Lettuce (Lactuca sativa), a small lettuce with soft, jagged or curly, green or red leaves, is probably the best known of the vegetable plants in our gardens.
Photo Kai Pilger in Pexels
Native to Europe and Asia, it was born from the wild lettuce that is commonly found at the roadside in temperate regions.
Lettuce and its health benefits
It offers an incomparable nutritional richness. Light and refreshing, it is full of minerals, vitamins and essential nutrients.
Depending on whether you eat the green leaves outside or the heart, which is rather white, you will not have the same nutritional intake. Therefore, it is preferable to eat both to take advantage of all the health benefits and virtues of lettuce.
Lettuce is an essential source of folic acid (vitamin B9), which plays a key role in the renewal of all cells in the body.
Thanks to its fiber content, lettuce is a food with a high power of satiety and a minimum of calories. Lettuce regulates digestive functions, promotes digestion and transit.
If you are prone to constipation, it is best to eat lettuce at night to facilitate rest and bowel movements the next morning.
It is known to have beneficial effects against urine retention and visceral congestion. It relieves painful inflammation of the liver, gallbladder and intestines.
In the form of alcohol (alcohol macerating), lettuce may reduce blood sugar levels by up to 30% in diabetics.
The decoction of the lettuces (100 grams of leaves per liter of water) promotes sleep and intestinal transit.
Hot lettuce poultices, made from cooked leaves, relieve boils and boiling.
Growing lettuce for its benefits
If you want to grow lettuce in your garden, keep in mind that it needs a medium shade exposure, not too hot, and a rich, fresh, humid and well-drained soil.
Remember to bring manure in the fall before you grow, along with additional organic fertilizer. The soil should be kept moist at all times.
Potted lettuce is fun and easy to grow.
Install your plants between March and October.
Beware of slugs, snails and caterpillars, which are very fond of lettuce. Be careful with them, scatter ashes around the plants or put a bell to keep them away.
Lettuce in the kitchen and its properties
Wash the lettuce in very cold water just before preparing it. Drain it in a cloth or in a salad basket. The vinaigrette will keep better in the leaves if they are dry.
To avoid oxidizing the leaves (which destroys the vitamin C ), it is preferable to tear the lettuce out rather than cutting it with a knife and doing this only at the last minute.
To enjoy the lettuce, cut it as it develops and eat it immediately because it withers and loses its nutritional qualities very quickly ( vitamin C in particular).
However, you can store it for a few days at the bottom of the refrigerator, wrapped in a cloth or in a perforated plastic bag.
In the refrigerator, avoid apples, pears and bananas that emit ethylene, a gas that causes lettuce to rot.
If we mainly eat the lettuce raw, it is also delicious in the soup!
Nutrient intake and nutritional value
It is a highly digestible salad, providing 15 kcal/100 g when raw, a little less when cooked.
Is especially rich in vitamin B9, vitamin C and B3, but also in potassium, phosphorus, magnesium and calcium. It is highly recommended in low-calorie diets.
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