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Romaine lettuce is more than just a tasty leaf that adds color and crunch to a salad. It also provides vitamins, minerals, and fiber.For example, one 70 gram (g) salad serving of romaine lettuce contains:
Romaine lettuce is a good source of vitamins C and A, which are antioxidants. These play a key role in balancing and maintaining many systems in the body.
The body naturally produces unstable molecules called free radicals during metabolism. Environmental exposures also cause the body to take in free radicals.However, if too many free radicals build up in the body, it can cause a condition known as oxidative stress. Cell damage can result, and this can lead to health problems.The body can eliminate free radicals naturally, but it may have difficulty eliminating all of them. Antioxidants in foods appear to boost the body’s ability to do this.Examples of conditions in which free radicals may play a role include:
The antioxidant content of romaine lettuce may help support a person’s immune system and protect against various health concerns.Learn more about the benefits and sources of antioxidants here.
The high levels of potassium within romaine lettuce can help maintain cardiovascular health.In addition, the antioxidant vitamins A and C in the lettuce may help prevent cholesterol from building up and forming plaque in the arteries.The folate in romaine lettuce may also help prevent serious heart complications. It does this by breaking down the chemical homocysteine so that the body can remove it.A 2015 review suggests that people with a folate deficiency face a higher risk of having too much homocysteine in the blood. Homocysteine may contribute to heart conditions.Romaine lettuce is a good source of folate, which can help keep this chemical in check.It also contains some fiber, which plays a key role in maintaining healthy cholesterol levels.What other foods provide antioxidants? Find out here.
Romaine lettuce is also rich in the heart-healthy mineral potassium.Potassium helps muscles such as the heart contract regularly. One review in the BMJ concludes that higher levels of potassium might help lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of stroke.Sodium and potassium are electrolytes. The body needs both sodium and potassium to maintain healthy levels of bodily fluids and circulating blood. Experts recommend consuming more potassium than sodium, as too much sodium can give rise to heart problems. It is recommended that adults consume around 4,700 mg of potassium and no more than 2,300 mg of sodium each day.Romaine lettuce provides both sodium and potassium in healthful proportions.How much salt should we eat? Find out here.
Vitamin A helps protect eye health. The vitamin A in romaine lettuce might help prevent eye conditions such as cataracts as people get older.Also, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), beta-carotene may help prevent a condition called macular degeneration. This is one of the leading causes of vision loss due to aging.Many plants, including romaine lettuce, provide beta-carotene. This may make it a good option for people wishing to boost eye health.Learn more about age-related macular degeneration here.
The antioxidants and folate within romaine lettuce might help protect the body from cancer.The NIH state that folate that occurs naturally in food may help decrease the risk of several forms of cancer.
If you are going to use Cos lettuce to treat an existing health condition please consult with your healthcare provider first.