Give us this day our daily…lettuce!

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Bread has often been a go-to for a meal on the run. breakfast toast, lunch sandwich and a cute roll on the side plate at dinner time.

Not any more!

I am munching away on ICEBERG LETTUCE!

Iceberg lettuce is sweet and crunchy – probably due to its extremely high water content. But best of all – there are so few calories in it that you don’t need to count them! It is also full of fiber so it can be guzzled liberally. I have started to wrap everything in it – scrambled egg at breakfast, tuna and salad at lunch and thinly sliced smoked salmon – or whatever the family might be having in the evening. Because of its firm rounded leaves, it looks huge on the plate and psychologically you have had a huge meal, when in fact, the portion size is very much reduced.

Taking the words of warning very seriously from the article below, it is still a win-win in my book!

This is an extract from “Pros and Cons of Iceberg Lettuce” by Ben Greenfield from his blog Superhuman Food Pyramid 2013.

Fibre facilitates cleansing of the digestive tract as well and so eating iceberg lettuce and other high-fibre salad greens like romaine lettuce helps protect against colorectal cancer. Fibre provides natural protection against cardiovascular diseases, too, because of its inherent capability to bind with bile acids in the digestive tract. Bile acids, which are predominantly made from cholesterol, assist in the body’s fat storage process. When you eat iceberg lettuce, its fibre sticks with bile acids and both get excreted via the bowels. Because bile acid levels decreased as a result of the elimination, more of these will have to be made by the liver by taking from the existing cholesterol reserves, resulting in the overall lowering of the latter’s levels in the body.

 

Iceberg lettuce was one of the subjects of a Spain-based study. It was found that this leaf vegetable contains measurable amounts of phenolic compounds that serve as antioxidants in the body. Aside from phenolic compounds, iceberg lettuce contains hydro-alcohols that have anxiolytic properties, too. In an India-based study, mice were made to go through numerous behavioral tests. Those given hydro-alcohols from iceberg lettuce exhibited less biological and physical manifestations of panic and anxiety, and so this unassuming leaf vegetable may just provide alternative treatment approaches to managing stress.

 

Iceberg Lettuce’s Risks:

Iceberg lettuce is one of the fifty fruits and vegetables with the highest levels of pesticide residue, this according to the Environmental Working Group. Among the harmful petrochemicals identified are perchlorate and nitrate, as well as pharmaceutical and personal care products residue,  which stay well in the leaf tissues of the contaminated iceberg lettuce. Unsafe farming and handling methods result in E. coli- or Salmonella-contaminated iceberg lettuce, too. In an effort to minimize the risk of foodborne diseases, irradiation of this leaf vegetable was approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

Iceberg lettuce was discovered to have similar allergens like those present in carrots well and individuals with food-related symptoms like atopic dermatitis may want to steer clear of this salad greens.

 

Iceberg Lettuce’s Practical Uses:

Minimizing exposure to harmful petrochemical residue is of utmost importance and so opt for organically grown iceberg lettuce whenever you can. Organic farms are required to use sufficiently composted animal manure as fertilizer, too, and so when you choose produce from these farms, your exposure to E. coli and Salmonella may be lessened as well. Washing iceberg lettuce thoroughly under running water must be done as well so that you don’t contract foodborne diseases.

 

For a satisfying cold salad, mix shredded carrots and iceberg lettuce, diced cucumber, thinly sliced radishes, and chopped mint leaves in a glass bowl of cooked and cooled rice noodles. Toss with dressing made from lemon juice, ginger juice, minced garlic, fish sauce and chopped cilantro, and sprinkle your choice of coarsely chopped raw nuts.

 

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