Nutrients and Health Benefits of Green lettuce - Grace Ngo Foundation

Health, Knowledge, Natural Food Matters

Thursday, 15 October 2015

Nutrients and Health Benefits of Green lettuce

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Both green and red romaine are packed with a surprisingly broad range of nutrients, and consequently, can offer a whole host of health benefits. Here’s a rundown of the most important nutritional benefits of lettuce:
Vitamin C for a Healthy Immune System, Skin, Bones, and Teeth
Romaine lettuce is a great source of vitamin C, with one ounce of romaine providing 11% of the Daily Value for this important nutrient. By contrast, an equal amount of iceberg supplies your body with only 1% of the

Daily Value for vitamin C.
Aside from boosting your immune system, vitamin C helps keep your skin, bones, and teeth strong. These beneficial effects associated with vitamin C are linked to its strong antioxidant properties as well as its role in collagen synthesis. Vitamin E is known to boost the antioxidant properties of vitamin C, so be sure to sprinkle some vitamin E rich oil (such as avocado oil) on your romaine salad.
In addition to the wonderful medicinal properties of vitamin C described above, this versatile nutrient can also help keep your heart and overall cardiovascular system healthy. A team of researchers from the University of California found that study participants who ingested 500 milligrams of vitamin C supplements per day experienced a 24 percent drop in their plasma C-reactive protein levels after just two months. New research suggests that C-reactive protein levels, or CRP levels for short, may in fact be a better predictor of heart disease than cholesterol levels.


Anti-Allergy Properties
All common lettuce varieties are considered hypoallergenic (unlikely to cause allergic reactions), but romaine lettuce may offer additional health benefits for people who suffer from allergies thanks to its high folate content (one ounce of romaine delivers 10% of the Daily Value for this B complex vitamin). A 2009 study examined the blood folate levels of more than 8,000 people with and without asthma and allergies and found that people with the lowest serum folate levels were 31% more likely to have allergies and 40% more likely to have wheeze than those with the highest levels of folate. The inverse association also appeared to be dose-dependent, meaning that the people with the highest levels of folate were least likely to suffer from allergies or wheezing. This study appeared in the June 2009 issue of the The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.
A Low-Oxalate Salad Green
Health foodies love to use spinach in their green smoothies and salads due to its extremely high levels of nutrients. But spinach’ nutritional benefits come with one major drawback: spinach is rich in oxalates. Oxalates are naturally occurring compounds that may pose a health risk for some people when ingested frequently in large amounts (for example, people prone to forming calcium-oxalate kidney stones are often advised to avoid eating oxalate-rich foods).

Vitamin A
Green leaf lettuce contains vitamin A in the form of three carotenoids: beta-carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin. Beta-carotene is converted into the type of vitamin A that’s needed for normal vision and to support the immune system. You may not think of your skin as part of the immune system, but it forms a barrier that’s the first line of defense against bacteria. Mucous in the respiratory tract is the next barrier encountered by pathogens. Vitamin A is needed to synthesize mucous and to build the proteins that maintain skin. Lutein and zeaxanthin are antioxidants that protect your retina and may prevent age-related macular degeneration. One cup of shredded, green leaf lettuce has 88 percent of the recommended daily intake of vitamin A.

Vitamin K
Vitamin K was named after the German word “koagulation” because of its importance in the coagulation of blood. To stop bleeding, the process of clotting must follow a specific sequence. At least seven proteins that participate in the series of clotting events depend on the presence of vitamin K. Several other vitamin K-dependent proteins regulate the mineralization of bone. You may also lower your chance of developing calcifications in blood vessels that lead to cardiovascular disease by getting enough vitamin K, according to an article published in the June 2009 issue of the “American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.” You’ll gain 38 percent of the recommended daily intake of vitamin K in 1 cup of shredded, green leaf lettuce.

Vitamin C
Vitamin C protects cells throughout your body from damage caused by free radicals. Free radicals are molecules that are formed as a byproduct of essential biochemical reactions. If they’re not neutralized by an antioxidant, free radicals harm cells and cause inflammation that can result in illnesses such as arthritis and cardiovascular disease. Vitamin C has other less well-known roles too. It helps synthesize collagen, which is the connective tissue that supports skin and muscles. It also stimulates the production of cells in the immune system that kill bacteria and inhibit the growth of viruses. One cup of shredded, green leaf lettuce delivers 4 percent of the recommended daily intake of vitamin C.

Serving Tips
Greens, including green leaf lettuce, make a healthy and colorful addition to many different types of soups. Begin with a chicken broth and add ingredients such as white beans, chickpeas, chicken, tomatoes, cauliflower, carrots and other vegetables. Add sliced, green leaf lettuce at the very end of cooking so that it softens but doesn’t become mushy. Saute sliced lettuce with green peas and season it with a little garlic, tarragon or a dash of cayenne for a side dish. Use individual leaves as a sandwich wrap for your favorite lunch meat or tuna salad.

Source: healthyeating.sfgate.com › Nutrition › Protein
 
 

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