Anti Oxidants Found in Lettuce
Lettuce is a leafy green vegetable that is typically consumed in salads, sandwiches, and other dishes. While it is low in calories, it is rich in a number of healthful nutrients, including antioxidants. The primary antioxidants found in lettuce include:
Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid): This water-soluble vitamin acts as an antioxidant, neutralizing harmful free radicals that can lead to cell damage and diseases like cancer. Vitamin C also supports the immune system, promotes skin health, and aids in the absorption of iron. Studies have shown that vitamin C can lower the risk of chronic diseases like heart disease and boost the body’s immune defenses (Carr AC, Maggini S. Vitamin C and Immune Function. Nutrients. 2017).
Vitamin A (and its precursor, Beta-Carotene): Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin involved in immune function, vision, reproduction, and cellular communication. Beta-carotene is a carotenoid that can be converted into vitamin A in the body. Both beta-carotene and vitamin A act as antioxidants, reducing oxidative stress in the body. Some studies have suggested that a diet rich in beta-carotene might help slow the progression of age-related macular degeneration (Age-Related Eye Disease Study 2 Research Group, 2013).
Vitamin K: This vitamin is crucial for blood clotting and can contribute to bone health. While not a classical antioxidant, it has been suggested to play a role in inflammatory pathways, potentially reducing inflammation and oxidative stress (Shea MK, Booth SL. Concepts and Controversies in Evaluating Vitamin K Status in Population-Based Studies. Nutrients. 2016).
Flavonoids (such as Quercetin and Kaempferol): Flavonoids are plant compounds that have both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. Studies have indicated that they might help to reduce the risk of chronic diseases, including heart disease and cancer. Quercetin and kaempferol, found in lettuce, can neutralize free radicals in the body and have been studied for their potential anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory, and anti-diabetic properties (Salehi B et al., Therapeutic Potential of Quercetin: New Insights and Perspectives for Human Health. ACS Omega. 2020).
How to Handle Lettuce to Retain its Antioxidants:
Purchase Fresh and Vibrantly Colored Lettuce: The amount of antioxidants tends to be higher in fresh and brightly colored produce.
Avoid Damaged or Wilted Lettuce: Damaged or wilted lettuce may have lost some of its nutritional content.
Store Properly: Store lettuce in the refrigerator, inside a plastic bag or wrapped in a damp cloth. This helps to keep it fresh and maintain its antioxidant content.
Wash Just Before Use: Washing lettuce too far in advance can lead to nutrient loss. Therefore, wash it right before use.
Avoid Overcooking: If you’re using lettuce in cooked dishes, avoid overcooking it as high heat can degrade some antioxidants, particularly vitamin C.
As with all foods, eating a balanced diet rich in a variety of fruits and vegetables is likely to provide a wide array of antioxidants and other beneficial nutrients. While the antioxidants in lettuce can contribute to this balance, they are just one piece of a healthy dietary pattern.
NutriHydro is a manufacturer of plant nutrients based in the Philippines. They are known to grow the healthiest, heaviest, and largest lettuce in the country. NutriHydro products are available to purchase from the following e-commerce platforms.