Lettuce, believed to be one of the first vegetables brought to the new world by explorer Christopher Columbus, has been grown in the United States since colonial times
Today, in terms of production value, head lettuce is one of the three largest vegetable crops in the United States, surpasssed only by onions. More than 90 percent of U.S. lettuce production is located in California and Arizona. The main types include head (iceberg, butterhead, Boston and Bibb), romaine and various leaf varieties.
Over 90% of Lettuce Sold in the US is Grown in California
The majority of production from April through October occurs in the Salinas Valley of California, while production from November through March occurs in California’s Imperial Valley. The United States is the second largest lettuce-producing country behind China, which continues to dominate world production.
Resource via: AGMRC.org
Health Benefits of California Lettuce
Regular inclusion of lettuce in salads is known to prevent osteoporosis, iron-deficiency anemia and believed to protect from cardiovascular diseases, ARMD, Alzheimer’s disease and cancers. Check out these 10 amazing health benefits of California lettuce.
1. Lettuce has Low Calorie Content and Almost Zero Fat
Lettuce has only 12 calories for one shredded cup. This is why it is so good for weight loss.
2. Lettuce Helps Weight Loss
California grown lettuce contains fiber and cellulose. Besides filling you up, fiber improves your digestion. Improving your digestion may not sound like a good thing for losing weight, but it is actually essential for long term weight control. Fiber also helps remove bile salts from the body. When the body replaces these salts it breaks down cholesterol to do so. This is why lettuce is also good for your heart! (See next point.)
3. California Lettuce is Heart Healthy
Lettuce’s vitamin C and beta-carotene work together to prevent the oxidation of cholesterol. This prevents the build up of plaque.
4. Lettuce is Packed with Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Romaine lettuce has a two to one ratio of omega-3 to omega-6. That’s a great ratio. The fat content in lettuce is not significant UNLESS you eat a lot–but we actually suggest you do!
5. California Lettuce is a Complete Protein
Romaine lettuce’s calories are 20 percent protein. Like all whole foods, much of this protein is complete, but the amount can be increased by combining with balancing proteins.
6. Lettuce Helps with Insomnia
The white fluid that you see when you break or cut lettuce leaves is called lactucarium. This has relaxing and sleep inducing properties similar to opium but without the strong side effects. Simply eat a few leaves or drink some lettuce juice.
7. Lettuce is Alkaline Forming
The minerals in lettuce help remove toxins and keep your acid/alkaline balance in order. Once you are balanced on this level there are a host of benefits including greater energy, clearer thinking, deep restful sleep and youthful skin.
8. Lettuce has a Low Glycemic Index
Lettuce has an average glycemic index of 15, but because it has so few calories, its glycemic load is considered zero. Foods with low glycemic indexes are great for anyone watching their blood sugars for medical reasons, or for weight management. Of course, lettuce has no refined or white sugars either.
9. California Lettuce is a Whole Life Food
Lettuce is almost always eaten raw, providing us with many micronutrients not found in cooked or processed food. Eating raw food also adds vital energies not recognized by nutritional science. Large food corporations have not found a way to package lettuce long term or stick it in cans or boxes. Let’s hope they never do! In fact, lettuce is one of the few foods which can be found organic and prewashed already in bins for you to eat immediately.
10. Lettuce Tastes Great.
Even though lettuce is very low in calories, many varieties still have a sweet taste. To maximize benefits from your food you should really WANT to eat it with your whole body–not just your mind saying it is good for you. If you like the bitter taste you can find more bitter lettuce options, too!
Resource via: Care2.org
Lettuce Fun Facts
- Lettuce originated in the Mediterranean area and was first grown as a weed.
- Lettuce is a member of the sunflower family.
- On average, Americans eat 30 pounds of lettuce every year.
- The spine and ribs of lettuce provide dietary fiber, while vitamins and minerals are concentrated in the delicate leaf portion.
- Lettuce leaves that are darker in color contain more vitamins and minerals than the paler color varieties.
- Lettuce is harvested by hand.
- Lettuce was served on the tables of the Persian kings – 6th century B.C.
- Lettuce was revered by the Greeks and Romans for basic food and medicine for sleep induction.
- Emperor Caesar Augustus built a statue praising lettuce as he believed eating it had cured him of an illness!
- The Chinese consider lettuce good luck and eat it on special occasions.
- Lettuce was introduced to North America by none other than Christopher Columbus.
- Wild lettuce is common around the globe.