No one knows for sure when lettuce appeared on the tables of our ancestors. But the earliest descriptions of its cultivation and preparation can be found in the treatises of Ancient Greece. Even then, they knew about the benefits of this wonderful product.
Many of us think that lettuce is just an edible herb. It turns out that it is not – it is a vegetable crop that includes a large number of types and varieties of lettuce. They are so different and differ from each other not only in shape. Lettuce leaves can be crispy or soft, relatively neutral in taste or bitter, and even spicy, reminiscent of spices and peppers.
But one thing remains unchanged – the enormous benefits and rich “inner content” of this product.
But why lettuce? Why not cabbage or fruit? What beneficial properties are hidden in these low-calorie leaves?
Minerals and vitamins in lettuce leaves
It would seem that how can such a small leaf contain so many useful things all at once? Lettuce is truly one of the richest vegetables in terms of vitamins, micro-, and macroelements.
It’s simple: the chemical composition of lettuce leaves allows you to provide the body with the maximum amount of biologically active substances with a minimum of additional ballast.
For example, green lettuce contains a large amount of vitamins B1 and B9, beta-carotene, a precursor of vitamin A, ascorbic acid, vitamins E, and PP. This set is enough to have a beneficial effect on many body systems and maintain their defenses.
What else are lettuce leaves good for the body? Their mineral set includes iron, calcium, magnesium, and potassium, the properties of which are diverse and very important in the body.
Calorie content of lettuce
The list of the lowest-calorie vegetable crops is quite wide, and lettuce is in first place among them. Its energy value is only 12 kcal per 100 g. It would seem that it is hard to imagine where they could come from, even in such a tiny amount.
We all know that the nutritional value of foods is calculated based on the content of proteins, carbohydrates, and fats. The vegetable we are analyzing contains very little protein and fat, but there are carbohydrates and various types of sugar. They give the salad its calorie content.
Useful properties of lettuce leaves
Due to the high content of vitamins, minerals, and macronutrients in lettuce leaves, it is among the top ten healthy foods. It is recommended to be eaten as often as possible by children and the elderly. After all, it has a positive effect on the immune system, normalizes the activity of the nervous system, helps to quickly recover after a long illness, has a mild hypnotic effect, promotes digestion of food, and whets the appetite.
In addition, lettuce leaves have long been used as a blood purifier. It is used to treat headaches. It is advised to eat at least a few green leaves during magnetic storms for weather-dependent people. And this is not all the possibilities of this vegetable, whose useful properties have found wide application in folk and scientific medicine.
And we can’t help but mention the healing properties of lettuce for the skin. It can improve the condition of dry skin. Lettuce leaf masks or infusions are recommended for treating the skin of the face, head, and those areas where rashes occur regularly. A large amount of vitamins in lettuce leaves helps to normalize metabolic processes in the upper layers of the skin and activate the skin glands.
Why lettuce leaves are good for the stomach
Unlike many other vegetables, lettuce leaves, are useful not only for dietary purposes but can heal wounds and ulcers in the stomach and intestines. Therefore, it is advisable to make it the basis of vegetable dishes for peptic ulcer disease or various colitis.
The chemical composition of green lettuce is rich in pectin, which is one of the main natural medicines for the intestines. It is also a serious obstacle to cholesterol’s path to blood vessels. So, if you are at risk of developing atherosclerosis, you should pay special attention to the beneficial properties of lettuce.
Also, lettuce helps to normalize many metabolic processes in the body due to the vitamin B complex it contains B1, B2, and B9. In addition, many salts of light metals – potassium, magnesium, and calcium – contained in the vegetable also participate in the processes of mineral metabolism in the body and stabilize the condition of many organs.