Is lettuce just the base of your salad or the crunch in your sandwich? Surprisingly, lettuce varieties contain a wide range of nutrients and including a combination of these in your diet will offer plenty of health benefits.
Each lettuce variety has its own phytonutrients and these are dictated by the colour pigments they contain. Phytonutrients provide us with unique health properties. For example green leaf lettuce contains quercetin; which can have anti-histamine effects and help prevent heart disease. Red leaves contain cyanidins, which are helpful with conditions such as diabetes and high cholesterol.
Romaine lettuce is particularly rich in nutrients. It is an excellent source of vitamin K and vitamin A (in the form of carotenoids) and is also rich in folate and molybdenum amongst many others.
The vitamin K content is particularly important for maintaining healthy bones, blood clotting and preventing heart disease. Additionally the carotenoids are vital for promoting eye health, the immune system and normal cell growth and development.
So don’t just use lettuce as a garnish; it is delicious roasted, made in to Asian style wraps, puréed in to a smooth soup or braised with peas, onions and lemon juice.
My weekly ‘Nutritional Nugget’ written for Fields to Fork Organics
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