With this in mind, Vegging Out has taken a pledge to give this humble and largely overlooked salad vegetable a new lease of life.
The lettuce make-over began in my last post where I explored different ways to eat lettuce with 10 Tasty Lettuce Recipes. My hope is for us all to banish those cold and uninspiring lettuce and tomato salads in favour of something a little more adventurous.
So . . . what else is there to say about lettuce?!
One of the most interesting things about lettuce can be found in its stem.
Break the base of your lettuce stems and you should see a milky fluid appear. When dried, this fluid, best seen in the wild Lactuca virosa species of lettuce, is called ‘lactucarium’. Lactucarium is also known as ‘lettuce opium’ because it has a sedative quality.
Lactucarium was popular in the 19th century, but it was discovered and used way before that. The Romans and Egyptians took advantage of the lettuce’s opium-like properties by eating it at the end of a meal to put them to sleep.
Lettuce – the Natural Diuretic
Lettuce is a good choice for those suffering from water retention and bloating because it is highly diuretic.
Diuretics help the body to eliminate sodium and water, which is why they are often prescribed by doctors to lower the blood pressure of those with hypertension. However, diuretics can also rob the body of essential minerals such as potassium and magnesium.
The good thing about lettuce is that it couples its diuretic properties with a good dose of minerals, including manganese, chromium, potassium, iron, phosphorus and calcium.
The best way to use lettuce as a diuretic is to juice half to a whole head and drink on its own or mixed with other vegetable or fruit juices such as spinach, carrot, garlic or apple (that’s not a recipe by the way!). It’s easier to juice a hard-headed variety such as iceberg.
Lettuce – for Natural Beauty
Lettuce contains nutrients that are important for maintaining healthy skin. Here’s a few ways you can use it in your beauty routine:
- Lettuce cleansing lotion – Just two ingredients, lettuce and tincture of benzoin, make a lotion for cleansing skin.
- Homemade vegetable toner – Juice up cucumber, lettuce, lemon juice and tomato, refrigerate then use as a refreshing skin toner.
- Lettuce sunburn reliever – Find out how you can use lettuce to provide natural relief from sunburn.
Nutrients in Lettuce
According to the World’s Healthiest Foods, lettuce contains excellent quantities of vitamin K, vitamin A, vitamin C, folate, manganese, chromium as well as very good quantities of potassium, molybdenum, fibre, vitamin B1, iron, vitamin B2, phosphorus, and good quantities of calcium, tryptophan, vitamin B3 and vitamin B6.
[Photo by skylarprimm from Flickr.]