Salad tastes delicious. Lettuce is low in calories. And salad can be prepared in thousands of variations. The times when lettuce was considered rabbit food are slowly but surely over. The long-held assumption that nutrients from lettuce cannot be used so well has not been confirmed either. On the contrary: a study has now shown that lettuce has been proven to be excellently suited to increasing the level of vital substances in the blood of humans.
Salad: Feasting allowed
You thought lettuce was a suitable food for house rabbits but not for humans? You were of the opinion that people should heat their food before eating it so that the nutrients and vital substances can be better absorbed. You also believed the quote that compared the nutritional content of lettuce to that of tissue. If you can answer yes to all three questions, then you are wrong across the board.
Ideal food for humans
First of all, you should not feed your pet rabbit lettuce. A rabbit’s species-appropriate diet consists of wild plants, grasses, and bark. Many raw food lovers may have known for a long time that lettuce is an ideal food for humans, but it has finally been scientifically proven.
The Salad Study
In a recent study by the University of California/Los Angeles UCLA and the Louisiana State University LSU, the data of 17,500 men and women between the ages of 18 and 45 and 55 years and older were evaluated. Data are from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey III. Of course, all parameters influencing the nutrient level in the blood were also taken into account, such as e.g. physical exercise, taking medication, smoking, etc.
It was found that the more lettuce and raw vegetables the study participants ate, the more vitamin C, folic acid, vitamin E, lycopene, and beta-carotene were found in their blood so salad and raw food lovers seem to have a significantly better starting point in terms of health care. Below we present the vital substances examined in the study, their effects, and the best salad sources for these vital substances.
Lettuce and raw vegetables ensure the vitamin C supply
The study, published in the September issue of the peer-reviewed Journal of the American Dietetic Association, is the first to look at the relationship between lettuce consumption and blood nutrient levels in humans. It was discovered in this study that each serving consumed increased the likelihood of meeting the recommended daily requirement for vitamin C by 165 percent for women and 119 percent for men.
Lettuce and raw vegetables provide iron
Vitamin C is probably the best-known vitamin and most people know that vitamin C increases the body’s defenses and can therefore protect against diseases. On the other hand, what seems to be less well known is that vitamin C has many other abilities and tasks in the body. For example, it is necessary to be able to absorb iron. Without vitamin C, you can very well suffer from an iron deficiency, even if you were to consume large amounts of iron.
Iron deficiency in turn leads to anemia so that only a little oxygen can be transported into the bloodstream. The muscles and also the brain is soon undersupplied, the nerves work more slowly, the immune system is weakened and the overall performance of the human being drops sharply.
Fortunately, lettuce and raw vegetables contain not only vitamin C, but also plenty of iron, so salad eaters are usually optimally supplied in this area.
Salad against free radicals
It is also an excellent source of vitamin E. Did you know that vitamin E and vitamin C work closely together? Both vitamins act i.a. as antioxidants and therefore protect our organism from attacks by free radicals and thus from aging and disease. As soon as vitamin E has neutralized a free radical, it can no longer act as an antioxidant itself. It is now quickly regenerated by vitamin C – which is also contained in salads – converted into the antioxidant form and can attack free radicals again.
Salads are full of folic acid
They are also an excellent source of folic acid. Folic acid is one of the B vitamins, is involved in blood formation, and, together with other vitamins, can prevent arteriosclerosis. Folic acid is particularly important for pregnant women since a folic acid deficiency in the unborn child can increase the risk of spinal ulcers. Salads made from green leafy vegetables and fresh herbs provide more folic acid than almost any other food.
Lettuce provides you with lycopene
Lycopene is a phytochemical that is particularly abundant in red and orange fruits and vegetables such as tomatoes and pink grapefruit. The substance belongs to the carotenoids and is particularly famous for its beneficial effects on prostate and testicular cancer. Incidentally, lycopene supports detoxification processes and inhibits cholesterol formation. So enjoy tomato salads in all kinds of variations whenever possible during the summer tomato season. Onions and olives or cress and pine nuts go particularly well with tomato salad.
Lettuce is rich in beta carotene
Beta-carotenes are found in yellow, orange, red, and dark green vegetables and fruits such as B. in spinach, kale, broccoli, carrots, and red peppers. The brighter the color of these vegetables, the more beta-carotene they contain. Beta carotene protects our skin from UV radiation, delays the aging process, and protects against the typical symptoms of aging. So choose lamb’s lettuce for your salad instead of iceberg lettuce, use broccoli instead of cauliflower, and don’t forget the parsley. Don’t like raw broccoli in a salad? Then marinate the chopped broccoli florets in oil, herb salt, and lemon juice, and let them sit overnight. The next day, the broccoli tastes lightly steamed.
Is cooked food better than raw food?
This study was also groundbreaking in other respects. The study results clearly refute the view held by many experts that the human body cannot optimally utilize the nutrients from raw food and that it is better to cook the food. However, the measurable increase in nutrients and vital substances in the blood of the entire test group during the study after eating lettuce indicates that the body is in a very good position to absorb these substances from raw food and also utilize them.
Koch harbors nutrient losses
In reality, it would make much more sense to think about the loss of vital substances that can occur during cooking and baking. Because the above-mentioned vitamin C and antioxidant secondary plant substances are severely depleted by cooking, which significantly reduces the health value of the food. The same study showed that the so-called anti-nutritional ingredients in some types of vegetables (such as oxalic acid or fiber) do not have nearly the same inhibitory effect on nutrient absorption as assumed.
More vitamins – more health
The consistently higher nutrient levels in the blood of lettuce lovers suggest that important nutrients and vital substances can be absorbed very well from lettuce, explained Lenore Arab, professor of epidemiology at the UCLA School of Public Health and co-author of the study.
Eating lettuce and raw vegetables is therefore an effective strategy to increase your intake of important nutrients.
Small salad – big effect
Unfortunately, however, we found that the daily salad for many people is not a matter of course, which the professor regretted. A single portion of salad or raw food per day would ensure that the required vital substance requirement could be covered much earlier than would be the case without a salad. Because the study participants had shown that even a small daily salad could significantly improve their blood count. According to Professor Arab, anyone who decides to upgrade their diet with a higher proportion of raw vegetables is making a wise decision.