We talk a lot about green smoothies and their benefits and using dark greens like spinach, kale and spring greens. But, have you considered using lettuce in your smoothies?
“Boring, not many nutrients in lettuce right?” Actually they a crazy nutritious! Not the limp leaved watery veg you might think they are. A really great starter green too as they blend away to nothing, so if you aren’t keen on the fibery bits (you’ll love them once you’re a connoisseur) this is a good option.
Just 100 g of fresh, raw-lettuce provides 247% of daily vitamin A. As a guide, a small baby gem (still in the same family as Romaine) might be around 120g. I tend to use a full sized Romaine which is about 250g.
Vitamin A is required for maintaining healthy mucus membranes and skin which protects against viruses, and is also essential for vision. The flavonoids in lettuce and other veg and fruit will help to protect the body from lung and oral cavity cancers.
Bring on the K vits! Romaine is bursting with them. Vitamin K is thought to increase bone mass by promoting osteotrophic activity inside the bone cells. It also has established role in Alzheimer’s disease patients by limiting neuronal damage in the brain.
Folates and vitamin C: Folates required for DNA synthesis and therefore, play a vital role in prevention of the neural tube defects in the baby (fetus) during pregnancy.
We know that Vitamin C is a powerful natural antioxidant and eating them regularly helps the body develop resistance against infectious agents and scavenge harmful, pro-inflammatory free radicals.
Zea-xanthin (1730 µg per 100 g), is a super cool carotenoid in lettuce. It is selectively absorbed into the retinal macula lutea, where it thought to provide antioxidant and filter UV rays falling on the retina. Simply put, our sight (and other processes) fail as we age unless we feed them the nutrients needed to regenerate. Macular degeneration is particularly common in the elderly (my nana has it ) so keeping these carotenoid levels high could help to protect the eye sight.
Minerals levels are also high in lettuces. Iron, calcium, magnesium, and potassium, which are all essential for body metabolism.
Potassium is great for controlling heart rate and blood pressure.
Romaine is actually highest in copper which is required in the production of red blood cells. Plus theres iron which is essential for red blood cell formation.
How about B vitamins? Yep! Romaine has those too! (thiamin, vitamin B-6 (pyridoxine), riboflavins.)
Butter head, crisp head, little gem, Romaine and baby gem are all of the same family so include as many as possible!