The 7 Healthiest Reasons to Eat Lettuce Every Day
Despite its reputation as a salad topping that’s mostly crunch, lettuce actually provides your body with a variety of beneficial nutrients, including vitamin K, vitamin A, vitamin C, folate, and choline.
If you’re looking to add more vitamins and minerals to your diet while also consuming healthy carbohydrates that keep you full and energized throughout the day, you’ll want to include lettuce in your weekly grocery shopping trips. Here are seven of the healthiest reasons to eat lettuce every day.
If you’re eating a healthy diet already, chances are you already include lettuce in your meals on a regular basis. After all, lettuce is most often eaten raw in salads, like wraps, as crudités with dip and it provides plenty of nutrition for its small calorie count.
But did you know that eating lots of lettuce can help improve your health? Yep! We’ve got (believe it or not) awesome reasons why you should eat lettuce every day:
1. It’s low in calories: One cup of chopped iceberg lettuce has just 5 calories and 1 gram of fiber. So if you’re trying to lose weight, adding more lettuce to your daily diet will help fill you up without filling out your pants! Plus, it’ll keep you feeling full longer than many other foods because of its high water content and fiber content. And when we feel fuller longer, we tend to eat less over time…which leads us right into our next point.
2. It keeps you feeling full longer: Did you know that lettuce is an excellent source of water? The average adult needs about 13 cups of fluid per day, but most people don’t get enough leaving them dehydrated and tired throughout their days.
A lack of hydration also increases hunger pangs, which can lead to overeating later on. The good news is that one cup of lettuce contains 10% of your daily recommended intake of water!
This means it will fill you up so much that you won’t be hungry for hours after eating it…even if there isn’t any protein or fat in there at all!
3. It’s packed with nutrients: Even though lettuce is basically made up of nothing but water, fiber, and minerals (like magnesium), it actually packs quite a nutritional punch.
It’s filled with vitamin K and folate two essential nutrients for helping your body produce new cells, tissues, hormones, etc. as well as vitamin C and potassium.
4. It helps protect against cancer: Leafy greens contain indole-3-carbinol (I3C), which has been shown to have anti-cancer properties by inhibiting an enzyme that triggers cell growth.
In fact, women who ate large amounts of leafy greens had a lower risk of breast cancer compared to those who didn’t eat many greens.
1) Helps avert Cancer
While lettuce may not seem like it’s packed with nutrients, research has shown that eating lettuce is linked to a lower risk of developing cancer.
What’s more, a study published in Cancer Research claimed that those who consumed just three servings of leafy greens per week were able to lower their risk of ovarian cancer by nearly 50 percent.
Leafy greens are rich in folic acid and beta-carotene, which both act as antioxidants and help combat free radicals in your body.
Free radicals cause cellular damage, including DNA mutations that can lead to cancerous cells being produced. In addition, they contain plenty of fiber and vitamins A and C both important for fighting disease-causing agents (like carcinogens) in your body.
Eating a diet high in fruits and vegetables will also aid you in preventing heart disease, stroke, diabetes, obesity, and many other conditions.
It’s also important to note that organic produce contains fewer pesticides than conventional foods do; these chemicals have been linked to an increased risk of certain cancers.
If you want to get even more health benefits from lettuce, eat it raw! Cooking can destroy up to 90 percent of some nutrients found in veggies.
However, one thing to be aware of is that all lettuces aren’t created equal. Iceberg lettuce has almost no nutritional value at all, while dark green lettuces like romaine or red leaf varieties pack more punch. Don’t forget about spinach either!
This delicious green vegetable is actually considered a fruit when it comes to nutrition content because it holds so much water. Spinach is filled with iron, magnesium, potassium, calcium, zinc, and vitamin K.
Plus it’s low in calories and has zero fat! No wonder Popeye was always feeling his best after eating a can of spinach. For example, studies show that people who eat two or more cups of raw spinach every day reduce their risk of heart attack by 30 percent compared to those who don’t consume any.
You can add lettuce to sandwiches, soups, salads, and stir-fries for extra flavor and texture. Or use shredded lettuce as a wrap instead of bread or tortillas!
Whatever way you choose to include it in your diet, try to include two servings of dark green leafy vegetables every day for optimal health benefits.
You won’t regret adding lettuce into your regular meal rotation and if anyone gives you grief about adding rabbit food into your diet? Just tell them how awesome carrots are that should shut them up pretty quickly.
2) Improves Brain Function
Eating green, leafy vegetables like lettuce can help improve brain function. The vitamin K found in lettuce helps protect against memory loss and Alzheimer’s. Eating several servings of lettuce a week is likely to reduce your risk of developing these conditions.
In fact, people who consume high amounts of vitamin K have been shown to have better spatial ability than those who don’t. They also have a reduced risk of Parkinson’s disease.
Vitamin K is also an important component of proteins that are involved in blood clotting, which means it plays an important role in wound healing. So if you cut yourself while cooking or gardening, eating some lettuce could speed up recovery time.
There’s even evidence that eating large amounts of vitamin K-rich foods can lower your chances of getting sick from colds. When exposed to viruses, human white blood cells produce less interleukin-6 (IL-6) when they have higher levels of vitamin K2.
IL-6 is one of many inflammatory compounds released by white blood cells during infection. Reducing inflammation speeds up recovery from illness, so consuming lots of green veggies every day may help keep you healthy during cold and flu season.
A study published in 2014 found that people with high vitamin K intakes had about half as much IL-6 in their bodies as those with low intakes.
This effect was strongest among women, but both men and women experienced some protection from infections after increasing their intake of vitamin K2.
Of course, other factors play a role in keeping you healthy too, including washing your hands regularly and avoiding close contact with sick family members or friends.
But adding more greens to your diet can’t hurt! Some types of lettuce are particularly good sources of vitamins A and C nutrients that are known for fighting off diseases like cancer.
Plus, researchers think there might be something special about romaine lettuce but more research is needed before we know for sure what makes it so beneficial for our health.
3) Builds Muscle
Eating foods that contain a good amount of protein has been shown to prevent muscle loss and increase overall strength in your body. Add more lean proteins into your diet for an easy way to boost your protein intake without resorting to drastic measures.
Leafy greens like lettuce, spinach, and kale will all provide you with enough essential amino acids—the building blocks of protein to build muscle at a steady rate.
Spinach also contains lutein and zeaxanthin, which are crucial for eye health as well as memory retention. If you’re looking to get strong or just keep up your strength, make sure leafy greens are a part of every meal. They may not be exciting, but they’ll keep you fit and active for years to come.
For example, eating about 2 cups of cooked spinach provides over 10 grams of protein, 5 grams of fiber, and essential nutrients such as calcium and iron. Leafy greens can help you control your weight in other ways too.
One study showed that people who ate salads before their meals lost an average of 6 pounds over a one-year period compared to non-salad eaters who only lost 1 pound on average during that time period.
And another study found that people who regularly ate iceberg lettuce had fewer cravings throughout their day than those who didn’t include a salad in their meals.
So if you’re looking for a simple way to keep yourself from overeating or snacking throughout your day, try adding leafy greens into every meal. You’ll be surprised at how quickly they become part of your daily routine.
If you’re looking for some new and exciting recipes that incorporate leafy greens into every meal, check out some of these healthy recipes:
(1) Spinach Quiche
(2) Broccoli Salad with Bacon
(3) Strawberry Spinach Salad with Blueberries
(4) Chicken Fajita Wrap
(5) Spicy Shrimp Tacos
(6) Buffalo Chicken Wraps
(7) Thai Turkey Burgers; and more!
4) Can Help Maintain Weight Loss
You don’t have to be on a diet or trying to lose weight in order to get benefits from lettuce. While you should focus on eating a variety of foods, not just salads if you’re trying to maintain your weight and your healthy lifestyle, adding a serving of lettuce into your meals is key.
One cup of shredded iceberg lettuce contains only 16 calories, so even though it may seem like an unnecessary addition (and most nutritionists will tell you that it is), it can help fill you up and keep your calorie count low throughout the day. Aside from weight loss, it can also boost the immune system.
Also important: it fills you up quickly so that you are less likely to reach for high-calorie snacks when hunger kicks in later on. In fact, research has shown that eating one piece of lettuce before each meal helped overweight women feel fuller faster than those who didn’t eat any veggies before their meal.
In addition to helping with weight loss, lettuce can also improve heart health and boost skin health by providing nutrients such as vitamin A, folate, fiber, and omega-3 fatty acids.
With so many reasons to add lettuce to your diet, why wouldn’t you? It doesn’t take much effort, but the payoff for your overall health is worth it!
5. Is a Source of Important Nutrients
Iceberg lettuce is an incredibly nutrient-dense food and a great source of vitamins and minerals that can benefit your health. The reason it’s so good for you? It contains loads of potassium, for instance, one serving provides 10 percent of your daily recommended intake.
And when paired with other dark green vegetables, like kale or spinach, it’s also a great source of vitamin K which keeps bones strong.
Romaine lettuce is another type of lettuce that’s great for you; one cup has 1.2 milligrams of folate and 4 percent of your daily recommended intake of calcium.
It also contains B vitamins which are important for metabolism, among other functions in your body. When eaten raw, romaine lettuce is high in water content and offers few calories (just five per cup).
But if you’re looking to add more greens into your diet without adding on extra pounds, try eating them cooked instead of raw. A study published in Food Chemistry found that steaming causes water loss from lettuce leaves while preserving nutrients.
So go ahead: Cook up some romaine instead of just eating it raw as a side dish! Cooking won’t destroy any key nutrients but will make it easier to digest.
For example, a group of scientists found that rats who ate freeze-dried cabbage had significantly higher blood levels of carcinogenic compounds than those who ate fresh cabbage.
Cooking allows more cabbage to be digested and absorbed by your body than raw cabbage would be. Steamed greens also contain fewer anti-nutrients such as phytates, oxalates, and tannins all components that have been shown to inhibit nutrient absorption compared with their raw counterparts.
However, cooking does not necessarily reduce nitrates in foods these form naturally during growth due to bacteria in soil but excessive amounts may increase cancer risk nor does cooking decrease pesticide residues or eliminate pathogens such as E Coli or salmonella bacteria.
6) Can Help avert Osteoporosis
The veggies are rich in calcium, and also contain plant estrogens called phytoestrogens. Phytoestrogens can help reduce menopausal symptoms and prevent osteoporosis.
Studies have shown that women who consume more cruciferous vegetables like kale, cabbage, broccoli, and lettuce tend to suffer from a less postmenopausal bone loss than those who eat fewer of these foods.
These benefits might be due to their high amounts of isothiocyanates which are known for their cancer-fighting properties. Moreover, eating a diet rich in green leafy vegetables has been linked with decreased risk of heart disease and certain types of cancer including breast cancer.
A study published in 2010 revealed that having one serving of leafy greens per day could lower your risk for stroke by about 30 percent and overall mortality by about 17 percent compared with people who didn’t eat any leafy greens at all. Leafy greens may even help keep you looking younger!
One cup of raw kale contains around 20 different carotenoids, including beta-carotene and lutein. Carotenoids are antioxidants that help protect cells from damage caused by free radicals.
This helps preserve skin elasticity, keeping it looking youthful and healthy. Eating plenty of dark leafy greens will also ensure you get enough iron in your diet.
Iron deficiency is one of the most common nutritional deficiencies in America today, especially among teenage girls. Iron plays an important role in red blood cell production, helping carry oxygen throughout your body.
If you don’t get enough iron through your diet, you can become fatigued and feel weak; without proper oxygenation, organs such as your brain and kidneys won’t function properly either.
7. Reduces Inflammation
Is lettuce really good for you? Find out why leafy greens like romaine and butterhead are an excellent source of Vitamin K. This essential nutrient is helpful in reducing inflammation which can promote kidney health and even prevent cancer growth.
Romaine is also a low-calorie, high-fiber option for weight loss and gut health. Reducing your body’s levels of inflammation can have positive effects on your overall health.
For example, it may help reduce risk factors associated with heart disease. If you’re trying to improve your diet, adding more fruits and vegetables that contain Vitamin K will be beneficial.
There are many foods that provide these nutrients; try including leafy greens like romaine or butterhead lettuce in every meal! The best part about eating fresh veggies is that they come pre-packaged with vitamins and minerals already included!
Plus, if you eat them raw, there is no need to worry about the cooking time or how long food has been sitting around before you eat it. It’s important to remember that not all lettuce varieties are created equal.
While iceberg lettuce contains almost no nutritional value, other varieties such as red leaf lettuce and green leaf lettuce are higher in fiber content and other nutrients.
To get your daily dose of Vitamin K without having to worry about consuming too much fat or calories from meat products, opt for a salad made from one of these types of healthy lettuces instead!