health benefits of oats and oatmeal, read on
  • Silverbeet, Swiss Chard Or Chard And Its Health Benefits
    Swiss chard, chard, silverbeet, mangold, spinach beet are some of the many names that swiss chard is known by. This green leafy vegetable is one of the most healthy vegetables available which is a valuable addition to a healthy diet. To know more abo
  • Some Amazing Health Benefits Of Beetroot Or Beet
    Beet, beetroot or garden beet is a super food that has a unique phytonutrients called betalains. Betalains are very useful for weight loss, cancer, diabetes, dementia, skin, high blood pressure, constipation etc. To know how you can benefit from cons

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

Broccoli & Lettuce Salad - Healthy Salad Recipe

Lettuce Wrap Recipe

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

© 2012 Rajan Singh Jolly

Comments

Rajan Singh Jolly (author) from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on November 16, 2019:

Thank you so much, Audrey. So good to see you here. I hope you are doing well.

Audrey Hunt from Idyllwild Ca. on November 10, 2019:

It's been 6 years since visiting your article on the health benefits of lettuce. And for the last 6 years my daily diet includes lettuce which is my favorite part of any meal.

Thanks, once more, for such an informative reference. You'll be seeing more of me as I'm treating myself to read every article you've authored.

Rajan Singh Jolly (author) from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on August 24, 2018:

Good to know you like the information RI and for sharing it with those who need it. Appreciate your stopping by.

RTalloni on August 20, 2018:

Thanks for lots of good information on lettuce in this post. This is one of those foods that we generally know is good for us but we don't always know the details of why. Though we don't need to know such details if we are eating it, it's neat to have them stored away to share with people who need to understand how good it is for us.

Rajan Singh Jolly (author) from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on September 02, 2017:

Thank you Audrey. I'm happy you found the article informative,

Audrey Howitt from California on August 17, 2017:

Such a great hub! And I never knew that lettuce was so good for you!

Rajan Singh Jolly (author) from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on July 14, 2017:

Glad you find the hub informative Peggy. Thank you.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on July 13, 2017:

This is an excellent article regarding the nutritive value of lettuce and related health benefits. We always have some type of lettuce in our home and only occasionally choose the iceberg type. We prefer the others. My husband and I both enjoy salads although I have also used it in making soups. Lettuce wraps are delicious!

I never knew that there was a type of lettuce grown in which the seeds were used for oil. That is interesting!

Paul Richard Kuehn from Udorn City, Thailand on February 26, 2015:

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.

Rajan Singh Jolly (author) from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on December 05, 2014:

Thanks Samprita.

Dr. Samprita Sahu from Indore, India on December 04, 2014:

nice and informative hub. Thumbs up!!!!

Rajan Singh Jolly (author) from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on September 07, 2013:

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.

Heidi Thorne from Chicago Area on September 06, 2013:

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 Singh Jolly (author) from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on February 28, 2013:

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.

Bake Like a Pro on February 27, 2013:

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 Singh Jolly (author) from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on February 18, 2013:

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

Thanks for stopping by and appreciate your comments.

penlady from Sacramento, CA on February 18, 2013:

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 Singh Jolly (author) from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on February 11, 2013:

@ 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.

Indian Chef from New Delhi India on February 11, 2013:

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.

moonlake from America on February 10, 2013:

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

Rajan Singh Jolly (author) from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on February 10, 2013:

Thanks Devika.

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on February 10, 2013:

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 Singh Jolly (author) from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on January 20, 2013:

Thanks Diana. Thanks for dropping in.

Diana L Pierce from Potter County, Pa. on January 19, 2013:

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 Singh Jolly (author) from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on January 09, 2013:

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

Vespa Woolf from Peru, South America on January 07, 2013:

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 Singh Jolly (author) from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on January 06, 2013:

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.

Shining Irish Eyes from Upstate, New York on January 05, 2013:

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 Singh Jolly (author) from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on January 04, 2013:

Thanks tirelesstraveller! Appreciate the visit and comments.

Judy Specht from California on January 03, 2013:

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

Rajan Singh Jolly (author) from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on January 01, 2013:

Thanks Rasma. Always a pleasure to see you.

Gypsy Rose Lee from Daytona Beach, Florida on January 01, 2013:

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 Singh Jolly (author) from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on December 31, 2012:

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

Eiddwen from Wales on December 31, 2012:

So interesting and useful.

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

Take care

Eddy.

Rajan Singh Jolly (author) from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on December 31, 2012:

@ 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.

Audrey Hunt from Idyllwild Ca. on December 30, 2012:

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.

Patricia Scott from North Central Florida on December 30, 2012:

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

By Lori from USA on December 30, 2012:

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.

Janis Leslie Evans from Washington, DC on December 30, 2012:

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.

Hawaiian Odysseus from Southeast Washington state on December 30, 2012:

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!

Rajan Singh Jolly (author) from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on December 30, 2012:

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

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on December 30, 2012:

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.