Salad eaters are prone to mixing up the different kinds of lettuces, beefing up veggies with iceberg, green leaf, romaine and red lettuces, among others.
Of those, romaine lettuce was in the spotlight early last year when one batch was the source of an E. coli contamination that affected 172 people in the U.S. The incident made people keep off lettuce for a while. This was until the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) gave citizens the heads up to go ahead with purchasing the romaine lettuce in May 2018.
The positive outcome of the scare was that it made salad aficionados more conscious of the choice of lettuce they used. In comparison, red leaf lettuce is loaded with more phytonutrients than green leaf lettuce, say nutritionists. Phytonutrients are important since they give the lettuce the red color and are loaded with antioxidant properties needed to build a strong immune system. Therefore, red leaf lettuces are the healthiest type of lettuce for this reason and many others mentioned below.
High in nutrition
Three cups or 85 grams of red lettuce has 127 percent of the Required Daily Intake (RDI) of vitamin A. The fat-soluble compound is needed to maintain good eye health and immunity. It is also necessary for vital functioning of the main organs like the heart and lungs.
The same quantity of red lettuce provides 149 percent of the RDI of vitamin K, which is needed for calcium absorption and bone growth that can otherwise lead to osteoporosis if deficient.
Anthocyanins, which belong to the flavonoid group of phytonutrients, are required to prevent inflammation and the spread of free radicals. They are also known to reduce the risk of heart disease and lower cholesterol.
Lowers blood pressure
Potassium found in red leaf lettuce helps stabilize blood pressure, reducing the risk of heart disease and stroke. Adding lettuce to a potassium-rich diet with avocados and beans may help sustain blood pressure within normal range.
Since red lettuce has high water content and low calories, it is able to aid weight loss. Though no study really backs this, it is a known fact that any food that provides enough hydration is filling and can instigate weight loss.
Lowers risk of heart disease
About 85 grams of red lettuce has 3 percent of the magnesium required daily and 5 percent of every day’s potassium. Deficiencies of these two minerals can lead to coronary heart disease and heart failure. Just having three cups of red lettuce a day can put off heart disease for people prone to heart trouble.