Lettuce: properties, nutritional values, calories

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Louise Hay


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The lettuce possesses the ability to rehydrate the human body and is useful for the digestive system. In common parlance it is erroneously called "salad" while in reality salad is the dish that is prepared using lettuce. Let's find out better.

> 1. Description of the plant and variety

> 2. Properties and benefits of lettuce

> 3. Calories and nutritional values some lettuce

> 4. Ally of

> 5. How to choose lettuce

> 6. Curiosities about lettuce

Description of the plant and variety

Lactuca sativa is the botanical name of lettuce, belonging to the Composite family.
5 are the most cultivated varieties which give very different shape and appearance to the leaves (which are the parts of the plant we eat):

  • type Classic (Cappuccina-Trocadero) which includes numerous varieties and selections suitable for different periods of cultivation and consumption;
  • type Brazilian (or Iceberg) with the characteristic "greasy" consistency of the leaves and crunchiness;
  • type Batavia with leaves edged in red or grape marc whose color can extend, in the outermost leaves of the head, to the entire leaf;
  • type Romana which, unlike the previous types, has an elongated and not rounded stump;
  • type the stump not closed.

Lettuce is an angiosperm plant (or plant with flowers) which in common parlance comes wrongly called "salad" while in reality salad is the dish that is prepared using lettuce.

Could be consumed in different ways: raw, if the plant is fresh, or boiled or stewed where it lends itself to the creation of first courses such as ministers, soups, etc. or as a decoction (even if cooking in general modifies the nutritional properties that we will see below).

Able to adapt to any type of climate, it resists well even at low temperatures.

For this reason, thanks to its cultivation which takes place from February to December, it is an excellent food that we find all year round.

Le origins some lettuce are pretty Incerte, it is believed that it has the Middle East as its primary center of origin but it was also consumed in Europe since the time of the Greeks and Romans (from which romaine lettuce seems to have originated).


Properties and benefits of lettuce

Whatever the varieties, there are two main nutritional characteristics that unite them.

  1. Being made up of about 95% water it has a large ability to rehydrate the human body;
  2. From the base of the freshly picked lettuce a whitish latex is released (called lattucario and from which the name of the lettuce derives) which has, like opium, modest sedative properties. La wild lettucein fact, it was studied in 1911 by the Council of the pharmaceutical company of Great Britain which found, in addition to Lactucopicrin and Lactucin, other molecules with mild sedative power all contained in the lactucarium. It is therefore a food particularly suitable to be consumed in evening meals by all those people (especially children) who are nervous, agitated or perhaps with difficulty falling asleep. To this end, in addition to consuming it raw, it is possible to prepare a decoction boiling half a log of lettuce in ¼ liter of water for 5 minutes. To drink immediately after letting the liquid cool and pouring it.


Calories and nutritional values some lettuce

100 g of lettuce contains 15 kcal.

Furthermore, for 100 g of raw product we have:

  • Lipids 0,2 g
  • Cholesterol 0 mg
  • Sodium 28 mg
  • Potassium 194 mg
  • Glucid 2,9 g
  • Dietary fiber 1,5 g
  • Sugar 0,8 g
  • 1,4 g protein
  • Vitamin A 7.405 IU
  • Vitamin C 9,2 mg
  • Calcium 36 mg
  • Iron 0,9 mg
  • Magnesium 13 mg


Lettuce, ally of

The positive effects of lettuce are numerous.

  • ALLY OF THE DIGESTIVE SYSTEM for his excellent fiber content (1,5 g per 100g of lettuce) and dal type of fiber (inulin, consisting of fructose chains) which makes lettuce particularly digestible. Furthermore, this reserve oligosaccharide performs a "prebiotic action" because, as an ally of the digestive system, reduces intestinal gas production thanks to its ability to decrease the load of harmful bacteria and increase the percentage of Bifidobacteria (allied bacteria).
  • ALLY OF THE WHOLE BODY for his good content of mineral salts (iron, calcium, phosphorus, copper, sodium and potassium) e Vitamins A and vitamin C recommended when the body needs a supplement of these micronutrients.
  • ALLY OF THE CIRCULATORY SYSTEM being equipped with a particular molecule, glucoquine, which makes this food particularly suitable for diabetic subjects since it has a hypoglycemic effect (lowers blood glucose level).
  • ALLY OF THE PHYSICAL FORM with only 15 kcal per 100g. Its composition with almost completely absent fats and complex carbohydrates represented by non-digestible fiber, makes it particularly suitable for those who are overweight.


Lettuce, how to choose it

It should be specified that lettuce is enriched, during growth, with nitrogenous substances (nitrates, especially nickel nitrate) that derive from excessive fertilization.

It is therefore advisable to buy lettuce that grows on soils that are little or not at all contaminated such as those coming from a 'organic farming or from a biodynamic, which grows in the field and not in the greenhouse or which was harvested at the end of the day since sunlight tends to reduce the concentration of nitrates in the leaves.

The problem is that nitrates, in the human body, by joining with amines give rise to toxic compounds (nitrosamines), potentially carcinogenic. Having as a good habit that of wash the product thoroughly, perhaps with bicarbonate that has the function of removing polluting chemicals, it can be a device that reduces this contamination.


Lettuce: a good, refreshing salad


Curiosities about lettuce

  • The Pythagoreans, with allusion to the sedative action at the level of the genital apparatus, called lettuce "the plant of the eunuchs";
  • Dioscorides recommended the lattucario to dampen lust.
  • «And Linnaeus, in proof of his anaphrodisiac action, cites a rich Englishman, who, very afflicted at not having children, could only become a father, so soon that, on the advice of the doctor, he abandoned the lactuca of which he was truly abusing. And we easily believe that, by substituting a cutlet and a beef steak for the salad at dinner, the loins can acquire more virile energy »(Scotti, 1872).



Lettuce among the seedlings for the balcony garden


Other articles on lettuce:

> Lettuce among the foods against headaches

> The lettuce decoction, how to prepare it


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