8 Impressive Benefits of Lettuce
Thursday 27th December 2018
The health benefits of lettuce include lower cholesterol levels, prevention of cancer, protection of neurons, regular sleep, anxiety control, lower inflammation, and a constant supply of antioxidants.
Lettuce Nutrition Facts
Lettuce contains moisture, energy, protein, fat, carbohydrates, dietary fiber, and sugars. The minerals and vitamins found in it include calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, and zinc along with vitamins like thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, folate, vitamin B6, C, A, E, and vitamin K.
Health Benefits of Lettuce
For thousands of years, this leaf has been cultivated as more than a vegetable. It was also thought to possess medicinal properties by ancient people. The health benefits that have been confirmed by modern scientific research include the following.
Lettuce possesses anti-inflammatory properties that help in controlling inflammation. In experimental models, lettuce extracts have shown significant controlling power over inflammation induced by biocatalysts like lipoxygenase and carrageenan.
Protects Neuronal Cells
Neurons are brain cells that form physical connections to make up memory. The death of neurons in particular connections or circuits can result in the loss of memory. In some extreme cases, significant neuronal death can result in the onset of diseases like Alzheimer's. The extracts from lettuce showed considerable control of neuron cell death due to its role in glucose/serum deprivation (GSD). The research also mentioned that lettuce has the potential to be used in neuroprotection as a common remedy for neurodegenerative diseases.
Lowers Cholesterol Levels
Lettuce can be beneficial in lowering high cholesterol levels that often lead to cardiovascular diseases and other dangerous conditions. High LDL cholesterol levels are harmful and can cause heart attack and stroke. A study was conducted on mice to test the impact of lettuce consumption on fat and cholesterol. The results indicated a significant reduction of cholesterol levels compared to mice that weren't fed lettuce. Lipid peroxidation was observed in most cases, which was concluded to be responsible for this form of cholesterol control.
One of the major traditional uses of lettuce in Unani medicine was as a sleep inducer. Research into the extracts of lettuce resulted in the isolation of a depressant chemical. This chemical, when administered in experimental animals, showed significant sedative effects. A 2013 research report, suggests that the main component(s) responsible for this effect in lettuce is most likely to be the non-polar agent(s),which are found in the n-butanol fraction (NBF)of this plant. Decreased heart rate and ventricular contractions were also observed. This particular chemical acts by blocking the excitatory signal processes of muscular and neural tissues.
Studies have shown that lettuce possesses antioxidants with significant free radical-scavenging capabilities. Antioxidants are a wide range of biochemicals mostly found in our diet; they are also very necessary for human health. Antioxidants act as barriers to free radicals, which are produced during cellular metabolism. These free radicals attack healthy tissues, cells, and the DNA inside them. They can often cause healthy cells to mutate into cancer cells. The result is the development of various diseases. Antioxidants, on the other hand, counteract these free radicals and neutralize them before the free radical attacks take place.
The latex of lettuce possesses antimicrobial properties. Candida albicans and a number of other yeasts were completely deformed upon coming into contact with the latex from lettuce. Biochemicals that are considered to possess these antimicrobial properties are the terpenes and cardenolides, as well as enzymes like glucanases.
The neurological properties of lettuce have long been suggested and exploited during ancient times and the Middle Ages in medical treaties such as the Unani system. A 2012 research paper published in the Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Disease has led to the conclusion that lettuce possesses anxiolytic properties. When lab animals were given lettuce extracts, their locomotive activity was reduced, suggesting considerable anxiolysis.
Lettuce leaf extracts can control certain types of cancer. Research on human cancer cells, particularly leukemia cells and breast cancer cells, were controlled to a significant extent after being treated with lettuce extracts. The experiments also suggested that the weight ratio of human lettuce consumption required to kill 50% of leukemia cells would be 3 kg.