Lactuca sativa, lettuce is a nutritious vegetable that can be used as a food and medicine. Traditionally it was prescribed for several diseases like insomnia, loss of appetite, bilious eructation and disturbances in blood pressure as well as relief of digestive ailments.
Science has also proved it to be essential to the body where different kinds of diseases are involved. It has been found to help in lowering cholesterol levels in the body as well as sleep induction and anxiety control. It can also control different types of cancer due to the high antioxidant contents as well as protect body neurons.
Lettuce is packed with loads of vitamins and minerals which range from vitamin B-6, K, C, A, and E. It also contains thiamin, niacin, riboflavin, and folate. As for minerals, it has sodium, phosphorus, calcium, potassium, iron, zinc, and magnesium. It also has energy, moisture, protein, dietary fiber, fat, carbohydrates, and sugar.
Lettuce is grown worldwide and can be found easily in different parts of the world. You can use it to make a vegetable salad or corn lettuce salad. You just have to mix it with other vegetables and season it with pepper, salt, olive oil, and lime juice.
The Health Benefits of Lettuce
Lettuce is highly nutritious to the body as it can be used to heal the body as well as be eaten as a food product. It is even easier to prepare as a food product. You can often play around with some of its delicious recipes as you make use of its nutrients.
Here are a few of its health benefits that have been confirmed by medical science as true when it comes to its function to the body.
1. Lettuce Lowers Cholesterol Levels
Lettuce is very effective in lowering cholesterol levels in the body, be it high levels of cholesterol or bad cholesterol, LDL. This, in turn, reduces the levels of cardiovascular diseases like strokes and heart attacks and other dangerous conditions that are often caused by too much cholesterol.
2. Lettuce Protects Neuronal Cells in the Body
Lettuce extracts have been found to be very effective in the control of the death of neuron cells due to its role in glucose/serum deprivation (GSD).
Neuron cells are brain cells that form physical connections to make up memory in human beings. And their death often results in memory loss. In an extreme case, neuron cell death can lead to Alzheimer’s disease.
However, studies have found lettuce to be great at neuron-protection as it is a common medication for neurodegenerative diseases.
3. Lettuce Helps in the Fight for Cancer
Lettuce extracts have been found to be very useful when it comes to controlling different types of cancer in the body. Studies have found it to be highly effective in the control of leukemia and breast cancer.
The research also revealed that it requires about 3kg of lettuce to kill 50% of leukemia in the body.
4. Lettuce Helps in the Control of Anxiety
The presence of neurological properties in lettuce is what makes it ideal for the control of anxiety and other neural conditions. Further studies have also revealed that it possesses anxiolytic properties.
A lab experiment on animals showed a reduction in their locomotive activity when lettuce extracts were introduced to them. This showed a significant presence of anxiolytic in lettuce.
5. Lettuce Can be Used to Induce Sleep
Lettuce was traditionally used to induce sleep. Studies on its effects on the body have indicated that it contains a depressant chemical that acts as a sedative. Besides, it also decreases ventricular contractions as well as heart rate. Moreover, this depressant chemical often blocks the excitatory signal processes of neural and muscular tissues in the body.
6. Lettuce is an Anti-Inflammatory Agent
Lettuce also contains anti-inflammatory properties that help in controlling different kinds of body inflammation. Its extracts have shown significant control over inflammations caused by biocatalysts like carrageenan and lipoxygenase.
7. Lettuce Is an Antioxidant
Lettuce also contains loads of antioxidants that help your body fight off free radicals. It is so lethal that it scavenges them in every corner of the body so as to prevent them from causing diseases like cancer. Basically, it counteracts the effects of free radicals and neutralizes them before they do any damage to different organs of the body.
Free radicals often attack healthy cell tissues as well as the DNA inside them and cause them to mutate into dangerous cancerous cells which can also lead to other body ailments.
8. Lettuce Is an Antimicrobial Agent
The latex of lettuce is also beneficial to the body as it is the main carrier of antimicrobial properties. This was proven by the deformation of Candida albicans and other yeasts when they were introduced to latex from lettuce.
Biochemicals that are often considered to contain such antimicrobial properties are glucanases, cardenolides as well as terpenes
9. Lettuce Helps With Weight Loss
Lettuce contains loads of cellulose and dietary fiber that can help with better digestion which is important in losing weight as well as control of it in the long run.
The fiber is also great for removing bile salts. And when your body removes these bile salts, it replaces them by breaking down cholesterol thus helping your body with weight issues.
10. Lettuce Is Good for Skin Care
Lettuce contains high levels of vitamin A that helps in the nourishment of skin cells as well as in the healthy development of body cells. It basically repairs any damages on the skin at a cellular level.
Lettuce is also high in vitamin E that protects your skin from sun rays and radiation. So, supplementing it in your diet on a daily basis can help keep your skin flawless and beautiful for a long time.
11. Lettuce Is Good for Vision Health
Lettuce has high contents of zeaxanthin, a carotenoid that helps with age-related eye problems as well as ARMD and vision loss. The zeaxanthin is always absorbed by the retinal macula lutea so as to improve general eye health.
So, if you want to reduce age-related eye conditions and have a better eye-sight for years to come, then it is high time you started consuming lettuce on a daily basis.
Caution with Regard to Overconsumption of Lettuce
As much as lettuce is ideal and nutritious to the body, it can also cause some allergies for different individuals. So, if you happen to have any form of food allergy then you should be careful before introducing a new food substance into your body.
You can try a skin prick test before deciding to eat it. Otherwise, it is a healthy and nutritious vegetable that often does more good than harm.
Conclusively, lettuce is great and very valuable to the body. Moreover, it can grow almost anywhere in the world and is always readily available for general consumption.
Besides, its side effects largely outweigh its value to the body. So, try as much as you can to always include it in your diet. You can make a salad out of it with other vegetables like cucumber, radish, tomatoes as well as carrots and different kinds of pepper like yellow and red pepper. For seasoning, you can always use olive oil and lime juice as well as salt and pepper.
It is also recommended that you eat it raw so as to retain all its nutrients in your body.