Everything You Didn’t Know about Lettuce

Now You Know!

by Diego Bodart

Alternative Text

Lettuce may be one of the most common vegetables in the world, but there’s much more to it than meets the eye. Whether found in a salad, on a sandwich, as a garnish, or even as an oil extracted from the seeds, lettuce brings more benefits than we think.

While lettuce originated in Egypt, today it is present in nearly every culinary tradition around the world.

It is proven to be a wonderful digestive aid and an excellent cleanser thanks to its high water and potassium content. Lettuce produces a sedative effect in the body, so it's sometimes recommended to calm nerves and induce sleep, too.

This unassuming vegetable is rich in antioxidants (vitamins A, C, E, B1, B2, B3, B9 and K) and minerals (phosphorus, iron, calcium, potassium and amino acids). If you’re looking for the biggest nutritional boost for your buck, you’ll find the highest vitamin C and iron content in the outer green leaves.

There is a wide variety of lettuce in cultivation; as many as 100 different types offer extensive benefits ranging from medicinal to cosmetic to nutritional.

Here are a few of the most popular, and how to identify them:

Iceberg Lettuce. You can recognize it by its round cabbage-like shape and extra-crispy leaves.

Escarole Lettuce. Its leaves are irregular, forming a bouquet, it is especially bitter and has a spicy flavor.

Romaine Lettuce. This variety has a longer shape, with leaves loosely grouped in around a wide trunk.

Oak Leaf Lettuce. Its main characteristics are wavy leaves and multi-hued tone ranging from green to purple. It has a slightly sweet flavor, as well as a soft and crunchy texture.

Lollo Rosso Lettuce. Of Italian origin, this plant has an intense red color and very curly leaves. It is also characterized by its bitter taste.

Trocadero Lettuce. This variety belongs to the category of "buttery" lettuce due to its smooth texture. Also known as "French lettuce," it is appreciated for its tender leaves.

Radicchio Lettuce. Also known as Red Chicory, this lettuce is very showy with its red color and intensely bitter taste.

Lettuce is a particularly underrated food, packed as it is with minerals such as magnesium, potassium, calcium, sodium, iron and selenium, as well as flavonoids that take care of our heart, stomach and liver, and protect us from degenerative diseases and pathogens.

Thank you, Esther Fernández, for sharing with us.


What’s your favorite variety of lettuce? Please share in the comments!

Want to learn about more extraordinary foods and the farmers who grow them? Follow Producers Market on Instagram!