Romaine lettuce – intolerance and allergy

Romaine lettuce

If you want to eat healthily, you should ideally eat fruit and vegetables up to five times a day. This means that salads in different variations are also part of the daily menu. One option for a crisp, fresh, and healthy taste experience from this area is romaine lettuce .

Here’s what you should know about romaine lettuce

Romaine lettuce is also known in this country under the names romaine lettuce , romaine lettuce , lettuce or cooking lettuce . The term binding lettuce is also possible. In older varieties of romaine lettuce, the heads of lettuce were often tied together.

The aim was to achieve an optimal shape and to keep the hearts delicate and bright. The original origin of Romaine lettuce has not yet been clarified. A distribution from western Asia and the Mediterranean region is assumed. This type of lettuce was already known in Egypt 4000 years ago. The lettuce variety got its name – as is easy to guess – from its use in the Italian city of Rome. Romaine lettuce is botanically assigned to the garden lettuce plant species. These in turn belong to the daisy family.

Characteristic of the lettuce are the thin, fine and elongated leaves, which are arranged one above the other on the central stalk. The head of lettuce has an elongated rather loose shape.

Romaine lettuce grows upright and can reach a height of about 40 centimeters. The average weight is 300 grams per head of lettuce. The elongated leaves are strongly wavy and have clearly recognizable central veins. The outer leaves are bright green, while the inner leaves have faded slightly yellow. The taste is heartier than that of the related variety – the lettuce.

Romaine lettuce is harvested and sold by local German suppliers from September to October. During the remaining months, deliveries are made by imports from the Mediterranean countries (Italy, France, Spain) as well as from Austria and the Netherlands. When buying, you should make sure that the leaves are not withered or limp. The heart of the lettuce is closed when the produce is fresh. The hearts of the Romaine lettuce are also sold as separate salad variations.

importance to health

When it comes to lettuce, and therefore also romaine lettuce, opinions differ on the health effects. Some assume that the nutritional value of a lettuce is close to zero.

The others praise the valuable plant substances and the low number of calories. In fact, the large volume and fiber makes romaine lettuce a light meal or side dish. Lettuce is mostly water and low in calories. There are only twelve calories per 100 grams of lettuce. It is therefore particularly suitable at the beginning of a meal, as the high volume signals to the brain that enough food has been consumed. In addition to the possible positive effects on body weight, plant substances such as carotenoids , flavonoids , phytosterols and polyphenols are also absorbed into the body through fresh lettuce .

This is considered a valuable prophylaxis against cardiovascular disease . For example, it has been proven that plant substances can also protect against arteriosclerosis and high blood pressure or minimize type 2 diabetes . The combination of lettuce and vinegar slows down the absorption of carbohydrates into the blood – another positive effect. Research has shown that fresh lettuce has the ability to bind harmful free radicals in the body. The following applies here: the fresher the salad, the higher the positive effect on health.

The fact is: those who pay attention to healthy food in their diet and eat a lot of fruit, vegetables and salad significantly reduce diseases and take care of their own health.

Ingredients & nutritional values

People who care about their health appreciate the excellent nutritional values ​​of romaine lettuce. Few carbohydrates, almost no fat and protein , but plenty of valuable plant substances. In numbers, that means 3.3 grams of carbohydrates, 0.3 grams of fat and 1.2 grams of protein for every 100 grams of lettuce .

The proven ingredients in romaine lettuce are similar to those of its conspecifics such as lettuce . The strong leaves contain a lot of vitamin C , B vitamins, provitamin A and minerals such as potassium and calcium . Lettuce contains a whitish milky sap, which is particularly found in the stalks and central stalks. This milky sap contains bitter substances that are supposed to protect the plant from pests. This also influences the taste of the lettuce leaves.

Intolerances & allergies

Basically, lettuce is a rather well-tolerated food. But there are also people who have an allergy or intolerance to composite plants. Various symptoms such as red, itchy spots, swelling of the face, mouth and throat occur. Irritation of the respiratory tract and eyes are also possible.

Symptoms in the gastrointestinal tract are often observed, such as abdominal pain , nausea or diarrhea . If an intolerance occurs, the food that caused the symptoms should be eliminated from the menu as far as possible. It should also be noted that lettuce varieties contain nitrate. If the lettuce is kept dark, for example when grown in a greenhouse, the nitrate content increases. This is suspected of causing cancer .

Shopping & kitchen tips

Based on the above facts, the following conclusions can be drawn for the purchase of romaine lettuce. At best, the lettuce is freshly harvested in your own garden.

If this is not possible, fresh, regionally grown lettuce, which can be bought without long transport routes and unpackaged, is generally the healthier option. Freshly picked leaves release vitamins and valuable plant substances two to three hours after consumption . In the case of packaged lettuce, this could not be demonstrated, or only to a small extent. Greenhouse lettuce not only has fewer antioxidant ingredients, it also doesn’t taste as good.

If the lettuce is not eaten immediately after purchase, dry it well and wrap it uncut in damp paper towels or a damp towel. Packed like this, romaine lettuce can be stored in the vegetable compartment of the refrigerator for two to three days. Alternatively, a closable box can also be used.

Preparation tips

Romaine lettuce is mainly prepared as a fresh salad with other vegetables and various dressings. Outer leaves are removed, if not already done, and the remaining leaves are individually separated, washed, dried and cut to the desired size. Strong, creamy dressings go well with romaine lettuce.

It is not for nothing that it is a classic basic component of the well-known American “Caesar Salad”. Briefly steamed and au gratin or doused with melted butter, Romaine lettuce is also used as a vegetable side dish. The steaming and cooking time is about three to five minutes. The taste of cooked leaf veins is similar to that of asparagus. Suitable combinations are also cheese such as Parmesan.

Lisa Newlon
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Hello! I am Lisa Newlon, and I am a medical writer and researcher with over 10 years of experience in the healthcare industry. I have a Master’s degree in Medicine, and my deep understanding of medical terminology, practices, and procedures has made me a trusted source of information in the medical world.