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Health Benefits of Lettuce And Its Side Effects

Last Updated: Aug 19, 2020

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Lettuce is often referred to as ‘the complete weight-loss food’ and ‘rabbit food’. Romaine lettuce has far greater nutrients when compared to iceberg lettuce and is a great choice if you want to include something healthy in your diet.

Some of the health benefits of lettuce leaves are that it helps to prevent cancer, protects neurons, relieves you from anxiety and stress and helps you to sleep. In addition to these, lettuce provides a steady supply of antioxidants and help to suppress inflammation.

You can consume lettuce leaves or make different dishes and even lettuce add in salads. As lettuce helpfu,l in treating differnet helath diseases such as thyroid problem, diabetes issues and weight loss.

What is Lettuce?

Lettuce, belonging to the daisy family Asteraceae is an annual plant that is generally cultivated as a leaf vegetable. Lettuce is not only an essential ingredient of salads, but it is also used in soups, sandwiches and other preparations.

Lettuce was originally consumed mostly in Europe and America but by the late 20th century, it had spread to other parts of the world as well. Lettuce is rich in nutrients and has been consumed for its dietary and medicinal benefits since a long time.

Nutritional Value of Lettuce

Romaine lettuce is far more beneficial to our health in comparison to iceberg lettuce. Lettuce is very low in calories but is an excellent source of Vitamin A and betacarotenes which have anti-oxidant properties.

It also contains good amounts of Vitamin K, folates and Vitamin C that are beneficial for our body. The minerals present in lettuce are calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium and zinc. It also contains essential vitamins like thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B-6 and Vitamin E.

Nutritional facts Per 100 Grams

0.2 g
Total Fat
28 mg
194 mg
2.9 g
Total Carbohydrate
1.4 g

Vitamins and Minerals in Lettuce

148 %
Vitamin A
15 %
Vitamin C
4 %
4 %
Vitamin B-6
3 %

Health Benefits of Lettuce

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Mentioned below are the best health benefits of eating Lettuce leaves. Lettuce is a good source of vitamins K and A, antioxidants, and let's check out how it helps treat various helath issues such as sleeplessness, digestion problems, and a healthy heart. Also, we discuss some side effects of Lettuce and history or origin of Lettuce.

Lettuce good for insomnia

Cutting or breaking lettuce leaves reveal a white liquid called lactucarium that helps to deal with insomnia. This liquid has the relaxing and sleep inducing properties of opium but does not possess its side effects. If you are having trouble sleeping, you could try to have a few leaves of lettuce.

Lettuce protects against diseases

Lettuce possesses antioxidants that act against the free radicals in our bodies which are formed due to cellular metabolism. These radicals tend to harm the healthy tissues and cells. They may even cause the development of cancer by mutating healthy cells into cancerous cells. Antioxidants work to protect us against this.

Lettuce good for cancer patients

Lettuce leaf extracts can prevent the spread of leukemia cells and breast cancer cells. Lettuce also contains flavonoids which help to protect the body from lung and oral cavity cancers. Thus incorporating lettuce in your diet can help to fight different types of cancer.

Lettuce helps in improving body metabolism

It is of vital importance that our body properly metabolizes the food that we intake. Otherwise, it will not be possible for us to get the required energy that is required to function properly. Due to the presence of iron, magnesium and potassium, lettuce intake helps to improve the metabolic processes in our body. Lettuce also contains Vitamin B-complex which aids our metabolism.

Lettuce good for heart patients

High levels of bad cholesterol in our body can lead to cardiovascular diseases. Lettuce contains Vitamin C and beta-carotene that work together to prevent the artery walls forming as plaques which can block off and break the blood flow. Thus lettuce prevents the oxidation of cholesterol and thus protects our heart against diseases.

Lettuce prevents harm to neuronal cells

Extracts from lettuce, due to its significant role in glucose or serum deprivation, help to prevent death of neuron cells. Neurons are brain cells that make physical connections and help to make memory. Lettuce thus helps to prevent onset of diseases like Parkinson’s which is caused due to the death of neuron cells.

Lettuce has antimicrobial properties

Lettuce has antimicrobial properties and helps to fight the harmful microbes that may cause various diseases. This is due to the presence of terpenes and cardenolides which work to defend our body against bad microbes.

Lettuce leaves for anxiety

Lettuce has anxiolytic properties that help to control anxiety. Lettuce has a role in neurological health process and so helps to deal with mental problems such as depression.

Lettuce helps to remove toxins

Minerals present in lettuce help to remove the toxins from our body. This helps to maintain the acid balance. Removing the toxins help us to remain healthy as only the beneficial substances are left behind.

Lettuce anti inflammatory properties

Lettuce extracts have anti-inflammatory properties due to the presence of biocatalysts like lipoxygenase and carrageenan. Thus various ailments resulting from inflammation can be avoided by including lettuce in your diet.

Uses of Lettuce

Lettuce can be consumed in a number of ways and it forms a part of the cuisine of many cultures. Raw, fresh lettuces are often used in burgers, salads, spring rolls and salads. Lettuces can also be used with garden peas, green beans as well as with seafood like shrimp and prawns. Lettuce is surely a source of energy and helps to keep your body hydrated. Moreover, it is beneficial for your skin and hair as well.


Side-Effects & Allergies of Lettuce

Lettuce crops are sometimes sprayed with pesticides and hence it is advisable to wash the vegetable properly before consuming it. Consumption of lettuce may result in allergic reactions in some people. So it is better to check whether you are allergic or not before consumption.

Cultivation of Lettuce

Lettuce was first cultivated by the ancient Egyptians thousands of years ago who utilized the seeds to produce oil and consumed the leaves. The Greeks and Romans later cultivated the crop. Different types of lettuce were produced in the 16th – 18th century period. In medieval Europe, lettuce was believed to have medicinal qualities.

Lettuce grows well in spring and fall in most regions and its seeds can tolerate a little frost. It requires a temperature range of 45 – 65 degrees Fahrenheit to grow properly. Loose and moist soil is necessary.


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    Written ByDrx Hina FirdousPhD (Pharmacology) Pursuing, M.Pharma (Pharmacology), B.Pharma - Certificate in Nutrition and Child CarePharmacology
    Reviewed By
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    Reviewed ByDt. Ms. Shilpa MarwahB.Sc (Home Science), Post Graduation Diploma in Dietetics and Public Health NutritionDietitian/Nutritionist

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