Health Benefits Of Lettuce: 8 Reasons To Chomp On This Salad Green

Health benefits of lettuce.

The star of most salads, vital addition to burgers and sandwiches, and the low-calorie replacement in diet tacos – the humble lettuce is a staple in most chefs’ kitchens. But if you tend to let your lettuce wilt in the fridge or find yourself picking at it in salads, we’ve got a list of health benefits that it provides that might change your mind about it.

1. Aids Weight Loss

If you’re on a diet, lettuce is an ideal addition to your diet. All varieties of this vegetable are low in calories and are good sources of fiber. Studies have found that fiber increases satiety by adding bulk to food and expanding in the stomach. This prevents overeating and cuts down on the calories you consume in a day.1


2. May Prevent Inflammation-Related Disorders

Although inflammation is a normal, healthy response after an injury, chronic inflammation leads to chronic pain, redness, swelling, stiffness, and damage to normal tissues. Studies have found that lettuce reduced inflammation caused by biocatalysts like lipoxygenase which causes asthma, atherosclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel diseases, and dermatitis as well as carrageenan which leads to bloating, irritable bowel syndrome, glucose intolerance, and food allergies.2 3

3. May Relieve The Symptoms Of Inflammatory Arthritis

Characterized by pain, swelling, warmth, and tenderness in the joints as well as morning stiffness that lasts for more than an hour, inflammatory arthritis can be difficult to live with.4 Experts recommend that patients with this condition consume foods that lower inflammation. Since we’ve already established that lettuce has been found to lower inflammation, it’s no surprise that it features on most recommended foods list for patients with arthritis. In addition to this, a cup of romaine lettuce packs in 48.2 mcg of vitamin K, which accounts for 53% of your recommended daily intake, a vitamin that is also known to lower inflammation that causes arthritis.5 6 7


4. Prevents Age-Related Vision Loss

Lettuce may also contain trace amounts of vitamin A, which comes from beta carotene, whose yellow-orange is hidden by green chlorophyll pigments. The darker the green of lettuce, the more beta-carotene it will have.

With aging-related wrinkles and dark spots come vision problems. But, studies have found that consuming antioxidants like lutein and zeaxanthin, which lettuce is rich in, can prevent age-related macular degeneration. Other studies have shown that women on a high lutein diet were 23% less likely to develop cataracts as they aged. Consuming lettuce regularly can, hence, protect your vision.8 9 10


5. Lowers Cholesterol And Prevents Heart Disease

If you grow your own lettuce and find that it tastes bitter, the heat might be to blame for it. To combat this, wash and store the leaves in the refrigerator for a day or two. Much of the bitterness will disappear.

A cup of romaine lettuce offers 64 mcg of folate, which makes up for 16% of the recommended daily intake. Folate is a B vitamin that converts homocysteine and this process is important since unconverted homocysteine can damage blood vessels and lead to the accumulation of plaque, causing heart disorders. 11 In addition to this, lettuce is rich in vitamin A with a cup providing 205 mcg of it (29.28%) and vitamin C with 1.9 mg in a cup (2.53% RDA). Both nutrients help oxidize cholesterol and strengthen the arteries. They also improve blood flow and prevent heart attacks.12 13 14


In addition to this, studies have found that vitamins and antioxidants in lettuce can increase the levels of HDL (good) cholesterol and lower levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol, in turn protecting against cardiovascular diseases.15 16

6. May Lower Blood Sugar Levels

If you’re diabetic, adding lettuce to your diet can help keep your blood sugar levels in check. One study conducted on rats found that it contains actucaxanthin, an anti-diabetic carotenoid that lowers blood glucose levels and can be a potential tool for diabetics to keep their blood sugar levels in check.17


7. May Decrease The Risk Of Colon Cancer

The crispness in greens is due to moisture that’s retained in the cells. So, if on hot days, your lettuce looks a little weary, soaking the greens in cold water for a few minutes to rehydrate them will most often bring them back to life.18

As stated earlier, studies have found that lettuce reduced inflammation caused by biocatalysts like carrageenan, which is linked not only to IBD but also colon cancer.19 20 Additionally, lettuce is high in fiber, which has been found to slow down the development of colon cancer.21 22


8. May Fight Insomnia

If you can’t seem to be able to doze off at night, try lettuce. It contains a substance called lactur carium that helps promote sleep by sedating the nervous system. So a green salad with supper is a good option if you’ve been staring at your walls all night of late.23