A Superfood: More Lettuce Facts That May Surprise You

Lettuce Start At The Beginning

It started out as a lowly weed in ancient Egypt until some brilliant Egyptian horticulturist started using the seeds to produce oil. Today, lettuce is a staple of salads throughout Europe and North America. The word lettuce is derived from the Latin word lactuca, which means milk. This is appropriate because when you cut it, lettuce leaches a milky sap. And heres another bite of food for thought: its botanical name lactuca sativa indicates that lettuce is a member of the daisy family.

 

Now its common knowledge that eating iceberg lettuce is like eating soggy cardboard - no flavor, no nutritional value, no nothing. While iceberg lettuce leaves me cold, other varieties are high on my list of favorites.

 

Romaine lettuce is my hands-down favorite and is one of the most popular varieties in the country. Nothing rivals those long, crisp, sturdy leaves of deliciousness. Butterhead, also known as Bibb or Boston lettuce, has a luxuriously buttery texture. The heads closely resemble cabbage. Loose leaf lettuce, like butterhead, consists of a bunch of loose leaves.

 

Lettuce Celebrate This Superfood

Lettuce may be the only vegetable thats almost completely devoid of calories and yet is full of phytonutrients and vitamins A, B, C, and K. Vitamin A revitalizes your skin, sharpens your eyesight, and keeps your mucous membrane linings in tip-top shape.

 

Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant which helps resist and fight infections and inflammation; and Vitamin K improves bone health.

 

Lettuce is also a tremendous source of beta carotene, potassium, calcium, and magnesium, along with copper, and iron. So what you have with every salad is a bowl full of blood-pressure-regulating, red-blood-cell-regenerating, and osteoporosis, cancer, and heart disease-preventing goodness.

 

Lettuce Stir Things Up

Need a power drink? Blend some Romaine leaves, fruit [mango chunks, banana slices, or blueberries], and flaxseed, and make a delectable smoothie.

 

Has your garden bed of lettuce become too bitter for a toss salad? Well, the good news is that you can treat your fresh lettuce just like you do spinach - cook it! Add olive oil to washed and dried leaves, onion, sea salt, and cracked pepper; bake and then top with feta cheese. Chinese lettuce, celtuce, is a favorite ingredient in China for use in soups and stir fries.

 

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