Unlike many other vegetables, describing the health benefits of lettuce can be rather difficult, as not all lettuce is created equally; for example, outside of a seriously low calorie count, iceberg lettuce has little to no nutritional value. However, darker green lettuce varieties are rich in vitamin A, including beta-carotene, as well as folic acid and fiber.
Vitamin A and beta-carotene, which are present in dark, leafy green lettuces, can help to prevent a variety of diseases and health conditions. Regularly consuming dark green lettuces, including romaine, can help to keep your eyes healthy, preventing or delaying age-related degeneration as well as cataracts. This antioxidant is also known for fighting off certain types of cancer and preventing heart disease.
The folic acid that many varieties of lettuce contain can help to prevent neural-tube birth defects when eaten regularly by pregnant women, and some researchers believe that regularly eating a diet high in folic acid can also help to protect against heart disease, especially in those with a family history of this health condition. The fiber present in most lettuces can aid in digestion, potentially lowering your risks of developing colon cancer.
In addition to all of these health benefits of lettuce, dark green varieties are also often rich in vitamin C, which helps to support a healthy immune system. And when vitamin C is combined with fiber and vitamin A, it can also help to keep your heart healthy. Lettuces rich in vitamin C include romaine, chicory, and various other varieties.
To get the most health benefits of lettuce, always choose fresh, dark green varieties, and try to keep the dressing to a minimum; generally, the healthier the lettuce, the more flavor it has. So eat up!
Many people also like to enjoy the benefits of lettuce by juicing lettuce. Typically you would juice lettuce with other ingredients, similar to how you treat spinach or kale. For nutritional benefits alone, opt for more of the green or red varieties of lettuce to optimize the benefits you are adding lettuce to your juice for in the first place.
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