Benefits of lettuce

Benefits of lettuce

Health: what salad is in my basket?

Salad: dietary, but not only! The salad is 95% water and contains only 15 kcal/100 g. It’s hard to find a lighter meal! But to satisfy us without weighing it on the scales is not its only merit. She also gives us…

– a lot of fiber: essential for good transit, body detoxification, good nutrition of the microbiota (and preventing the growth of pathogenic bacteria), slowing the glycemic load and fast satiety.

– Rich in vitamins and minerals: especially vitamin B9 (folic acid), necessary for cell renewal, cardiovascular protection, mood and memory disorders; and vitamin C, essential for immune defense. As for minerals, it is mainly calcium and iron.

– Good supply of antioxidants: in particular carotenoids and in particular lutein and zeaxanthin, essential for eye health. As well as anti-cancer phenolic compounds.

A salad for every season!

There are 2000 varieties of lettuce in the world, about 250 in France.. To better enjoy their benefits, it is ideal, of course, to try them at the right time of the year. PNNS* reminds us that three big families allow us to diversify our pleasures all year round:

– Chicory, from October to February: escarole, curly red or green, chicory or chicory… prized for their slight bitterness.

– Salad, from May to September: zucrine, red mullet, iceberg, batavia, oak leaves, romano… These are the most commonly used

– Small salads, from October to April: lamb salad, watercress, arugula, purslane, dandelion, sorrel, baby spinach, mesclun…

Not all salads are the same…

Whatever it is, salad should be included in every meal. But apart from seasonality, here’s what you need to know to perform well in the market:

– least interesting: iceberg. This type of very white lettuce, found in commercial sandwiches, is the least nutritious. For example, it contains 10 times less carotenoids than curly.

– Best: All salads are good for eating. But some contain more antioxidants (red or green curly), richer in calcium (romaine) or richer in vitamin C (lamb lettuce). Hence the interest in juggling different varieties. Note that small salads are especially rich in healthy nutrients from all sides.

– Those subject to precautionary measures: small salads. Bursting with benefits, they can sometimes irritates sensitive intestines especially to Fodmaps and cause bloating. In this family, it’s best to avoid dandelion (the king of detox) and opt for lamb salad, which is much milder and better tolerated.

How to eat salad

To benefit us on the inside, lettuce must be beautiful on the outside: not yellowed or wilted leaves, but firm and well-colored, which is a sign of the presence of very long-lived antioxidant pigments. Then it remains:

– Wash well: undress and leave for a few minutes in cold water with the addition of white vinegar. This is necessary to remove potential traces of microbes and pesticides. Do the same for a salad in a bag (practical but not very environmentally friendly) to eliminate traces of chlorine.

– Keep it good: Wipe the leaves well, place them in a cool bowl protected with cling film.

– Season well: lipids contribute to better absorption of nutrients. Therefore, there is no need to ban vinaigrette oil. But choose it well: canola oil (rich in omega-3s) or olive oil (vitamin E), rather than omega-6-rich peanut or sunflower oil, which is already too present in the rest of the diet. But be careful, whatever its nature, 1 tablespoon of oil = 90Kcal, so don’t overdo it!

– Try it good: Preferably as an appetizer because salad lowers the glycemic load of the next meal. And its satiating effect due to its high fiber content allows you to avoid eating more food than necessary.

Thanks to Dr. Pierre Nys, endocrinologist-nutritionist, author of The New Antidiabetic Diet for the Gastrointestinal Tract, ed. Leduc.s. And PNNS* recommendations (

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