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Add These 10 Kinds of Lettuces for Health in Your Diet
Do you know that lettuce is among the preferred and most added vegetable in salads, wraps, tacos, and veggie soups? They’re also good for smoothies, spring rolls, and sauce. And that’s just a handful. It’s great that lettuces are available in abundance in your local supermarkets. Moreover, they’re so versatile and easy to prepare, and could be eaten raw. And there are many kinds of lettuces for health to try out in salads and in just about any recipe and comfort food you crave for.
Admittedly though, not many are familiar with or knowledgeable about the different kinds of lettuces sold in groceries. Some may almost look the same, and a few may be mistaken for cabbages. Lettuces may not be the best source for huge amounts of nutrients, unlike other vegetables. But, hey, isn’t it mentioned that they’re versatile? So, people eat or even devour more of them as comfort food and green salad. They’re also in viands, tacos, and even eaten raw. Vegans, vegetarians, fish lovers, and omnivores consume raw vegetables because nutrients somehow are decreased or lost when cooked. So, having gotten these minor issues out of the way, let’s move on and know the lettuce varieties for better health and have a wider understanding of them.
WHAT ARE LETTUCES?
Lettuces are vegetable plants under the daisy family. They’re cultivated for their edible leaves and can be eaten raw or with other vegetables as salads. They are also used in recipes for viands or major meals. And do you know that lettuces have different colors, shapes, and textures?
Many types of lettuces are similar in some ways. But they also have certain differences in their shape, leaves, and nutrients. But the names each type of lettuce is given, however, can at times be a bit confusing. Then there are alternative names that only add to the reader’s bewilderment. Putting that aside for now, let’s learn a little about the ten types of lettuces described here. Mostly their leaves are bright green, and some types have red-tinged accents. Among their nutrients are vitamins A and K, folate, and iron. As vegetables, they have a large amount of fiber which is roughage that supports the health of our digestive system.
THE 8 CLASSIFICATIONS OF VEGETABLES
Before going into the different kinds and cultivated varieties of lettuce, let’s go higher up in the hierarchy of vegetables. So that we get a general idea of the other different types of vegetables. Varieties of lettuces fall under leafy vegetables.
1 Flower Vegetables
Flower vegetables are the blooms, or flowers, of the plants used as ingredients in cooking. Just like other vegetables, they have roots, stems, leaves, and flowers. And these flowers are the plant’s only edible parts that people can eat. Examples are agati, artichoke, banana, broccoli, and cauliflower.
2 Leafy Vegetables
Also called leafy greens or vegetable greens we know they are nutritious foods we should eat regularly. They are leaves gathered from plants or vegetables that we must consume for their nutrients and fiber. Sometimes the buds, stalks, and stems are also edible. There are numerous leafy vegetables. Among them are lettuces, cabbages, kales, spinach, and turnip greens.
3 Tuber Vegetables
Tuber vegetables have altered plant parts, most often the stems or roots, to store nutrients enlarging those parts. Cassava, potato, taro, and yam are some examples of tuber veggies.
4 Root Vegetables
Root vegetables consist of the plant’s roots that can be used as vegetables, as well as the other parts of the plant that are underground. Examples of root vegetables are potatoes, ginger, turnips, onions, parsnips, radishes, turmeric, and yams. Also included in this group are corms, bulbs, rhizomes, and tubers that don’t grow roots though grown underground.
5 Bulb Vegetables
A bulb vegetable has an enlarged bulging stem, underneath which are the roots anchored into the ground. Atop the bulbous stem is the slender stem, the leaf stalk, and the leaves. Bulb vegetables include garlic, onions, and shallots.
6 Stem Vegetables
Stem vegetables have a stalk or stem that is edible, thus prepared, cooked, and consumed as food. They are vegetables with swollen stems that grow above ground and those that are underground. Asparagus, bulbs, corms, kohlrabi, rhizomes, and tubers are some examples.
7 Fruit Vegetables
To put it in the right context, these are technically fruits but we enjoy eating, preparing, and cooking them as vegetables. Most of us know that tomatoes are really fruits. But we all do agree that both fruits and vegetables are healthful and delicious. Examples of fruits that we enjoy eating as vegetables include avocados, cucumbers, eggplants, green beans, olives, and sweet corns,
Pod and Seed Vegetables
Vegetables come in many forms, shapes, sizes, and colors. And they have parts that are edible and not edible. For instance, only the seeds in certain vegetables are eaten, like with corn. Or the whole vegetable is eaten, the vegetable and the seeds inside, like okra. And the good thing is that they provide the best carbohydrates and proteins. And that stated, enjoy green peas, okra, snap peas, flaxseeds, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, and many more.
THE 6 LETTUCE VARIETIES AND 10 EXAMPLES
Leafy vegetables in our diet give us many of the essential nutrients the body needs. They are grown mainly for the leaves which are eaten raw, blanched, or cooked. And now these are the six types of lettuces prepared and enjoyed as comestibles or foodstuff. Examples are salads, toppings, side dishes, and sandwich fillings. They are mostly cultivars, or cultivated varieties, to enhance or bring out their best qualities. There are 8 in all. The other two are the seed varieties, and types of lettuces whose stalks or stems are used as food, instead of the leaves.
1st | SUMMERCRISP LETTUCE a.k.a. BATAVIAN or FRENCH CRISP LETTUCE
1 Batavia Lettuce:
Compared with other types of lettuce, the Batavia lettuce has light green crinkled leaves, crunchy fleshy texture, and a mild flavor and aroma. When you slice it into pieces, make sure you intend to eat them at once because they turn brown easily and become inedible and quite unpleasant tasting.
There’s a wide range of colors and shapes when it comes to the Batavia lettuce. Among the notable ones is the dark lime green variety with loose, crinkled leaves. Also worth noting is the Batavia lettuce’s slightly sweet flavor and aroma, making it quite delicious when eaten raw, which is more nutritious. Like some other lettuce varieties, its crunchy, fleshy texture and color are visually appealing, making it a great salad dish for special occasions. Alternatively, instead of using a flatbread for a wrap or a pita, the Batavia’s broad leaves could be used as veggie wraps, or a scoop for dips to pour over your tossed salad.
Besides antioxidant vitamin C, it has vitamin K for red blood cell production, folic acid to prevent anemia, and vitamin A which benefits our eyes and vision. Consumption of the Batavia lettuce also promotes weight loss for overweight and obese individuals, supports skin health, and helps arrest premature aging.
2 Trocadero Lettuce
Compared with other lettuce varieties, the taste of the Trocadero lettuce is more accentuated. The curvaceous though not uniformly-sized leaves are smooth, soft, and well-formed, and take the shape of a rosette. Like most lettuces, it has some nutritional content to support good health. Besides fiber which prevents the accumulation of cholesterol, it contains traces of copper, iron, and zinc. The calorie content is low, while the water content is high.
The Trocadero’s leaves are soft, so they can be eaten raw and chewed well to release the nutrients. It can also be blanched for those who would like it slightly cooked. As the Trocadero’s leaves are oval and in different sizes, they may also be used to decorate a dish to lend visual appeal. Alternatively, instead of using a flatbread for a wrap or a pita, the Batavia’s broad leaves could be used as veggie wraps instead as veggie wraps, or a scoop for dips to pour over your tossed salad.
2nd | BUTTERHEAD LETTUCE a.k.a. BOSTON or BIBB LETTUCE
This type of lettuce has light green, soft, supple leaves. It grows into a nicely oval-shaped head and pale inner leaves or heart.
3 Butterhead Lettuce
A look-alike of the Iceberg Lettuce in its overall shape, leaves, and light green color, the Butterhead lettuce has small round buds and smooth-edged oval leaves. When fully grown, its shape resembles a rosette. To enjoy them, toss fresh Butterhead leaves in your veggie salad, in a sandwich as a topper, and on hors d’oeuvre. The leaves could be wraps to hold cut-up vegetables and fruits for a light meal or a side dish.
Butterhead lettuce contains vitamin A, iron, and calcium, and it’s delicious because of its sweet taste and smooth, buttery texture. Because of its fiber content, it contributes to curbing the sugar released in the blood. Fiber from greens also sweeps away cholesterol from the body, preventing its buildup in the arteries, which could trigger a heart attack or stroke.
The Butterhead lettuce is also called Buttery and Butter Lettuce. If you visit a farm or garden and view them from a distance, they look like huge green roses in full bloom.
3rd | CRISPHEAD LETTUCE a.k.a. HEAD or ICEBERG LETTUCE
4 Iceberg Lettuce
The Iceberg Lettuce has a tight, round shape and light-green thin leaves that grow out of its stem. It’s among the well-known types of lettuce. Having more water content than others, it tames the bitter flavor of other lettuces and veggies paired with it. The result is an invigorating and refreshing vegetable salad mix. Or top your sandwiches with Iceberg Lettuce leaves. Also, add them to a vegetable salad. It’s a good source of calcium, folate, vitamin C, potassium, vitamin A and K.
4th | LEAF LETTUCE a.k.a. LOOSE-LEAF LETTUCE
5 Oak Leaf Lettuce
What’s different about the Oak Leaf Lettuce is the green leaf color, set off by the purplish-red ones, and its interesting crinkled texture. The taste is enhanced by its crunchiness and mildly sweet flavor. That may be the reason it is popular as it tastes and looks good. The Oak Leaf lettuce would be a wonderful ingredient to add in a vegetable salad, as a filling for tacos and wraps.
From a nutritional standpoint, it provides some health benefits because it contains important nutrients. Such as beta-carotene for the eyes and skin, folate to prevent stroke and depression, lutein for eye health, and phenolic compounds which are anti-oxidants.
The Endive lettuce has firm and solid leaves that are mostly white, with the side and top edges tinged with yellow-green. It is usually identified and singled out when you’re shopping for veggies at the vegetable section in your favorite local grocery or farmer’s market. It’s got a bittersweet taste making it a popular addition to a salad or bread filling. Look closer and notice the leaves are shaped like spoons or small saucers. Therefore, they could hold cut-up pieces of veggies for snacks and hors d’oeuvre. Endives have health benefits for weight loss, contribute to normalizing blood sugar levels, and do wonders for mental health.
5th | COS a.k.a. GEM or ROMAINE LETTUCE
7 Romaine Lettuce
Romaine lettuce may be distinguished from other lettuce varieties by its looks. Its head of narrow, thick-ribbed leaves grows upright, vertically. You may see some with the head covering up the leaves inside, while others are opened to reveal them. It’s a popular, well-liked lettuce veggie in Caesar’s salad, and of course, as toppings for sandwich wraps, or as an entrée in a full-course meal.
A good source of vitamins A and C and some antioxidants, Romaine lettuce throws in the health benefits of copper, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, and vitamin K, for preventing bone loss and supporting bone growth,
8 Little Gem
The Little Gem lives up to its name partly due to its more compact and smaller shape compared to most other lettuce varieties. With its sweet taste and crunchy texture, it’s a favorite ingredient in vegetable salads. For nutritious sandwiches, includes Little Gem leaves. It also has crispy leaves strong enough to be used as scoops or wraps for mixed veggies topped off with dips.
Healthwise, the Little Gem lettuce is a good source of Vitamin K for bone health and normal blood clotting. It also provides other micronutrients in lesser amounts, such as folate for cardiovascular health and a strong immune system. Another nutrient it contains is manganese. It provides cell damage prevention and turns food into energy, and thiamine for mental, emotional, and heart health.
9 Bud Lettuce
The Bud Lettuce looks like a smaller Romaine Lettuce but with leaves that are curlier and smaller. The taste is much milder and less bitter. When added to a vegetable salad or a side dish, it would add zest and spiciness. The Bud lettuce, as a good source of fiber, also gives fair amounts of beta-carotene, vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, C, and E. Also, calcium, magnesium, potassium, and sodium. As vegetables that contain antioxidants, they help control the high build-up of cholesterol which slows down aging. It also promotes blood circulation to prevent the hardening of the arteries.
6th | RED LEAF LETTUCE
10 Lollo Rosso
Regarded as a one-of-a-kind lettuce variety, the Lollo Rosso has crisp, curled light green leaves that gradually change into deep crimson towards the tip. It has a mildly bitter taste that may complement other greens in a vegetable salad and adds a little zest. Also, the leave’s complementary, or contrasting, red and green hues would make any food presentation quite appealing.
As regards health benefits, at the top is its contribution to strengthening the immune system, thanks to its abundance of vitamin C. Another is eye health benefit which we get due to its abundance of Vitamin A. And with its iron content, we get protection from developing anemia by eating more greens like the Lollo Rosso. They can be eaten raw to get the most nutrients, or slightly cooked for those who can’t tolerate raw foods.
Further enhance and add to your healthful choice of foods by knowing the various types of lettuces. You can check them out and buy them from the grocery for snacks and meals. Learn the health benefits of each lettuce type and how best to prepare them. That will benefit not only your healthful eating habits but also enjoy good-tasting snacks, comfort food, and daily meals. They’re not only easy to prepare, but you can also create your very own lettuce sandwiches. You can further enjoy them in salads, tacos, and wraps. in tune with your taste. Include other healthful veggies, nuts, seeds, and other fillings. By eating healthy foods and vegetables with joy, you enjoy living well.