One of my brothers keeps asking me to write about lettuce. Some people say lettuce is just full of water and has not much in terms of nutrition, especially Iceberg lettuce. Let’s find out more today.
When we look at any vegetable, generally the more deep or rich the colour of that vegetable, the more nutritious it is. The same applies to lettuce. If we look at Iceberg and Romaine lettuce, the Romaine variety has more nutrition, but any vegetable is good for us.
Romaine lettuce has darker green leaves and, generally, the deeper the colour, the better the nutrition. Whenever you make a salad, choose the greens with the darkest colouring. Kale or spinach are even better than romaine or iceberg lettuce, because the have even better nutritional value.
Here are some popular lettuce varieties grown around the world:
- Butter-head, with loose heads; it has a buttery texture. Butter head cultivars are most popular and widely grown in Europe.
- Chinese variety or celtuce, generally have long, tapering, non-head forming, strong-flavoured leaves unlike its Western counterparts. They are preferred in stir-fried dishes and stews.
- Crisp-head variety forms tight, dense heads that resemble cabbage. They are generally the mildest form, valued more for their crunchy texture than flavour.
- Loose-leaf variety features tender, delicate and fully flavored leaves with a loose bunch. This group includes green oak leaf, red oak leaf, valeria and lolla-rosa-types.
- Romaine-lettuce grows in a long head of sturdy leaves with a firm rib almost reaching to the tip of the leaf. Cultivars of Romaine are also the most popular types in the USA.
- Summer Crisp variety forms moderately dense heads with a crunchy texture; this type is intermediate between crisp-head and loose-leaf types.
Fresh leaves are an excellent source of several Vitamin A and beta carotenes. Just 100 grams of fresh, raw-lettuce provides 247% of daily vitamin A, and 4443 µg of beta-carotene (these compounds have antioxidant properties). Vitamin A is required for maintaining healthy mucus membranes and skin, and is also essential for vision. Consumption of natural fruits and vegetables rich in flavonoids helps to protect the body from lung and oral cavity cancers.
Lettuce leaves are a rich source of vitamin K, which has a potential role in the bone metabolism, where it thought to increase bone mass by promoting osteotrophic activity in the bone cells.
It also has established role in Alzheimer’s disease patients by limiting neuronal damage in the brain.
Fresh leaves contain good amounts folates and vitamin C. Folates are required for DNA synthesis and therefore, vital in prevention of the neural tube defects in-utero fetus during pregnancy. Vitamin C is a powerful natural antioxidant and regular consumption of foods rich in vitamin C helps the body develop resistance against infectious agents and scavenge harmful, pro-inflammatory free radicals.
Lettuce also contains good amounts of minerals like iron, calcium, magnesium, and potassium, which are very essential for body metabolism. It is rich in B-complex group of vitamins like thiamin, vitamin B-6 (pyridoxine), and riboflavins.
There you have all you wanted to know about lettuce. We do grow lettuce here in Chatham-Kent, so try and support our local producers when these crops are available in our community.
Think about this – God came to live with us so that we could live with Him
Just some food for thought.
Remember that here in Chatham-Kent ‘We Grow for the World’. Check out our community agricultural website at: www.wegrowfortheworld.com
Kim Cooper has been involved in the agribusiness sector for over 40 years. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org
You can also follow him on Twitter at ‘theAGguy’