Lettuce is one of the most misunderstood foods. When most people think of lettuce, they think of the sorry-looking soggy leaves that get pushed to the side of your plate, or those picked out of burgers and discarded so that people can enjoy the taste of ‘the good bits’ instead. It doesn’t have to be that way. Lettuce isn’t just nutritious it can be tasty too.
Why Eat Lettuce?
There are two main varieties of this super-healthy food: romaine and iceberg. Romaine is the healthiest variety. It contains the least sugar and sodium and the most protein. Yes, green, leafy vegetables do contain protein. In addition to protein, romaine leaves also contain:
- Vitamin K
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin A
It also contains fibre and cellulose, which helps to fill you up and stay satiated for longer. Because the fat content of this food is low, it’s not particularly calorie-dense, so filling up on high-fibre foods indirectly helps with weight loss.
Romaine leaves are rich in disease-fighting phyto-nutrients, as well as antioxidants which help to slow down the effects of ageing. In addition, the vitamin K that they contain helps to prevent Alzheimer’s disease, while the carotenoids offer some protection against age-related macular degeneration, especially in the elderly.
Lettuce and the Paleo Diet
The Paleo diet is frequently referred to as the “caveman diet”. The diet presents some simple rules to help people make good food choices. Following the Paleo diet involves eating only foods that your ancestors from the caveman era could have eaten. This diet is effective because it ensures that practitioners stay away from chemical-ridden processed foods. Instead of eating sweets and calorie-dense foods that are low in nutrients, Paleo diet followers eat fresh vegetables, lean meats and fresh fruit. Even simple carbohydrates such as white bread and crisps are to be avoided.
Adapting to the Paleo diet can be challenging for some people, especially if they are used to eating a lot of cereals, bread and pasta. Salads and wraps made with romaine leaves can be a good alternative for people on the Paleo diet. Romaine wraps containing chicken or grass-fed beef are easy high-protein, low-carb meals, especially if you prepare them yourself.
Take care when ordering wraps and salads in restaurants, however. It is common for salads to be coated in sugary syrups and the dressings and vinaigrettes provided are usually high in fat and calorie-dense. If you are eating out, ask for the dressing on the side so that you can control your portions more easily.
Once you are used to eating like your ancestors did, you should find that you no longer miss carbohydrates and processed foods. You will have more energy, feel satisfied for longer and enjoy a range of health benefits. You can still enjoy dark chocolate, some kinds of alcohol and dairy products in moderation. The Paleo regime is something that you should be able to follow for a lifetime. It should not be regarded as just a short-term effort to lose weight.