Lettuce is packed with a wide range of nutrients that may reduce the risk of heart attack, stroke, and cancer. Here’s more about the nutrition facts and health-promoting properties of butter lettuce.
Did You Know?
Today, in the twenty-first century, lettuce is widely consumed for the multiple health benefits that it offers. Its high nutritional value makes it one of the 10 most popular vegetables grown in American gardens. There exist several types of butterhead lettuce, one of which is butter lettuce. This is preferred for its delicate, mild, and sweet flavor. It looks like a cabbage, and hence, is sometimes called ‘cabbage’ lettuce. It is also known as ‘Boston’ or ‘Bibb’ or ‘Boston Bibb’ lettuce.
The scientific name of lettuce is Lactuca sativa. It is an annual plant that belongs to the sunflower family ‘Asteraceae’. Butter lettuce has a small round head. The buttery soft leaves are arranged loosely. The combination of ‘crispy and crunchy’ stems and ‘soft and tender leaves’ makes it one of the most sought-after salad greens.
Lettuce is most often grown as a leaf vegetable. The leaves are used in salads, sandwiches, wraps, and soups. They blend well with other greens, vegetables, meats, and cheese, and help enhance the taste of the dish. One can consume the stems either raw or cooked.
Butter Lettuce Nutrition Facts
|Raw Boston Lettuce, Serving Size: 100 g|
|Total lipid (fat)||0.22 g|
|Total Dietary Fiber||1.1 g|
|Total Sugars||0.94 g|
|Vitamin C||3.7 mg|
|Vitamin B6||0.082 mg|
|Vitamin A, RAE||166 µg|
|Vitamin A, IU||3312 IU|
|Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol)||0.18 mg|
|Vitamin K||102.3 µg|
|Total Saturated Fatty Acids||0.029 g|
|Total Monounsaturated Fatty Acids||0.008 g|
|Total Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids||0.117 g|
Lettuce leaves are packed with vitamins and minerals, especially vitamin A, K, and potassium. They provide antioxidants like vitamin C, along with an important element, dietary fiber. This vegetable has a low glycemic index. The phyto-nutrients have health-promoting properties that help alleviate many common health complaints.
✦ 1 cup shredded or chopped butter lettuce (55 g) contains only 7 calories, which promotes its use in low-calorie diets. The fat content is also negligible.
✦ The vegetable is loaded with vitamin A. Darker the leaves, higher is the concentration of vitamin A. The vitamin helps maintain healthy mucus membranes. It is essential for good vision and smooth skin.
✦ The stems, along with the spines and ribs of the lettuce leaves, provide dietary fiber, which can significantly improve digestive health. The fiber helps prevent abnormal blood sugar spikes. It offers a feeling of satiety and helps curb appetite. It is essential for long-term weight control. It promotes expulsion of bile salts from the body, which indirectly helps lower cholesterol levels. The body breaks down cholesterol as it tries to replace the bile salts.
✦ Calcium from the vegetable helps strengthen the bones and teeth. This can help prevent osteoporosis.
✦ Lettuce works great for insomnia, as it has mild narcotic properties. The white fluid that oozes out as you break or cut its leaves is called lactucarium. It is commonly known as ‘latex’ or ‘lettuce opium’. The two sesquiterpene lactones that are present in the latex are responsible for the narcotic effect. They impart the sedative and pain-killing properties to the vegetable.
✦ Potassium helps maintain normal blood pressure, and thus helps prevent kidney diseases. It is essential for normal functioning of the heart, muscles, and nerves. It helps prevent stroke and heart diseases.
✦ Lettuce extracts are used in skin creams and lotions. They can alleviate the symptoms of sunburn. When applied on the skin, they rehydrate the cells. As the antioxidants help get rid of toxins from the cells, the creams can transform rough skin into becoming smooth and supple.
✦ The antioxidant vitamin C helps cancel the effects of free radicals. Thus, it has disease-prevention properties. It protects us from various diseases and disorders by strengthening the immune system.
✦ Lithium is a trace element that is necessary for the proper functioning of the bodily systems. Lettuce naturally absorbs and stores lithium. Studies that were conducted in Japan in 2011 suggest that naturally-occurring lithium in drinking water may increase human lifespan. Lithium is used to treat various health problems, including mental illnesses and depression. It is believed that it helps increase the activity of chemical messengers in the brain.
✦ The beta carotenes in the leaves get converted into vitamin A. As they have antioxidant properties, they protect the body from various diseases, including various types of cancers.
✦ The vegetable is an excellent source of vitamin K. Those diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease should incorporate this vegetable into their diet, as it helps reduce neuronal damage in the brain. The vitamin also helps increase bone density.
✦ Folate present in the leaves helps prevent neural tube defects in the fetus during pregnancy.
✦ Other minerals like manganese, copper, and iron play an important role in several enzymatic reactions that take place in the body. They improve the quality of blood and help prevent iron-deficiency anemia. They help enhance the functions of bodily organs.
✦ The carotenoid zea-xanthin is also known for its antioxidant properties. It is absorbed into the retinal macula lutea. It protects the eyes from UV rays. Xanthin, along with other carotenes, helps prevent age-related macular disease (ARMD) in the elderly.
✦ Whether the vegetable helps fight impotence is still a subject of fierce debate. More studies need to be performed to know the health benefits of the pro-sexual substances present in lettuce opium.
As the heads are small, butter lettuce can grow well in a container. You can harvest it when the heads appear slightly larger than a baseball. Early spring is the best season for planting this vegetable, which is well-known for its taste, texture, and nutrition.