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Healthy Diet Plans >>  Therapeutic Value of Different Foods >>  Vegetables >>  Romaine Lettuce

Romaine Lettuce

A healthy heart needs all the help it can get to stay happy.  Romaine lettuce, the simple vegetable has the key nutrients and vitamins to help your heart.  It contains folic acid that breaks down homocysteine, which triggers heart attacks.  The vegetable is also an excellent potassium source.  Potassium and the fiber content of this lettuce variety lower blood pressure, thereby easing the workload of the heart

Romaine lettuce is categorized as a member of the Compositae plant genus or the daisy family.  It differentiates itself from the common lettuce or Lactuca sativa by having an elongated head, stiff leaves, and dark green and long narrow leaves.  A visible rib runs from the bottom to the top of the leaf.

The inner leaves are light in color. Health wise, the darker leaves are more nutritious.  The lettuce comes in different varieties and flavors.  The thicker older leaves (usually the outer leaves) ooze a white milky fluid when broken.  This is bitter to the taste. Other bitter parts of the lettuce are the leaf tips.  

Romaine lettuce figured prominently in ancient folk traditions in China, Egypt, Rome, and Greece.  In China, where it has grown for centuries, romaine lettuce represented good fortune.   In ancient Egypt, it was used to decorate tombs or depictions were carved into the stone tombs.   Greek and Roman folk remedies used the therapeutic properties of the versatile plant.    

It was only in the 17th century that romaine lettuce found its way to the United States; when the transport facilities and refrigeration technology revolutionized America, the lettuce found its way all over the country.    The discovery of the health benefits of romaine lettuce changed the way people thought of the salad vegetable.

Aside from the heart healthy nutrients and vitamins, romaine lettuce is enriched with Vitamin A, Vitamin B1 and Vitamin B2, chromium and manganese, molybdenum, iron, and phosphorous.   Eating the lettuce will prevent night blindness (Vit. A), wrinkling around the mouth’s edge or angular stomatitis (Vit. B12), anemia (Vit. C), and Beriberi (Vit. B1).  

For bone health, romaine lettuce provides 114.80 mcg of Vitamin K and 0.71 mg. of manganese making it an excellent source of the vitamin and mineral.   In addition, the presence of 0.08 g of omega 3 fatty acids can help reduce cholesterol levels.

To ensure that you enjoy all the health benefits of romaine lettuce, observe some storing techniques and buying tips.  When buying lettuce, check out the compactness of the head.  Avoid buying lettuce with discolorations on the stem and head.  

When storing the vegetable, dry this well after washing it thoroughly under running tap water.  Wrap with a damp cloth or vegetable plastic keeper in the refrigerator’s crisper.  Romaine lettuce keeps for a week if properly stored in the crisper.  However, do not store together with apples and pears.  The fruits will cause browning of the lettuce leaves.  

For a healthier life, incorporate the vegetable to your daily menu.  Have a happy heart, and prevent other diseases.  You might as well go organic too.   
Submitted on January 16, 2014