Lettuce (Lactuca sativa) is a vegetable with an inner core (or heart) and layers of leaves growing out. Depending on variety the leaves can vary in color from white, to green, to red or purple.
Health Benefits of Lettuce
- Increased Protection from Bacterial and Viral Infections
- Increased Immune Function
- Reduced Cancer Risk
- Reduced Risk of Colon Cancer
- Protection Against Heart Disease
- Slowing Aging
- DNA Repair and Protection
- Alleviation of Cardiovascular Disease
- Alleviation of Hypertension (High Blood Pressure)
- Alzheimer's Protection
- Osteoporosis Protection
- Stroke Prevention
- Antioxidant Protection
- Prevention of Epileptic Seizures
- Prevention of Alopecia (Spot Baldness) Lettuce is known to help soothe a cough or other bronchial problems. Lettuce is also used as a mild sedative or narcotic. Used externally, lettuce extracts are found in sunburn lotions and can be used to treat other inflammation.
*Some of these health benefits are due to the nutrients highly concentrated in Lettuce, and may not necessarily be related to Lettuce.
How to choose Lettuce
Look for vibrant crisp leaves and avoid any lettuce that looks wilted, flimsy, and weak.
Climate and origin
Depending on variety lettuce can grow in almost any climate and at any time of year. It is not known where lettuce originated, but it was first cultivated by the ancient Egyptians.
Taste depends on variety, but in general, lettuce has a bitter and bland taste. Leaves towards the heart of the lettuce tend to be more tender than tougher outer leaves.
Lettuce was viewed in Roman culture as a symbol of high morality and temperance, and was known for its medicinal properties. Lettuce was so important to the Romans that the emperor Augustus had a statue made in its honor.
Similar tasting produce
Natural vitamins, minerals, and nutrients found in Lettuce + Complete Nutrition FactsVitamin A | Vitamin B1 (Thiamin) | Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) | Vitamin B6 | Vitamin B9 (Folate, Folic Acid) | Vitamin C | Calcium | Manganese | Iron | Potassium | Click here to compare these nutrition facts with other vegetables.No Nutrition Facts Available
- Office Of Dietary Supplements Fact Sheet: Calcium
- National Osteoporosis Foundation. NOF osteoporosis prevention: risk factors for osteoporosis, 2003.
- U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Food labeling: health claims; calcium and osteoporosis, and calcium, vitamin D, and osteoporosis.
- Allender PS, Cutler JA, Follmann D, Cappuccio FP, Pryer J, Elliott P. Dietary calcium and blood pressure. Ann Intern Med 1996;124:825-31.
- Bucher HC, Cook RJ, Guyatt GH, Lang JD, Cook DJ, Hatala R, et al. Effects of dietary calcium supplementation on blood pressure. JAMA 1996;275:1016-22.
- McCarron D, Reusser M. Finding consensus in the dietary calcium-blood pressure debate. J Am Coll Nutr 1999;18:398S-405S.
- American Dietetic Association, Dietitians of Canada. Position of the American Dietetic Association and Dietitians of Canada: vegetarian diets. J Am Diet Assoc 2003;103:748-65.
- Rouse IL, Beilin LJ, Armstrong BK, Vandongen R. Blood-pressure-lowering effect of a vegetarian diet: controlled trial in normotensive subjects. Lancet 1983;1:5-10.
- Margetts BM, Beilin L, Armstrong BK, Vandongen R. Vegetarian diet in the treatment of mild hypertension: a randomized controlled trial. J Hypertens 1985:S429-31.
- Beilin LJ, Armstrong BK, Margetts BM, Rouse IL, Vandongen R. Vegetarian diet and blood pressure. Nephron 1987;47:37-41.
- Berkow SE, Barnard ND. Blood pressure regulation and vegetarian diets. Nutr Rev 2005;63:1-8.
- Slattery M, Edwards S, Boucher K, Anderson K, Caan B. Lifestyle and colon cancer: an assessment of factors associated with risk. Am J Epidemiol 1999;150:869-77.
- Kampman E, Slattery M, Bette C, Potter J. Calcium, vitamin D, sunshine exposure, dairy products, and colon cancer risk. Cancer Causes Control 2000;11:459-66.
- Holt P, Atillasoy E, Gilman J, Guss J, Moss SF, Newmark H, et al. Modulation of abnormal colonic epithelial cell proliferation and differentiation by low-fat dairy foods. JAMA 1998;280:1074-9.
- Biasco G, Paganelli M. European trials on dietary supplementation for cancer prevention. Ann N Y Acad Sci 1999;889:152-6.
- Cascinu S, Del Ferro E, Cioccolini P. Effects of calcium and vitamin supplementation on colon cancer cell proliferation in colorectal cancer. Cancer Invest 2000;18:411-6.
- Martinez ME, Willett WC. Calcium, vitamin D, and colorectal cancer: a review of epidemiologic evidence. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 1998;7:163-8.
- Chan JM, Stampfer MJ, Gann PH, Gaziano JM, Giovannucci EL. Dairy products, calcium, and prostate cancer risk in the Physicians Health Study. Am J Clin Nutr 2001;74:549-54.
- Giovannucci EL, Rimm EB, Wolk A, Ascherio A, Stampfer MJ, Colditz GA, et al. Calcium and fructose intake in relation to risk of prostate cancer. Cancer Res 1998;58:442-7.
- Chan JM, Giovannucci E, Andersson SO, Yuen J, Adami HO, Wok A. Dairy products, calcium, phosphorous, vitamin D, and risk of prostate cancer (Sweden). Cancer Causes Control 1998;9:559-66.
- Chan JM, Giovannucci EL. Dairy products, calcium, and vitamin D and risk of prostate cancer. Epidemiol Rev 2001;23:87-92.
- Rodriguez C, McCullough ML, Mondul AM, Jacobs EJ, Fakhrabadi-Shokoohi D, Giovannucci EL, et al. Calcium, dairy products, and risk of prostate cancer in a prospective cohort of United States men. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 2003;12:597-603.
- Kesse E, Bertrais S, Astorg P, Jaouen A, Arnault N, Galan P, et al. Dairy products, calcium and phosphorus intake, and the risk of prostate cancer: results of the French prospective SU.VI.MAX (Supplementation en Vitamines et Mineraux Antioxydants) study. Br J Nutr 2006;95:539-45.
- Mitrou PN, Albanes D, Weinstein SJ, Pietinen P, Taylor PR, Virtamo J, et al. A prospective study of dietary calcium, dairy products and prostate cancer risk (Finland). Int J Cancer 2007;120:2466-73.
- Chan JM, Pietinen P, Virtanen M, Chan JM, Pietinen P, Virtanen M, et al. Diet and prostate cancer risk in a cohort of smokers, with a specific focus on calcium and phosphorus (Finland). Cancer Causes Control 2000;11:859-67.
- Schuurman AG, Van den Brandt PA, Dorant E, Goldbohm RA. Animal products, calcium and protein and prostate cancer risk in the Netherlands Cohort Study. Br J Cancer 1999;80:1107-13.
- Kristal AR, Stanford JL, Cohen JH, Wicklund K, Patterson RE. Vitamin and mineral supplement use is associated with reduced risk of prostate cancer. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 1999;8:887-92.
- Vlajinac HD, Marinkovic JM, Ilic MD, Kocev NI. Diet and prostate cancer: a case-control study. Eur J Cancer 1997;33:101-7.
- Jackson RD, LaCroix AZ, Gass M, Wallace RB, Robbins J, Lewis CE, et al. Calcium plus vitamin D supplementation and the risk of fractures. N Engl J Med 2006;354:669-83.
- Curhan G, Willett WC, Rimm E, Stampher MJ. A prospective study of dietary calcium and other nutrients and the risk of symptomatic kidney stones. N Engl J Med 1993;328:833-8.
- Bihl G, Meyers A. Recurrent renal stone disease?advances in pathogenesis and clinical management. Lancet 2001;358:651-6.
- Hall WD, Pettinger M, Oberman A, Watts NB, Johnson KC, Paskett ED, et al. Risk factors for kidney stones in older women in the Southern United States. Am J Med Sci 2001;322:12-8.
- Borghi L, Schianchi T, Meschi T, Guerra A, Allegri F, Maggiore U, et al. Comparison of two diets for the prevention of recurrent stones in idiopathic hypercalciuria. N Engl J Med 2002;346:77-84.
- Shannon MT, Wilson BA, Stang CL. Health Professionals Drug Guide. Stamford, CT: Appleton and Lange, 2000.
- Jellin JM, Gregory P, Batz F, Hitchens K. Pharmacist's Letter/Prescriber's Letter Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database. 3rd ed. Stockton, CA: Therapeutic Research Facility, 2000.
- Peters ML, Leonard M, Licata AA. Role of alendronate and risedronate in preventing and treating osteoporosis. Cleve Clin J Med 2001;68:945-51.
- Gallagher JC, Goldgar D, Moy A. Total bone calcium in normal women: effect of age and menopause status. J Bone Min Res 1987;2:491-6.
- Dawson-Hughes B, Dallal GE, Krall EA, Sadowski L, Sahyoun N, Tannenbaum S. A controlled trial of the effect of calcium supplementation on bone density in postmenopausal women. N Engl J Med 1990;323:878-83.
- Elders PJ, Lips P, Netelenbos JC, van Ginkel FC, Khoe E, van der Vijgh WJ, et al. Long-term effect of calcium supplementation on bone loss in perimenopausal women. J Bone Min Res 1994;9:963-70.
- Abrams SA, Silber TJ, Esteban NV, Vieira NE, Stuff JE, Meyers R, et al. Mineral balance and bone turnover in adolescents with anorexia nervosa. J Pediatr 1993;123:326-31.
- Standing Committee on the Scientific Evaluation of Dietary Reference Intakes, Food and Nutrition Board, Institute of Medicine. Dietary Reference Intakes for Calcium, Phosphorus, Magnesium, Vitamin D and Fluoride. Washington, DC: National Academy Press, 1997.
- Weaver CM, Heaney RP. Calcium. In: Shils ME, Shike M, Ross AC, Caballero B, Cousins RJ. Modern Nutrition in Health and Disease. 10th ed. Baltimore, MD: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2006:194-210.
- Mark J Bolland, senior research fellow,1 Alison Avenell, clinical senior lecturer,2 John A Baron, professor,3 Andrew Grey, associate professor,1 Graeme S MacLennan, senior research fellow,2 Greg D Gamble, research fellow,1 and Ian R Reid, professor1. Effect of calcium supplements on risk of myocardial infarction and cardiovascular events: meta-analysis. BMJ. 2010; 341: c3691. Published online 2010 July 29. doi: 10.1136/bmj.c3691.
- Mark J Bolland, research fellow1, P Alan Barber, senior lecturer1, Robert N Doughty, associate professor1, Barbara Mason, research officer1, Anne Horne, research fellow1, Ruth Ames, research officer1, Gregory D Gamble, research fellow1, Andrew Grey, associate professor1, Ian R Reid, professor1. Vascular events in healthy older women receiving calcium supplementation: randomised controlled trial. BMJ 2008; 336 doi: 10.1136/bmj.39440.525752.BE (Published 31 January 2008).
- Office Of Dietary Supplements Fact Sheet: Folate
- Doshi SN, McDowell IF, Moat SJ, Payne N, Durrant HJ, Lewis MJ, Goodfellos J. Folic acid improves endothelial function in coronary artery disease via mechanisms largely independent of homocysteine. Circulation. 2002;105:22-6.
- Doshi SN, McDowell IFW, Moat SJ, Lang D, Newcombe RG, Kredean MB, Lewis MJ, Goodfellow J. Folate improves endothelial function in coronary artery disease. Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol 2001;21:1196-1202.
- Wald DS, Bishop L, Wald NJ, Law M, Hennessy E, Weir D, McPartlin J, Scott J. Randomized trial of folic acid supplementation and serum homocysteine levels. Arch Intern Med 2001;161:695-700.
- Jennings E. Folic acid as a cancer preventing agent. Med Hypothesis 1995;45:297-303.
- Freudenheim JL, Grahm S, Marshall JR, Haughey BP, Cholewinski S, Wilkinson G. Folate intake and carcinogenesis of the colon and rectum. Int J Epidemiol 1991;20:368-74.
- Giovannucci E, Stampfer MJ, Colditz GA, Hunter DJ, Fuchs C, Rosner BA, Speizer FE, Willett WC. Multivitamin use, folate, and colon cancer in women in the Nurses' Health Study. Ann Intern Med 1998;129:517-24.
- A Paoloni-Giacobino, R Grimble, C Pichard. Genetics and nutrition. Clinical Nutrition Volume 22, Issue 5, Pages 429-435 (October 2003)
- Corradaa MM, Kawasab CH, Hallfrischc J, Mullerd D, Brookmeyere R. Reduced risk of Alzheimer?s disease with high folate intake: The Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging. Alzheimer's and Dementia Volume 1, Issue 1, Pages 11-18 (July 2005).
- Wang HX, Wahlin Å, Basun H, Fastbom J, Winblad B, Fratiglioni L. Vitamin B12 and folate in relation to the development of Alzheimer?s disease. Neurology May 8, 2001 vol. 56 no. 9 1188-1194.
- Leach RM, Harris ED. Manganese. In: O'Dell BL, Sunde RA, eds. Handbook of nutritionally essential minerals. New York: Marcel Dekker, Inc; 1997:335-355.
- Freeland-Graves J, Llanes C. Models to study manganese deficiency. In: Klimis-Tavantzis DL, ed. Manganese in health and disease. Boca Raton: CRC Press, Inc; 1994.
- Reginster JY, Strause LG, Saltman P, Franchimont P. Trace elements and postmenopausal osteoporosis: a preliminary study of decreased serum manganese. Med Sci Res. 1988;16:337-338.
- Odabasi E, Turan M, Aydin A, Akay C, Kutlu M. Magnesium, zinc, copper, manganese, and selenium levels in postmenopausal women with osteoporosis. Can magnesium play a key role in osteoporosis? Ann Acad Med Singapore. 2008;37(7):564-567.
- Keen CL, Zidenberg-Cherr S. Manganese. In: Ziegler EE, Filer LJ, eds. Present Knowledge in Nutrition. 7th ed. Washington D.C.: ILSI Press; 1996:334-343.
- Carl GF, Gallagher BB. Manganese and epilepsy. In: Klimis-Tavantzis DL, ed. Manganese in health and disease. Boca Raton: CRC Press, Inc; 1994:133-157.
- Blaurock-Busch, E. Wichtige Nahrstoffe fur Gesunde Haut und Haare, Kosmetik Internat. 3/87.
- Collipp, P.J., et al. Manganese in infant formulas and learning disability. Ann. Nutr. Metab. 27(6):488-494, 1983.
- Office of Dietary Supplements Fact Sheet: Vitamin B6
- Office of Dietary Supplements Fact Sheet: Iron
- Hallberg L, Rossander L. Effect of different drinks on the absorption of non-heme iron from composite meals. Hum Nutr Appl Nutr. 1982 Apr;36(2):116-23.
- Richard F. Hurrell, Manju Reddy, and James D. Cook. Inhibition of non-haem iron absorption in man by polyphenolic-containing beverages. British Journal of Nutrition (1999), 81, 289-295
- National Library of Medicine Fact Sheet on Taking Iron Supplements.
- New SA, Bolton-Smith C, Grubb DA, Reid DM. Nutritional influences on bone mineral density: a cross-sectional study in premenopausal women. Am J Clin Nutr. 1997;65(6):1831-1839.
- New SA, Robins SP, Campbell MK, et al. Dietary influences on bone mass and bone metabolism: further evidence of a positive link between fruit and vegetable consumption and bone health? Am J Clin Nutr. 2000;71(1):142-151.
- Tucker KL, Hannan MT, Chen H, Cupples LA, Wilson PW, Kiel DP. Potassium, magnesium, and fruit and vegetable intakes are associated with greater bone mineral density in elderly men and women. Am J Clin Nutr. 1999;69(4):727-736.
- Ascherio A, Rimm EB, Hernan MA, et al. Intake of potassium, magnesium, calcium, and fiber and risk of stroke among US men. Circulation. 1998;98(12):1198-1204.
- Iso H, Stampfer MJ, Manson JE, et al. Prospective study of calcium, potassium, and magnesium intake and risk of stroke in women. Stroke. 1999;30(9):1772-1779.
- Fang J, Madhavan S, Alderman MH. Dietary potassium intake and stroke mortality. Stroke. 2000;31(7):1532-1537.
- Bazzano LA, He J, Ogden LG, et al. Dietary potassium intake and risk of stroke in US men and women: National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey I epidemiologic follow-up study. Stroke. 2001;32(7):1473-1480.
- Green DM, Ropper AH, Kronmal RA, Psaty BM, Burke GL. Serum potassium level and dietary potassium intake as risk factors for stroke. Neurology. 2002;59(3):314-320.
- Barri YM, Wingo CS. The effects of potassium depletion and supplementation on blood pressure: a clinical review. Am J Med Sci. 1997;314(1):37-40.
- Hajjar IM, Grim CE, George V, Kotchen TA. Impact of diet on blood pressure and age-related changes in blood pressure in the US population: analysis of NHANES III. Arch Intern Med. 2001;161(4):589-593.
- Appel LJ, Moore TJ, Obarzanek E, et al. A clinical trial of the effects of dietary patterns on blood pressure. DASH Collaborative Research Group. N Engl J Med. 1997;336(16):1117-1124.
- Gennari FJ. Hypokalemia. N Engl J Med. 1998;339(7):451-458.
- Office Of Dietary Supplements Fact Sheet: Vitamin A
- Semba RD. The role of vitamin A and related retinoids in immune function. Nutr Rev 1998;56:S38-48.
- Ross DA. Vitamin A and public health: Challenges for the next decade. Proc Nutr Soc 1998;57:159-65.
- Harbige LS. Nutrition and immunity with emphasis on infection and autoimmune disease. Nutr Health 1996;10:285-312.
- de Pee S, West CE. Dietary carotenoids and their role in combating vitamin A deficiency: A review of the literature. Eur J Clin Nutr 1996;50 Suppl 3:S38-53.
- Institute of Medicine. Food and Nutrition Board. Dietary Reference Intakes for Vitamin A, Vitamin K, Arsenic, Boron, Chromium, Copper, Iodine, Iron, Manganese, Molybdenum, Nickel, Silicon, Vanadium, and Zinc. National Academy Press, Washington, DC, 2001.
- Ross AC. Vitamin A and retinoids. In: Modern Nutrition in Health and Disease. 9th Edition (edited by Shils ME, Olson J, Shike M, Ross AC). Lippincott Williams and Wilkins, New York, 1999, pp. 305-27.
- Ross AC, Stephensen CB. Vitamin A and retinoids in antiviral responses. FASEB J 1996;10:979-85.
- Fontham ETH. Protective dietary factors and lung cancer. Int J Epidemiol 1990;19:S32-S42.
- Albanes D, Heinonen OP, Taylor PR, Virtamo J, Edwards BK, Rautalahti M, Hartman AM, Palmgren J, Freedman LS, Haapakoski J, Barrett MJ, Pietinen P, Malila N, Tala E, Lippo K, Salomaa ER, Tangrea JA, Teppo L, Askin FB, Taskinen E, Erozan Y, Greenwald P, Huttunen JK. Alpha-tocopherol and beta-carotene supplement and lung cancer incidence in the alpha-tocopherol, beta-carotene cancer prevention study: Effects of base-line characteristics and study compliance. J Natl Cancer Inst 1996;88:1560-70.
- Redlich CA, Blaner WS, Van Bennekum AM, Chung JS, Clever SL, Holm CT, Cullen MR. Effect of supplementation with beta-carotene and vitamin A on lung nutrient levels. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 1998;7:211-14.
- Pryor WA, Stahl W, Rock CL. Beta carotene: from biochemistry to clinical trials. Nutr Rev 2000;58:39-53.
- Office of Dietary Suppliments Face Sheet: Vitamin C
- Gokce N, Keaney JF, Jr., Frei B, et al. Long-term ascorbic acid administration reverses endothelial vasomotor dysfunction in patients with coronary artery disease. Circulation. 1999;99(25):3234-3240.
- Audera, C (2001). "Mega-dose vitamin C in treatment of the common cold: a randomised controlled trial". Medical Journal of Australia 389: 175.
- Hemilä, Harri; Chalker, Elizabeth; Douglas, Bob; Hemilä, Harri (2007). "Vitamin C for preventing and treating the common cold". Cochrane database of systematic reviews (Online) (3): CD000980
- Fleming DJ, Tucker KL, Jacques PF, Dallal GE, Wilson PW, Wood RJ (December 2002). "Dietary factors associated with the risk of high iron stores in the elderly Framingham Heart Study cohort". The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 76 (6): 1375?84.
- Institute of Medicine. Food and Nutrition Board. Dietary Reference Intakes for Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Selenium, and Carotenoids. Washington, DC: National Academy Press, 2000.
- Weinstein M, Babyn P, Zlotkin S. An orange a day keeps the doctor away: scurvy in the year 2000. Pediatrics 2001;108:E55.
- Hoffman FA. Micronutrient requirements of cancer patients. Cancer. 1985;55 (1 Suppl):295-300.
- Deicher R, Hörl WH. Vitamin C in chronic kidney disease and hemodialysis patients. Kidney Blood Press Res 2003;26:100-6.