One of our oldest vegetables, lettuce, has been consumed in human food since about 500 BC. it was grown all over the world, lettuce has several varieties of leaves, colors, shapes, and textures. Confident presence in the preparation of salads and sandwiches, among the most common varieties, are curly lettuce and Nigeria lettuce.
LETTUCE IN Nigeria
With the scientific name Lactuca sativa, lettuce is the most popular leafy vegetable in the world, and in Nigeria, it could not be different.
It is estimated that of the total invested by Nigerians in the purchase of vegetables, 40% are for lettuce, the main protagonist of our salads.
THE WORD LETTUCE DICTIONARY
In the dictionary, lettuce appears as a herb of large, smooth leaves, light green in color, used in the preparation of salads. Although it is a feminine word, it is also used colloquially in the masculine when referring to its set of leaves.
The word “lettuce” is rooted in the Latin word “Lactuca,” which derives from “lac” (milk), due to a kind of milky juice found in ripe lettuces.
But the most important thing is to know that this vegetable is one of the healthiest foods in the world, offering consumers countless benefits. Let's “browse” some of them.
With about 9 to 14 calories per 100g, lettuce is a very welcome food on our daily menu. See some of the countless benefits of this more than a popular vegetable.
- Rich in vitamin C and beta-carotene, it helps to lower blood pressure and dissolve fatty plaques near the heart, reducing the risk of heart problems.
- It helps with weight loss - both for its high fiber content, which promotes healthy digestion and for its extremely low caloric value.
- Aids in digestion - With a large number of minerals and fibers, it helps in digestion and in the proper functioning of the intestine.
- Easy to prepare - most of the time, it is consumed raw, which preserves nutrients.
- It contains a good amount of iron, necessary for the transport of oxygen in the body.
Lettuce has among its nutritional properties:
- 95% water
- Vitamins A (beta-carotene), C, E, and B Complex
- Minerals (calcium, phosphorus, potassium, and iron).
- 20% protein
- Low caloric value - 100 g of lettuce = 9 calories.
Among its medicinal properties are:
- Helps to treat and prevent anemia.
- Helps to repair damaged muscle tissues and also prevents inflammation.
- Due to its low glycemic index (below 15), it is a good ally in the prevention of diabetes 2, stroke, and heart problems.
IS LETTUCE A VEGETABLE OR A VEGETABLE?
Often, we have difficulty differentiating one from the other because they are all used in the preparation of salads. Let's clear up this doubt once and for all. According to experts, the difference between greenery and vegetables is in the botanical part of the plants. The parts classified as vegetables consist of leaves (Acela, lettuce, cabbage, etc.) and flowers (e.g., broccoli, cauliflower, etc.), while vegetables are made up of fruits, stems, and roots. So, you already realized that our popular lettuce is a vegetable.
LETTUCE MAKE YOU SLEEPY?
It sounds like a joke, but lettuce is a proven ally for those who need a good night's sleep. That's because it contains niacin, which helps in the synthesis of serotonin. With a calming and sedative effect, a lettuce salad does help you relax, fighting insomnia and every day tensions.
Before buying, make sure the lettuce leaves are firm, shiny, and free of dark areas or insect bites.
When you get home, place the lettuce in the refrigerator, in a plastic frog, or in a closed container and remove the leaves as needed.
It is recommended to consume for a maximum of three or four days.
HOW TO WASH LETTUCE
Because it is eaten raw, lettuce requires great care in cleaning, either to eliminate bacteria or pesticides used in cultivation. A good indication is to use Hypochlorite.
Here's how to do it:
- Remove and discard the yellowed, “burned,” or withered leaves.
- Wash the leaves under running water, separating them to eliminate sand, insects, or larvae.
- Then fill a basin with water and add Hypochlorite.
- Soak for the time recommended on the packaging.
- After that time, drain the leaves and place them on a clean paper towel or dishtowel to remove excess water.
Easy to prepare and accessible to everyone, lettuce occupies a very special place on the Nigerian table. But what makes it so attractive is that it can be combined with the most varied ingredients, such as vegetables, meats, fruits, or grains, to make delicious salads. We have chosen a very simple and delicious recipe for you to try.
HOW TO PLANT LETTUCE IN PET BOTTLE
Another good way to grow lettuce, especially for those who have little space - apartments, for example, is to use PET bottles. The land for planting must be prepared in advance (50% of common land and 50% of black soil).
Step by step:
- Using scissors, drill large holes in the bottom of the PET bottle.
- Cut a window on the side of the bottle.
- Prepare the substrate that will be at the bottom of the container (e.g., expanded clay or stone)
- Cover the bottom of the bottle with pieces of Styrofoam;
- In a gardening blanket, cut a circle and wrap it over the Styrofoam covering it completely.
- Fill the bottle halfway with the earth.
- Place the lettuce carefully, complete with a little more soil.
- Prepare a hook with a wire, tie it to the neck of the bottle, and hang it.
LETTUCE: BENEFITS AND HARMS
The fact that vegetables are important and beneficial in food does not mean that they should be consumed in excess. Not even lettuce.
- Due to its high content of manganese, the excessive consumption of lettuce in diets can impair the functioning of the thyroid and, therefore, weight loss.
- Like cauliflower and broccoli, lettuce is a slightly acidic food, which, if consumed in excess, can cause stomach acidity.