Lettuce is wildly popular as a salad vegetable around the world. Lettuce leaves are often the primary ingredients in salads of various kinds. The crispy leaves are also indispensable for burgers and sandwiches. Lettuce is a classic salad ingredient, but we can't imagine our juiciest burgers, paninis and subs without it. Crunchy and fresh lettuce leaves can be used for sprucing up any snack. Health freaks around the world, love to dress lettuce leaves up or even eat them raw, along with some dips. There are numerous ways of eating lettuce leaves, but how healthy is the vegetable really? It indeed is. It comes with plenty of health benefits, one of which is weight loss and weight management. Although, it may not be one of the healthiest vegetables out there, lettuce can certainly help you in shedding some serious weight.
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Lettuce is also quite an ancient vegetable. Did you know that this popular salad green made an appearance as early as 2680 BC? Lettuce was first cultivated by ancient Egyptians and was used as a weed, whose seeds were used to extract oil. Eventually, it became a food plant and made its way onto our vegetarian meals and platters.
Also Read: 10 Best Lettuce Recipes
Lettuce For Weight Loss
Lettuce is crunchy and delicious, but it can also help you in losing those unwanted kilos, which is why you can add it to your weight loss diet. There are several reasons why lettuce is great for consumption, when one is looking to lose weight:
1. Low in Calories: A 100 gm serving of lettuce contains a mere 15 calories (according to the United States Department of Agriculture data)! It's effectively a negative calorie food, which means that the process of digesting lettuce burns more calories than the amount of calories present in the vegetable.
2. Contains No Cholesterol Or Fat: As is true for most vegetables, lettuce leaves also contain zero cholesterol, and saturated and unsaturated fat.
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3. High Water Content: The water content of iceberg lettuce almost matches that of cucumbers. Lettuce is 96 per cent water by weight! This makes it mildly more filling than other vegetables.
4. Regulates Blood Sugar: Lettuce contains Lactucaxanthin, which is an anti-diabetic carotenoid, which can successfully prevent spikes or falls in blood sugar levels. Hence, it may be a great addition to a diabetic diet. It also effectively controls cravings and hunger pangs by regulating blood sugar levels.
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5. Improves Immunity: The presence of vitamins A and C in lettuce, make it a great immunity-boosting food as well. Romaine lettuce in particular is rich in essential vitamins and minerals.
Also Read: 10 Best Vegetarian Salad Recipes
How To Eat Lettuce To Lose Weight
Lettuce adds crunch, juiciness and a whole lot of nutrition to our salads, wraps and burgers and adding it to your diet should be a no-brainer. While choosing which variety of lettuce you want to add to your meals, you must choose the ones which are darker in shade, as that indicates a richer nutritional profile. But even besides the regular salad, wrap and burger, lettuce can be used quite creatively to churn out delicious diet foods. Here are some recipes for inspiration:
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1. Lettuce Wrapped Cottage Cheese
This is a great low-carb lunch or snack idea. It is made by wrapping a mixture of cottage cheese and veggies in lettuce leaves. It can be served with steamed brown rice or can be eaten with a soy sauce dip.
This dish is rich in proteins and can be a great low-carb snack offering to guests at parties as well. A chicken and coleslaw mixture is wrapped in romaine lettuce leaves to make easy and delicious finger food that is both fancy and healthy.
3. Minced Chicken Lettuce Cups
Another super-healthy recipe that replaces pieces of bread or grain carbs with low-calorie lettuce leaves is that of a minced chicken lettuce cup. Simply prepare a spiced and cooked minced chicken and veggie mix and spoon it on whole lettuce leaves. You can eat these as is.
4. Baby Lettuce, Citrus Fruits With Feta Salad
There is a reason why lettuce is a salad staple of sorts. Not only does it help amplify the flavour of the salad, but also adds a crunch that makes the texture of salad all the more yummy. This salad promises a burst of freshness. Orange, sweet lime, grapes mixed with goodness of feta and lettuce makes for a sumptuous treat you do not want to miss.
5. Tossed salad
This is easily one of the simplest recipes we have up the list. The ingredients are none too exotic either. They can be easily found in your pantry and you love to use them in your salads. We are talking about tomatoes, carrots and cucumbers. Toss it up with a bit of olive oil, vinegar and ground black pepper. Serve the salad fresh.
Love Caeser salad? Make it at home with this simple recipe. The addition of pasta makes this salad a hit even among the picky-eaters. We suggest you only use whole-wheat pasta for this salad. Chicken is a source of lean protein that could do wonders for your weight-loss diet. This creamy and delicious pasta salad is sure to liven up your dinner spread.
So there you go! You may similarly replace breads and grain-based ingredients with whole leaves from other leafy green vegetables to make low-carb and low-calorie dishes for weight loss.
(This content including advice provides generic information only. It is in no way a substitute for qualified medical opinion. Always consult a specialist or your own doctor for more information. NDTV does not claim responsibility for this information.)