Salad

Lettuce, lettuce (“Herba Salata” in Latin means “salty grass”) is an annual or biennial garden crop from the Asteraceae family. The birthplace of the plant is the Mediterranean. Today it is widely grown in gardens. This is a "light" product that will perfectly complement the diet of a convinced vegetarian, raw foodist, lush young lady, child, athlete, pregnant woman, elderly person.

Green lettuce leaves are eaten fresh, used to decorate dishes, served with soups, meat and fish, spicy dressings. Lettuce can be stewed or fried, however, during heat treatment, the product loses most of its beneficial properties.

Initially, the plant was planted to extract the oil contained in the seeds. For the first time, the Greeks and Romans spoke about the healing properties of lettuce, since then it has taken an honorable position among the greens on European tables. The plant itself is non-caloric, it consists of 92% water, and 100 grams contains 12-23 kcal (depending on the type). Because of this, it does not give a feeling of satiety, therefore it is recommended for use in combination with vegetables, side dishes, meat and fish dishes.

Benefits and harms

Fresh crispy salad is a real green doctor that has a beneficial effect on the human body:

  • maintains visual acuity;
  • restores muscle tissue;
  • improves reproductive function, blood circulation, digestion of food;
  • regulates blood clotting;
  • stimulates bowel function;
  • normalizes metabolism;
  • lowers blood pressure;
  • normalizes the water-salt balance;
  • strengthens the walls of blood vessels;
  • relieves insomnia;
  • removes cholesterol ;
  • stimulates appetite;
  • improves immunity;
  • heals the gastric mucosa, eliminates night pain in the epigastric region;
  • removes toxins, poisons;
  • fights against the appearance of iron deficiency anemia, atherosclerosis.

The rich chemical composition of lettuce leaves promotes the production of testosterone in men, which provides active blood flow to the penis, protecting the representatives of the strong half of humanity from the appearance of problems with potency. Compositae inflorescence nourishes hair roots, prevents baldness and baldness.

Regularthe use of a vegetable crop gives a feeling of vivacity, leads the muscles to tone after intense training. Folic acid, which is part of lettuce, facilitates menstruation, reduces pain, regulates hormonal balance, and reduces the risk of developing breast and ovarian cancer in women.

In addition, lettuce exhibits the following actions:

  • choleretic;
  • ​​
  • diuretic;
  • antimicrobial;
  • general tonic;
  • antitussive;
  • expectorants;
  • antiscorbutic.

Indications for use:

  • obesity;
  • hypovitaminosis;
  • heartburn;
  • hypertension;
  • stomach ulcer;
  • arthritis;
  • rheumatism;
  • atherosclerosis;
  • diabetes mellitus;
  • inflammation of the genitourinary system.

This is an ideal diet food product.

Lettuce seed infusion increases milk production in lactating women. Lettuce leaves are an indispensable food for people with diseases of the cardiovascular apparatus, increased nervous, emotional excitability. Lettuce juice is used as masks to strengthen hair, improve the condition of the skin.

Contraindications for use:

  • gout;
  • acute enterocolitis;
  • urolithiasis;
  • kidney disorders;
  • chronic colitis.

If you eat salad in large quantities, it increases gas formation, has a laxative effect. Lettuce is not recommended to be combined with the use of indirect anticoagulants (dicumarin, acenocoumarol, warfarin), since vitamin K contained in greens reduces the effectiveness of the drug.

Species

There are more than a hundred varieties of lettuces that differ in shape, color, size and taste. Lettuce is leaf or head, from pale green to maroon.

Popular types of lettuce:

  1. Iceberg. It owes its name to the method of storage during transportation. To preserve freshness, lettuce leaves are sprinkled with ice. The concentration of water in Iceberg is higher than in other types of lettuce. It has a neutral taste, crunches like fresh cabbage. The composition of the iceberg includes vitamins A, C, K, B3, B9, sodium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium.

Unlike all types of lettuce (except watercress), it is not afraid of the cold, so it can be stored in the refrigerator for a long time. It is used for preparing any snacks, decorating dishes.

  1. Arugula. It has a pronounced spicy nut-pepper flavor. It contains vitamins A, K, E, C, B,iron, magnesium, iodine and carotenoids in leaves and essential oils in seeds. Arugula is served with meat and fish dishes. In folk medicine, an infusion is made from the seeds of the plant to treat diseases of the dermis. Freshly squeezed juice from lettuce helps in the fight against ulcers, polyps, hematitis, corns.
  2. Korn or mash-salad. This is an annual garden crop, a distinctive feature of which are dark green small leaves, collected in a loose outlet. They are oval in shape. The taste of mung bean salad is delicately nutty, the aroma is unobtrusively spicy. The composition of the leaves includes iron, sodium, flavonoids, vitamins A, C, E, B3, B9. In cooking, it is used in dried, raw form. It goes well in salads with toasted croutons, citrus fruits, game, lingonberry sauce.
  3. Watercress. It is an annual herb of the cruciferous family, which can be grown both in the garden in summer and on the windowsill in the apartment in winter. Not afraid of frost, grows quickly.

Types of watercress: whole-leaved, sowing, curly. The color of the leaves is green, bluish, yellowish-green. The taste of the salad is bitter, slightly spicy, vaguely reminiscent of mustard and horseradish.

Fresh leaves contain magnesium, sulfur, copper, phosphorus, iodine, iron, potassium and calcium salts, mustard essential oil, vitamins A, B1, B2, C, P. On the basis of watercress, sauces, sauces for cold appetizers, soups, salads, soufflés, vegetable casseroles, sandwiches are prepared.

  1. Romain. An annual head lettuce with crisp, bright green leaves that lighten in color and have a delicate, nutty flavor. The chemical composition of romaine is represented by vitamins A, E, K, H, PP, B1, B2, B9, C, sodium, zinc, selenium, magnesium, and iron.

In cooking, crispy Roman lettuce leaves are served with meats, soft cheeses. Romaine is seasoned with yoghurt or spicy vinegar sauces with the addition of herbs and garlic.

  1. Radicchio. This is a head lettuce with bright purple leaves of the chicory family. In the taste of radicchio, a slight bitterness is felt; it is considered a universal additive to vegetables with a neutral taste. In Italy, stewed lettuce leaves are served as a side dish for meat, harmoniously combined with cheese salads, risotto, apples and honey.

For a variety of shades of taste, radicchio is mixed with arugula. Juicy lettuce stalks contain vitamins B4, C, E, K, coarse fibers, phosphorus, zinc, iron, bioflavonoids anthocyanins.

  1. Friese. This is a one-year-old plant of the Endive family. The leaves of this species are curly, white towards the center, light green along the edges, taste with a slight bitterness. Contain vitamins A, B2, C, PP, magnesium, calcium, zinc, potassium, phosphorus, sodium, iron. lettuce leavesproduce the substance intibin, which increases appetite, stimulates digestion.

Frieze sets off the taste of meat and fish dishes, cheese, citrus fruits, seafood, giving them a spicy bitterness. When buying, pay attention to the base of the lettuce, its leaves should fit snugly against the head, as sluggish greens will be very bitter.

  1. Lollo Rosso. It is a type of lettuce. Corrugated lettuce leaves have a greenish-red hue, are distinguished by a rich bitter taste with nutty notes. Contains provitamin A, ascorbic acid, cobalt, iodine, zinc, iron, potassium, phosphorus, sodium, magnesium. Lollo Rosso is recommended to serve with baked vegetables, meat and fish, warm salads.

Each type of lettuce has its own chemical composition and is useful in its own way. Try different varieties, experiment, add greens to the first, second courses. So you not only diversify their taste, but also saturate the body with useful vitamins and minerals.

How to store?

Fresh lettuce leaves provide the greatest value for the human body. Perhaps, each of us has come across a situation when, after buying a plant, the plant begins to wither the next day, respectively, the amount of useful substances in it disappears every hour. To prolong the freshness of the product and get the maximum benefit for the body, store it in the refrigerator separately from vegetables. At the same time, wrap the salad in plastic, and preferably in a paper bag, otherwise it will wither and dry out.

Do not put wet leaves in the refrigerator, as they will quickly wither. Remember, lettuce is a perishable product, it can be stored in a cool place for a maximum of two to three days.

Don't prepare salad greens ahead of time, season and salt just before serving. Otherwise, juice will flow out of it, which will quickly oxidize when interacting with oxygen. As a result, the salad will lose its airiness and some of the nutrients. The leaves do not need to be cut, it is better to disassemble or tear them with your hands. A great combination is lettuce with lemon juice and garlic. In this case, there is no need to add salt to lettuce leaves.

When choosing greens, give preference to those with roots, as they retain most of the vitamins and nutrients. The leaves should be juicy, bright, of moderate size without spots and rot, and the middle of the stems is white without damage. If the areas of greenery tied with thread were pinched and glassy, ​​remove them. The outer leaves of the head lettuce should lie flat against the base.

To release nitrates and "resuscitate" wilted lettuce, place it in a bowl of cold water for half an hour. green saladsseason with linseed or olive oil. For dressing, choose spices that have a pronounced taste and add them a little at a time. To enhance the flavor, add herbs to the lettuce: rosemary, parsley, mint, cilantro, celery, basil.

Varieties with a neutral taste are harmoniously combined with soft cheeses, olives, tomatoes, fried eggplant, oranges, with bitterness - with fish, shrimps. Interestingly, Romano salad is traditionally used to prepare the famous Caesar salad.

Chemical composition

In terms of ascorbic acid content, lettuce leaves are superior to citrus fruits. They are recommended to be eaten fresh. Due to the high content of vitamin C, greens resist cell aging and are a powerful antioxidant. In addition, lettuce contains enzymes that control seed growth (sucrose, ascorbic oxidase, peroxidase, catalase, amylase, lipase), phenolic and coloring compounds (flavones, polyphenols, anthocyanins) and fat-soluble pigments (xanthophyll, carotene, chlorophyll).

The chemical composition of lettuce changes under the influence of environmental factors (climatic conditions, soil, growing season, light intensity) and depends on the plant variety, cultivation technologies, storage.

Leaf lettuce contains more carotene, ascorbic acid and dry matter than head lettuce. In early-ripening varieties of lettuce of the second type, the amount of crude protein and vitamin C in the stems is higher than in late-ripening ones. However, they are characterized by a low content of sugars, carotene.

The maximum amount of nutrients was established during the period of intensive growth and flowering of the plant.

Chemical constituents
Content per 100 grams of product, grams
Water 95
Mono- and disaccharides 1.6
Fiber 1.3
Carbs 1.3
Proteins 1.2
Ash 1.0
Starch 0.4
Fats 0.3
Organic acids ( malic, citric, oxalic, succinic ) 0.1
​​ (26 3) 0.3
Table No. 2 “Chemicalcomposition of watercress leaves”
Name Nutrient content in 100 grams of product, milligram
Vitamins
Choline (B4) 13.6
Ascorbic acid (C) 9.2
Retinol (A) 4.44
Niacin (B3) 0.375
Tocopherol (E) 0.22
Pantothenic acid (B5) 0.134
Phylloquinone (K) 0.126
Pyridoxine (B6) 0.09
Riboflavin (B2) 0.08
Thiamine (B1) 0.07
Folic acid (B9) 0.038
Macronutrients
Potassium 220
Calcium 77
Chlorine 50
Magnesium 40
Phosphorus 34
Sulfur 16
Sodium 8
Trace elements
Iron 0.6
Aluminum 0.57
Manganese
Zinc 0.27
Vanadium 0.17
Rubidium 0.153
Copper 0.12
Bohr 0.085
Lithium 0.04
Fluorine 0.028
Molybdenum 0.009
Iodine 0.008
Nickel 0.005
Cobalt 0.004
Chromium 0.003
Selenium 0.0006

Due to the content of potassium, together with sodium, lettuce regulates the hydrobalance in the body, improves the condition of the digestive system. Lettuce juice is used to increase lactation, speed up metabolism, reduce body weight and calm the nervous system.

Since lettuce is a perishable product that is stored fresh for only 2 days from the moment of harvesting (in the refrigerator), it is harvested in two ways: pickled and frozen (in a puree state).

For medicinal needs, cut inflorescences, seeds, young leaves are used, which are dried naturally.

Growing tips

Lettuce is a cold-resistant plant, moisture-loving. Headed lettuce is demanding on the conditions of mineral nutrition. It is able to accumulate nitrates, so it is recommended to limit the fertilization of the plant with nitrogen-containing fertilizers. Head lettuce should not be planted in a compost bed in the first year. Partial shading, lack of direct sunlight create favorable conditions for the accumulation of nitrates in the "body" of the plant.

Precursors of lettuce: peppers, potatoes, cabbage, tomatoes, under which organic fertilizers were applied. You can grow lettuce in the same place no earlier than after 2 years.

Head and leaf lettuce can be planted next to the following horticultural crops: chives, spinach, tomatoes, cucumbers, beans, strawberries, peas. Especially favorable is its proximity to vegetables from the cabbage family: radish, radish, cabbage, since it has the ability to scare away the earthen flea. It is recommended to plant lettuce with onions, which protect the plant from aphids.

Lettuce needs partial shade, it doesn't like overheating. However, sowing it under trees and crops with dense foliage like carrots, beets is unfavorable for the plant.

How to grow lettuce:

  1. Prepare the soil. Dig up the ground, loosen large lumps, apply humus in the fall. Mineral fertilizers (superphosphate, potassium salt, ammonium sulphate) close up in the spring. Soil with high acidity is subject to notification.
  2. Introduce lettuce seeds to a shallow depth (0.5 to 1 centimeter) and grow in stages: April to May early varieties, April to mid-June mid to late ripening. Romain is sown in early July. Lettuce can be planted in early November before winter.

Leaf lettuce is sown in a row across the beds,observing the distance between the seeds of 1.5 centimeters, in rows - 18 centimeters. The sowing rate is 2 grams per 1 square meter.

The head species is sown on the beds in single rows, which are placed 45 centimeters apart. In addition, it can be grown from seedlings.

To speed up the harvest, crops are covered with a film on open ground, stretching it over a frame or arcs. In the resulting "tent" you can grow Chinese cabbage.

  1. Remove lettuce 40 days after emergence. Carry out the final harvest before the start of shooting, the formation of eight leaves in the outlet.

Use in cosmetics

Leaf lettuce is 90% moisture, so it is widely used in the cosmetic industry to moisturize the skin. In addition, the plant relieves irritation, peeling, protects the dermis from the aggressive effects of ultraviolet rays, prevents premature aging, saturating it with vitamins and minerals. Calcium, carotene, protein, retinol and folic acid contained in lettuce refresh the skin of the face, smooth fine wrinkles, heal cracks, and give it elasticity.

"Home tricks":

  1. Decoction to moisturize dry skin. Cooking method: 30 grams of dry lettuce leaves and a bunch of fresh ones, pour 200 milliliters of water, boil for 7 minutes, cool, strain. Wipe the skin of the face with the resulting decoction daily. Store it in a cool place for no more than 3 days.
  2. Mask to eliminate acne. Take lettuce and water in equal amounts, grind in a blender. Apply a thick layer of vitamin mass on the skin, bypassing the area around the eyes, for 30 minutes. Then wash off the mask with cool water.
  3. Nourishing mask for aging skin. Moisturizes, tones, relieves irritation. Mix 15 grams of chopped lettuce, burdock and radish, add 15 milliliters of lemon juice, vegetable oil to the mixture. Mix thoroughly. Apply the mask on your face, wait 15 minutes, rinse off.
  4. Mask for lightening age spots and whitening the face. Suitable for those with oily skin. How to prepare: chop fresh lettuce and parsley in equal amounts. Add 45 milliliters of sour milk to greens puree, stir. Apply a thick layer on cleansed face for 15 minutes, rinse with cool water.
  5. Mask for nourishing normal and combination skin. Pound lettuce leaves into a homogeneous mass, add 5 milliliters of lemon juice, 15 milliliters of olive oil. Apply the resulting mixture to the skin. Wash off with water after 15 minutes.
  6. Mask for intensive moisturizing of parched skin. Chop the lettuce leaves intoblender until a slurry of a homogeneous consistency, pour it with hot milk, mix. Apply the product on the face for 20 minutes, rinse.
  7. Mask to eliminate oily sheen near the wings of the nose, on the chin, forehead. Take 30 grams of puree from fresh lettuce leaves, mix with egg white, 8 drops of lemon juice. Spread the mask evenly over the contour of the face, rinse it off after 15 minutes. To soothe the skin, wipe your face with a decoction of chamomile flowers (cooled).

Perform the procedures 3 times a week.

To strengthen curls, stimulate hair growth and eliminate dandruff, chop lettuce leaves, add a few drops of burdock oil, apply the product to cleansed scalp and hair (along the entire length) for 20 minutes. After the specified time, rinse with warm water. Carry out the procedure 2 times a week. The effect of applying the mask will be noticeable in a month.

Conclusion

Lettuce is a juicy, crunchy green that guards human health: it strengthens the immune system, releases harmful cholesterol, promotes gentle cleansing intestines, heals ulcers in the stomach, speeds up metabolism, improves skin condition. With a low calorie content, lettuce leaves help maintain a feeling of satiety for a long time. This is a dietary product that serves as a natural diuretic: removes excess fluid from the body, cleanses of toxins and toxins.

Remember, watercress increases appetite, while lettuce and arugula, on the contrary, fill the stomach, dulling the desire to eat, so they are ideal for those who want to lose weight.

For stomach ulcers, chronic gastritis, chop 100 grams of lettuce leaves, pour a liter of boiling water, leave for two hours. Water tincture to take 100 milliliters twice a day. It will protect the stomach and accelerate the healing of the mucous membrane of the diseased organ.

Doctors recommend eating 100-200 grams of lettuce daily. The daily portion for children is 50 grams. Use lettuce in smoothies, salads, appetizers, sandwiches, vegetable casseroles, pâtés, stews. Fresh greens will give a spicy mustard-nut flavor to dishes and saturate the body with useful vitamins and minerals.