Using leaves and fruits in our food is an ancient tradition in the world. While we like different dishes in our meal, the whole credit goes to our mother nature. We would not have survived if we were not blessed with these things. Another thing is humans have got unique qualities, so we are blessed to think and act as per the situation. As we experience today, human beings can improve themselves from time to time and that gift they have received from god.
Lettuce (Lactuca sativa) is an annual plant of the daisy family Asteraceae. Mostly it can be found as a leaf vegetable but sometimes for its stem and seeds. In most salads, you can see lettuce, but it is used in foods like sandwiches, soups, and wraps. Another variety of celtuce is grown for its stem, eaten raw or cooked. Lettuce is also significant for human consumption over centuries for religious and medicinal purposes.
Origin of Iceberg Lettuce
Ancient Egyptians farm lettuce originally from a plant whose seeds were used to extract the oil, which is vital for its succulent leaves and oil-rich seeds. The name Lactuca was given by Romans when introduced in Greek and Roman. Lettuce often was seen in medieval writings, including many herbs, and many varieties were developed in Europe between 16th to 18th centuries.
The lettuce cultivation is easy, and it is a hardy annual crop, and it requires quite a low temperature to prevent it from flowering early. It can quickly contaminate numerous deficiencies, fungal, bacterial diseases, and plague animals and pests. It is a rich vitamin A and K source and has moderate iron and folate. It contains viruses, bacteria, and parasites in a contaminated state, some as dangerous as e-Coli and salmonella, which can cause an outbreak in humans.
Interesting Facts about Lettuce
Storage of Lettuce: – Lettuce should not be stored near apples, bananas, or any other ethylene-emitting fruits. Ripening and decay of lettuce take place very rapidly in contact with ethylene.
Popularity: – In the US, potato is the most popular vegetable, but in the second place, it is lettuce. As both the veggies are available aplenty and have good health benefits, it is good to know.
Americans love lettuce: – The average American eats about 30 lbs of lettuce per year, which is a considerable amount of salads. In a country where fast food is most preferred, these numbers encourage other health-cautious countries.
America is a top grower: – About 70 percent of lettuce produced in America comes from California except for November to March, when 90 percent comes from Yuma, Arizona. About 75 percent of lettuce grown in the US is iceberg lettuce. China is the largest producer of lettuce out of the US, and almost half of the lettuce grown today is consumed produced by the Chinese.
Limited usage: – Lettuce cannot be frozen, pickled, dried, or canned because it contains 95 percent water and has to be eaten fresh. Natural things are better to eat fresh to retain their nutrients within.
Historical leaf: – The growing of lettuce is as back as 6000 years, which is a fantastic thing from the hieroglyphic records. It is excellent that we have systems to know what existed for so long and how it originated.
Enter America: – In 1494, lettuce was introduced first to America by Christopher Columbus during his second journey to the New World. He was a traveler; he used to carry different things to other countries.
Qualities: – As guessed, dark green lettuce leaves are more nutritious than light green leaves. With a bit of science knowledge, one can easily understand why it could be so. Photosynthesis plays a role in ingredients.
Old beliefs: – Most ancient Greek believed that lettuce makes one sleepy, so they served it at the end of the meal. It was a way of torture adopted by Roman Emperor Domitian, serving the lettuce at the beginning of the meal and making the guest stay awake in his presence.
Animal food: – Lettuce is called ‘rabbit food’ from the date as back as the 1930s. We all know the love of rabbits for leaves, and Lettuce was considered to be eaten by them quite frequently.
Reproduction symbol: – Lettuce was the symbol of fertility in ancient Egypt. It was believed that having lettuce regularly could induce fertility in a female, and they were used in extracted form.
A good medicine: – As a memorial, Augustus Ceasar is said to have built a statue for lettuce as he believed that he came out of a severe illness because of the lettuce leaf. It is high in vitamin A contents.
Family Union: – Botanically, lettuce is closely related to Chrysanthemum, Zinnia, Sunflower, and Dahlia, the Asteraceae family. Lettuce is typically a leaf, though.
Types of lettuce: – Out of many varieties, the four most widely accepted and commonly known varieties are Butterhead, Iceberg, Green Leaf, and Romaine.
Qualities of types: – Romaine lettuce is a valuable source of sleep potentiating material. Lettuce contains substances like Zeaxanthin that help promote eye health. Lettuce contains some potential carotenoids, which give anti-diabetic action.
Countries with the highest production: Top five lettuce producing countries are China, USA, India, Spain, and Italy.
Supports bone health: – Lettuce contains vitamin K, a source of bone-strengthening. If one consumes good lettuce, the risk of bone fracture can be reduced.
Hydration factor: – Over 95 percent of water makes up lettuce thus, consuming lettuce hydrates the body. Apart from drinking water, one must get water from food to significantly contribute to hydration.
Improvement in vision: – Being a rich source of vitamin A, lettuce is vital in eye health. Vitamin A is known to reduce the risk of cataracts in humans and prevent macular degeneration.
Improved sleep: – Extracts of different types of lettuce is also known to promote sleep, but the same is not proven for the natural form of lettuce.
Iceberg lettuce nutrition: – It contains 10 calories, 1 gm protein, zero fat, 2 gm carbohydrates, 1 gm fiber, and 1 gm sugar. It includes 7 percent of the daily value of vitamin A and small amounts of vitamin C and iron, and the vitamins and minerals in this type are less than others.
Butterhead lettuce nutrition: – It consists of 7 calories, 1 gm protein, zero fat, 1 gm carbohydrates, 1gm fiber, and 1 gm sugar. It contains 36 percent of the daily value of vitamin A, small amounts of vitamin C, iron, and calcium.
Red leaf lettuce nutrition: – It contains 4 calories, zero protein, zero fat, 1 gm carbohydrates, zero fiber, and zero sugar. Red leaf lettuce has 42 percent of the daily value of vitamin A, small amounts of vitamin C, and iron.
Romaine lettuce: – Romaine lettuce contains 8 calories, 1 gm protein, zero fat, 2 gm carbohydrates, 1 gm fiber, and 1 gm sugar. It consists of 82 percent of the daily value of vitamin A, small amounts of vitamin C, iron, and calcium.
Best used for culinary purposes, earlier around 50 AD, lettuce was often cooked and served by Romans along with oil and vinegar dressing, and similar leaves were eaten raw. Later on, romaine lettuce was served before a meal in the post-Roman Europe tradition of poaching lettuce. Lettuce is broadly grown for its leaves, but the other type is developed for stems too that gives oil. There are multiple uses of lettuce, mainly in culinary arts. As we discussed earlier, the species is rich in vitamin A and K, so it benefits eye health.
We may introduce some more natural food sources in the future, but the best thing is it spreads across the world so all on earth can take pleasure in enjoying it. We also have the facility to record stuff so the history will become easily accessible for the next generations to come. The whole science can be preserved in many forms like digital or book so the people can study more and find new things.
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