These Nutrients Make Lamb’s Lettuce So Healthy

Lamb’s lettuce is healthy – but why exactly? What ingredients are in the green leaves and how much of it has a positive effect on the body?

Since lamb’s lettuce is healthy and particularly tasty, it is often used in cold dishes and provides many important nutrients that are good for the body. However, the green plant also contains some ingredients that can be problematic if consumed in excess.

Lamb’s lettuce, whose botanical name is Valerianella, belongs to the valerian family. It is also known by other names in various regions of Germany – for example, Rapunzel, corn salad, mouse ear salad, sun swirls, and nutlets. These designations are partly due to its appearance with the small, fine leaves, but also due to its nutty taste. For a long time, it grew wild in many places and was therefore already on the table in the Middle Ages.

These nutrients make lamb lettuce healthy

The main reason why lamb’s lettuce is healthy is that it is particularly rich in valuable nutrients. Above all, provitamin A, which occurs as beta-carotene in plant cells, is useful for us: it is converted into vitamin A in the body, helps with cell growth, and is therefore essential for many organs. In addition, the folic acid it contains can support our cells. A lot of trace element is needed, especially during pregnancy.

Lamb’s lettuce also provides many other important nutrients:

  • Vitamin C: To strengthen the immune system
  • Potassium: important for the functioning of nerve and muscle cells
  • Iron: contributes to blood formation and the transport of oxygen
  • Calcium: strengthens the bones, among other things
  • Magnesium: the body needs it for muscles, nerves, and the heart
  • Iodine: supports thyroid function

The valerian plant also contains essential oils that can have a calming effect on our minds. However, the salad should be eaten as soon as possible after purchase so that the nutrients and flavors are not lost. Unfortunately, lamb’s lettuce doesn’t last very long and can only be kept in the refrigerator for a few days.

Lamb’s lettuce: oxalic acid and nitrate

In addition to all the power nutrients, there are also disadvantages when eating lamb’s lettuce. Anyone who eats a lot of it because of the praised ingredients also takes in more of the oxalic acid it also contains. Although this is present in many foods, it can lead to problems if consumed in excess. The kidneys in particular are affected.

In addition, bones and teeth can also be damaged because calcium and iron absorbed through food can be used to a lesser extent. So if you already suffer from osteoporosis or have impaired kidney function, you should better use salad alternatives that are lower in oxalic acid.

Lamb’s lettuce is less suitable for children in particular because the leaves often have a high nitrate content due to the heavy fertilization of the soil. Under certain conditions, this can convert to nitrite in the body – a substance that is suspected of being carcinogenic.

For adults, however, a moderate amount is justifiable and the positive properties of lamb’s lettuce outweigh the negative. To keep the amount of nitrate contained as low as possible, you should use lamb’s lettuce of organic quality if possible.

Where can I buy lamb lettuce?

Especially in the autumn and winter months, lamb’s lettuce can be found in almost every supermarket and discounter. Organic shops and markets also offer Rapunzel. The advantage of the plant: It can also be grown here in the cold season, so there are no long transport routes.

However, when buying, you should pay attention to organic goods if possible. According to Ökotest, many conventional products are contaminated with pesticides. The reason: during rearing, which often takes place under the foil, any pest infestation and the formation of fungal spores should be prevented. Although the limit values ​​for pesticides are not exceeded, the contamination of organically grown products is often significantly lower. Incidentally, this not only benefits consumers but also insects such as bees.

Enjoy lamb lettuce

Freshly picked lamb’s lettuce must be cleaned well because the leaves are harvested with the root, which should be removed beforehand. When cleaning, however, the leaves are not plucked off individually but remain connected to each other.

In addition, there is often still a lot of sand hanging on the lettuce, which has to be carefully washed off beforehand. This is ideally done in a bowl of cold water so that the salad can be cleaned as gently as possible and arrive on the plate crispy. On the other hand, if you want to keep it for a few hours after cleaning, it is advisable to dry the leaves with a salad spinner or simply in a kitchen towel.

Thanks to its nutty aroma, lamb’s lettuce tastes particularly good with hearty meat dishes. But lamb’s lettuce also offers a delicious taste experience in combination with pomegranate, feta cheese, sweet potatoes, and mustard dressings.

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