Is lettuce good for acid reflux?

Lettuce, scientifically known as Lectuca sativa, belongs to the Asteraceae family and is an annual plant now called a green vegetable. It serves as a perennial meal with a variety of options, though it is not consumed primarily.

It is often paired with widely loved foods. Other than salads, wraps, burgers, sandwiches, and soups use lettuce daily and are served raw and fresh.

It was originally grown by Egyptians and later became popular to the Greeks and Romans. By the 18th century, it was widely chosen by the western parts of the world. To date, lettuce is considered one of the many top choices of gardeners.

lettuce field 1672580 1280 edited
image source- pixabay

1. The Devil in Disguise: Acid Reflux

Sphincters are present in the human body to help perform smooth mechanisms. Likewise, the stomach has a sphincter, the Lower Esophageal Sphincter (LES), that helps prevent backflow of stomach acid.

When the LES relaxes, which is likely to occur if any food consumed releases hormones that control the relaxation of LES, stomach acid returns to the stomach and into the esophagus all the way up, causing burning irritation, namely, heartburn followed by chest pain, acidic burps, etc. This whole backflow process is known as acid reflux and is quite common in people of all ages.

2. How does Lettuce bring in Relief?

Lettuce is low in acid and has a lesser probability of triggering acid reflux. Also, lettuce has high water content which helps in diluting the stomach acid and neutralizing it. Both these characteristics are important for preventing acid reflux to occur.

2.1. Types of lettuce

Although lettuce has a lot of varieties, commonly these are found:

a. Iceberg Lettuce: A classic with crispy-like leaves.

b. Romaine Lettuce: Best known for its lengthy leaves and mildly bitter taste.

c. Butterhead Lettuce: Smooth and soft butter-like leaves.

d. Leaf Lettuce: As the name suggests, it has a variety of loose leaves.

e. other types include Boston, Rocket, Batavia and Coral lettuces.

Lettuce has rich sources of vitamins A and K and has medium sources of Folate and Iron, too.

2.2. Incorporating Lettuce in Diets

Using lettuce as a salad is an age-old recipe that manages acidity and is friendlier to the gut. Cooking a sandwich out of bread, fillings and lettuce, but considering the safety of stomachs. Boiling a soup out of it which will heal acid reflux. Making a smoothie is also a good idea to provide necessary nutrients to the stomach.

2.3. Cultivating Lettuce

  • Lettuce thrives in winter seasons with moderate winter sun and 15 degrees Celsius. It does not love too much water and can grow in small areas.
  • Lettuce can be cultivated in any variety of soil except clay soil. It is sensitive to acidic soils and yields better leaf shapes if kept at a pH of 5 to 6.
  • Manures and Fertilizers help these plants a lot and should be applied while regulating consumption.

2.4. Lettuce for the Win

It has been clinically proven that lettuce has low-calorie content, reduces anxiety, has zero fat, protects neurons, contains omega-3 fatty acids, heals insomnia, has antioxidants, lowers blood cholesterol and prevents cancer cell differentiation.

Heartburn, Acid Reflux, GERD-Mayo Clinic
YouTube channel source- Mayo Clinic

2.5. Science so far

Lettuce has been proven so far, along with their techniques are updated as hydroponic cultivation, economic and nutritional value of lettuce, microbial growth shown on lettuce and genetic diversity such as disease resistance.

2.6. History Witnesses so far

Lettuce has a surprisingly long history, dating back to around 2680 BC! Here’s a quick look at its journey:

  • The ancient Egyptians first cultivated it for its seeds, which were used to produce oil. Over time, they selectively bred the plant to focus on its leaves, making it a food crop.
  • Lettuce cultivation spread from Egypt to Greece and Rome. The Romans named it “lactuca,” which is where our word “lettuce” comes from (the name refers to the plant’s milky sap). Romans also continued to develop new varieties of lettuce.
  • Lettuce remained a popular crop throughout the Middle Ages and beyond. By the 16th to 18th centuries, Europe saw a surge in lettuce innovation, with many new varieties emerging. Some of these varieties are still enjoyed today!
  • In the Modern day, lettuce comes in all shapes and sizes, from the crisp iceberg to the loose and leafy romaine. Breeders continue to create new varieties to suit different tastes and climates.
image source- pixabay

3. Alternative Comfort Food for Relief

Other water-based foods, such as cucumber, celery, and watermelon, are also beneficial for the stomach. High-fiber foods make the stomach full and provide relief from acid reflux. Alkaline foods, too, provide comfort by reducing the pH.

Other home remedies include lemon water, ginger tea, apple cider vinegar, bananas and nuts.

4. Treatment for Acid Reflux

  • Consult a doctor if the pain becomes too severe.
  • Medications for relief like Pepto Bismol, antacids, tums, and Rolaids help.
  • Making dietary changes if the individual is suffering from long-term indigestion, they should altogether skip any acidic foods, spicy, oily foods or too much sugar in the diet.
  • Maintain a healthy, balanced lifestyle by incorporating exercise, meditations and gut health balance.
  • Quit smoking or drinking as it will affect the stomach and cause acid reflux by relaxing the LES.
  • Avoid lying down right after a heavy meal and elevate the head of the sleeping position to prevent backflow of stomach acid.
  • Eat food in smaller portions and consume frequently.

If you want to know the benefits of hot water for treating acid reflux, check out Does drinking hot water help acid reflux?

Ending Remarks

Although indigestion, acid reflux and heartburn are the root causes of many human diseases, they occur due to unhealthy eating habits and not knowing the Nutritional values of good food.

Lettuce is a win-win in this situation. It has loads of good properties and has a taste that can be used in different cooking recipes. Its flexibility makes it a reliable food, and its fat absorption is an added bonus.

While there is ongoing research, lettuce is a safe food option, yet it cannot be held down as an only resort. In severe cases, experimenting while in dire need of consultations may become fatal; hence, consulting a professional such as a gastroenterologist or a dietician is a must.

Last Updated on by Rajeshwari_Das



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