9 Health and Nutrition Benefits of Red Leaf Lettuce
By Kaitlyn Berkheiser
Red leaf lettuce (Lactuca sativa) is a leafy vegetable in the daisy family.
It resembles romaine lettuce except in its tips, which have a red or purple tinge.
Aside from adding a burst of color to your favorite salad or sandwich, this vegetable offers numerous benefits.
Here are 9 health and nutrition benefits of red leaf lettuce.
1. High in Nutrients but Low in Calories
Red leaf lettuce is nutrient-dense, meaning that it's high in a variety of essential vitamins and minerals, yet very low in calories.
Three cups (85 grams) of shredded leaves provide the following nutrients (1):
- Calories: 11
- Protein: 1 gram
- Fat: 0.2 grams
- Fiber: 1 gram
- Vitamin K: 149% of the Daily Value (DV)
- Vitamin A: 127% of the DV
- Magnesium: 3% of the DV
- Manganese: 9% of the DV
- Folate: 8% of the DV
- Iron: 6% of the DV
- Vitamin C: 5% of the DV
- Potassium: 5% of the DV
- Vitamin B6: 4% of the DV
- Thiamine: 4% of the DV
- Riboflavin: 4% of the DV
Its nutrition profile is similar to other popular leafy vegetables, such as green leaf, romaine, and iceberg lettuce, although there are a few notable differences.
Red leaf lettuce is loaded with vitamins and minerals while low in calories. Its nutrient profile is comparable to other lettuces.
2. Very Hydrating
Maintaining adequate hydration is important for your overall health.
While drinking water plays a significant role in keeping your body hydrated, eating water-rich foods, such as red leaf lettuce, can also help.
Red leaf lettuce is 96% water, making it incredibly thirst-quenching (1).
Red leaf lettuce has an especially high water content, which can keep you hydrated and feeling full.
3. Loaded With Powerful Antioxidants
Red leaf lettuce boasts a number of antioxidants, which protect your body from damage caused by unstable molecules called free radicals. Having too many free radicals in your body may increase your likelihood of certain diseases (6Trusted Source, 7Trusted Source).
What's more, red leaf lettuce gets its reddish-purple hues from anthocyanins, a group of flavonoid antioxidants (12Trusted Source).
Diets rich in anthocyanin-dense foods may fight inflammation and are linked to improvements in heart disease risk factors, such as HDL (good) and LDL (bad) cholesterol (13Trusted Source, 14Trusted Source).
Additionally, red leaf lettuce is a good source of vitamin C, another powerful antioxidant. Foods high in this vitamin may reduce your risk of heart disease and certain cancers (15Trusted Source, 16Trusted Source, 17Trusted Source, 18Trusted Source).
Red leaf lettuce is a great source of antioxidants, in particular, anthocyanins, beta carotene, and vitamin C.
4. May Keep Your Heart Healthy
While no study has directly tested the effects of red leaf lettuce on heart health, this veggie does have several heart-promoting properties.
For instance, red leaf lettuce provides 3% of the DV for magnesium and 5% for potassium in just 3 cups (85 grams) of shredded leaves — enough for one mid-sized salad (1).
Additionally, deficiencies in both minerals have been linked to numerous heart-related disorders, such as high blood pressure, heart failure, and coronary heart disease (23Trusted Source, 24Trusted Source, 25Trusted Source, 26Trusted Source).
Red leaf lettuce contains decent amounts of magnesium and potassium, which may boost your heart health.
5. Excellent Source of Vitamin A
Vitamin A is the generic name for a group of fat-soluble compounds involved in maintaining immune health, cell growth, and eye health and vision.
This vitamin is also central to the normal development and function of many vital organs, including your heart, kidneys, and lungs (27).
Adding just one or two servings of red leaf lettuce to your diet a few times per week can help you meet your needs for this vitamin.
Red leaf lettuce is high in vitamin A, a nutrient that's essential for maintaining vision and immunity.
6. Packed With Vitamin K
Vitamin K is crucial for blood clotting. Without it, you would increase your risk of uncontrolled bleeding (28Trusted Source).
Although individuals taking certain blood-thinning medications may need to regulate their vitamin K intake, most people can boost their intake without any worry (29).
Red leaf lettuce is an excellent source of vitamin K, a nutrient involved in blood clotting and bone health.
7. May Help Lower Blood Pressure
Many people around the world have high blood pressure, which causes your heart to work harder and may increase your risk of heart disease or stroke (31Trusted Source).
Recent studies indicate that a diet rich in potassium may help lower blood pressure (32Trusted Source).
Increasing your red leaf lettuce intake in conjunction with other potassium-rich foods, such as avocados and beans, may help keep your blood pressure within a healthy range (34Trusted Source, 35Trusted Source).
Potassium may help reduce high blood pressure levels. Eating potassium-rich foods like red leaf lettuce may stabilize your blood pressure.
8. May Promote Weight Loss
Many traits of red leaf lettuce make it a weight-loss-friendly food.
Additionally, it has a high water content. Studies show that diets rich in low-calorie, high-water foods, such as leafy vegetables like red leaf lettuce, can significantly promote weight loss (37Trusted Source, 38Trusted Source, 39Trusted Source, 40Trusted Source).
Although no studies specifically link red leaf lettuce to weight loss, this low-calorie vegetable is likely to benefit your waistline if eaten as part of a healthy diet.
Red leaf lettuce has a high water content and low calorie count, making it a great addition to a weight loss diet.
9. Easy to Add to Your Diet
In addition to its health benefits, red leaf lettuce is quite tasty.
It can be enjoyed in salads or added to sandwiches or wraps for extra flavor, crunch, and color.
What's more, this veggie is relatively affordable.
However you decide to add it to your meal, this lettuce makes for an easy way to boost your nutrient intake.
Red leaf lettuce is a delicious leafy vegetable that can easily be added to your diet. Enjoy red leaf lettuce in salads or on sandwiches for extra flavor and nutrition.
The Bottom Line
Red leaf lettuce is a highly nutritious food. It's especially rich in antioxidants and vitamins A and K.
Additionally, it may help lower blood pressure, aid weight loss, and boost heart health.
Red leaf lettuce can easily be added to your favorite salads or sandwiches for extra flavor and nutrients.
Reposted with permission from our media associate Healthline.
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By Tim Radford
German scientists now know why so many fish are so vulnerable to ever-warming oceans. Global heating imposes a harsh cost at the most critical time of all: the moment of spawning.
Nearing the Brink<p>Since <a href="https://climatenewsnetwork.net/abundant-fish-need-cool-seas-and-protection/" target="_blank">fish in the temperate zones already experience a wide variation</a> in seasonal water temperatures, it hasn't been obvious why species such as <a href="https://climatenewsnetwork.net/sardines-swim-into-northern-waters-to-keep-cool/" target="_blank">cod have shifted nearer the Arctic, and sardines have migrated to the North Sea</a>.</p><p>But <a href="https://climatenewsnetwork.net/ocean-warming-spurs-marine-life-to-rapid-migration/" target="_blank">marine creatures are on the move</a>, and although there are other factors at work, including overfishing and <a href="https://climatenewsnetwork.net/fish-cant-smell-well-in-more-acidic-seas/" target="_blank">the increasingly alarming changes in ocean chemistry</a>, thanks to ever-higher levels of dissolved carbon dioxide, temperature change is part of the problem.</p><p>The latest answer, Dr Dahlke and his colleagues report in the journal <a href="https://science.sciencemag.org/cgi/doi/10.1126/science.aaz3658" target="_blank">Science</a>, is that many fish may already be living near the limits of their thermal tolerance.</p><p>The temperature safety margins during the moments of spawning and embryo might be very precise, and over hundreds of thousands of years of evolution, marine and freshwater species have worked out just what is best for the next generation. Rapid global warming upsets this equilibrium.</p>
By Sherry H-Y. Chou, Aarti Sarwal and Neha S. Dangayach
The patient in the case report (let's call him Tom) was 54 and in good health. For two days in May, he felt unwell and was too weak to get out of bed. When his family finally brought him to the hospital, doctors found that he had a fever and signs of a severe infection, or sepsis. He tested positive for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19 infection. In addition to symptoms of COVID-19, he was also too weak to move his legs.
When a neurologist examined him, Tom was diagnosed with Guillain-Barre Syndrome, an autoimmune disease that causes abnormal sensation and weakness due to delays in sending signals through the nerves. Usually reversible, in severe cases it can cause prolonged paralysis involving breathing muscles, require ventilator support and sometimes leave permanent neurological deficits. Early recognition by expert neurologists is key to proper treatment.
We are neurologists specializing in intensive care and leading studies related to neurological complications from COVID-19. Given the occurrence of Guillain-Barre Syndrome in prior pandemics with other corona viruses like SARS and MERS, we are investigating a possible link between Guillain-Barre Syndrome and COVID-19 and tracking published reports to see if there is any link between Guillain-Barre Syndrome and COVID-19.
Some patients may not seek timely medical care for neurological symptoms like prolonged headache, vision loss and new muscle weakness due to fear of getting exposed to virus in the emergency setting. People need to know that medical facilities have taken full precautions to protect patients. Seeking timely medical evaluation for neurological symptoms can help treat many of these diseases.
What Is Guillain-Barre Syndrome?
Guillain-Barre syndrome occurs when the body's own immune system attacks and injures the nerves outside of the spinal cord or brain – the peripheral nervous system. Most commonly, the injury involves the protective sheath, or myelin, that wraps nerves and is essential to nerve function.
Without the myelin sheath, signals that go through a nerve are slowed or lost, which causes the nerve to malfunction.
To diagnose Guillain-Barre Syndrome, neurologists perform a detailed neurological exam. Due to the nerve injury, patients often may have loss of reflexes on examination. Doctors often need to perform a lumbar puncture, otherwise known as spinal tap, to sample spinal fluid and look for signs of inflammation and abnormal antibodies.
Studies have shown that giving patients an infusion of antibodies derived from donated blood or plasma exchange – a process that cleans patients' blood of harmful antibodies - can speed up recovery. A very small subset of patients may need these therapies long-term.
The majority of Guillain-Barre Syndrome patients improve within a few weeks and eventually can make a full recovery. However, some patients with Guillain-Barre Syndrome have lingering symptoms including weakness and abnormal sensations in arms and/or legs; rarely patients may be bedridden or disabled long-term.
Guillain-Barre Syndrome and Pandemics
As the COVID-19 pandemic sweeps across the globe, many neurologic specialists have been on the lookout for potentially serious nervous system complications such as Guillain-Barre Syndrome.
Though Guillain-Barre Syndrome is rare, it is well known to emerge following bacterial infections, such as Campylobacter jejuni, a common cause of food poisoning, and a multitude of viral infections including the flu virus, Zika virus and other coronaviruses.
Studies showed an increase in Guillain-Barre Syndrome cases following the 2009 H1N1 flu pandemic, suggesting a possible connection. The presumed cause for this link is that the body's own immune response to fight the infection turns on itself and attacks the peripheral nerves. This is called an "autoimmune" condition. When a pandemic affects as many people as our current COVID-19 crisis, even a rare complication can become a significant public health problem. That is especially true for one that causes neurological dysfunction where the recovery takes a long time and may be incomplete.
Though there is clear clinical suspicion that COVID-19 can lead to Guillain-Barre Syndrome, many important questions remain. What are the chances that someone gets Guillain-Barre Syndrome during or following a COVID-19 infection? Does Guillain-Barre Syndrome happen more often in those who have been infected with COVID-19 compared to other types of infections, such as the flu?
The only way to get answers is through a prospective study where doctors perform systematic surveillance and collect data on a large group of patients. There are ongoing large research consortia hard at work to figure out answers to these questions.
Understanding the Association Between COVID-19 and Guillain-Barre Syndrome
While large research studies are underway, overall it appears that Guillain-Barre Syndrome is a rare but serious phenomenon possibly linked to COVID-19. Given that more than 10.7 million cases have been reported for COVID-19, there have been 10 reported cases of COVID-19 patients with Guillain-Barre Syndrome so far – only two reported cases in the U.S., five in Italy, two cases in Iran and one from Wuhan, China.
It is certainly possible that there are other cases that have not been reported. The Global Consortium Study of Neurological Dysfunctions in COVID-19 is actively underway to find out how often neurological problems like Guillain-Barre Syndrome is seen in hospitalized COVID-19 patients. Also, just because Guillain-Barre Syndrome occurs in a patient diagnosed with COVID-19, that does not imply that it was caused by the virus; this still may be a coincident occurrence. More research is needed to understand how the two events are related.
Due to the pandemic and infection-containment considerations, diagnostic tests, such as a nerve conduction study that used to be routine for patients with suspected Guillain-Barre Syndrome, are more difficult to do. In both U.S. cases, the initial diagnosis and treatment were all based on clinical examination by a neurological experts rather than any tests. Both patients survived but with significant residual weakness at the time these case reports came out, but that is not uncommon for Guillain-Barre Syndrome patients. The road to recovery may sometimes be long, but many patients can make a full recovery with time.
Though the reported cases of Guillain-Barre Syndrome so far all have severe symptoms, this is not uncommon in a pandemic situation where the less sick patients may stay home and not present for medical care for fear of being exposed to the virus. This, plus the limited COVID-19 testing capability across the U.S., may skew our current detection of Guillain-Barre Syndrome cases toward the sicker patients who have to go to a hospital. In general, the majority of Guillain-Barre Syndrome patients do recover, given enough time. We do not yet know whether this is true for COVID-19-related cases at this stage of the pandemic. We and colleagues around the world are working around the clock to find answers to these critical questions.
Sherry H-Y. Chou is an Associate Professor of Critical Care Medicine, Neurology, and Neurosurgery, University of Pittsburgh.
Aarti Sarwal is an Associate Professor, Neurology, Wake Forest University.
Neha S. Dangayach is an Assistant Professor of Neurology and Neurosurgery, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.
Disclosure statement: Sherry H-Y. Chou receives funding from The University of Pittsburgh Clinical Translational Science Institute (CTSI), the National Institute of Health, and the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine Dean's Faculty Advancement Award. Sherry H-Y. Chou is a member of Board of Directors for the Neurocritical Care Society. Neha S. Dangayach receives funding from the Bee Foundation, the Friedman Brain Institute, the Neurocritical Care Society, InCHIP-UConn Center for mHealth and Social Media Seed Grant. She is faculty for emcrit.org and for AiSinai. Aarti Sarwal does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.
Reposted with permission from The Conversation.
One of the initial reasons social distancing guidelines were put in place was to allow the healthcare system to adapt to a surge in patients since there was a critical shortage of beds, ventilators and personal protective equipment. In fact, masks that were designed for single-use were reused for an entire week in some hospitals.
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By Jake Johnson
Unity Task Forces formed by presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders unveiled sweeping party platform recommendations Wednesday that—while falling short of progressive ambitions in a number of areas, from climate to healthcare—were applauded as important steps toward a bold and just policy agenda that matches the severity of the moment.
"We've moved the needle a lot, especially on environmental justice and upping Biden's ambition," said Sunrise Movement co-founder and executive director Varshini Prakash, a member of the Biden-Sanders Climate Task Force. "But there's still more work to do to push Democrats to act at the scale of the climate crisis."
The climate panel—co-chaired by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and former Secretary of State John Kerry—recommended that the Democratic Party commit to "eliminating carbon pollution from power plants by 2035," massively expanding investments in clean energy sources, and "achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions for all new buildings by 2030."
In a series of tweets Wednesday night, Ocasio-Cortez—the lead sponsor of the House Green New Deal resolution—noted that the Climate Task Force "shaved 15 years off Biden's previous target for 100% clean energy."
"Of course, like in any collaborative effort, there are areas of negotiation and compromise," said the New York Democrat. "But I do believe that the Climate Task Force effort meaningfully and substantively improved Biden's positions."
Today the 6 Biden-Sanders Unity Task Forces are unveiling final language. The Climate Task Force accomplished a gr… https://t.co/gz3broq2qe— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez)1594240617.0
The 110 pages of policy recommendations from the six eight-person Unity Task Forces on education, the economy, criminal justice, immigration, climate change, and healthcare are aimed at shaping negotiations over the 2020 Democratic platform at the party's convention next month.
Sanders said that while the "end result isn't what I or my supporters would've written alone, the task forces have created a good policy blueprint that will move this country in a much-needed progressive direction and substantially improve the lives of working families throughout our country."
"I look forward to working with Vice President Biden to help him win this campaign," the Vermont senator added, "and to move this country forward toward economic, racial, social, and environmental justice."
Biden, for his part, applauded the task forces "for helping build a bold, transformative platform for our party and for our country."
"I am deeply grateful to Bernie Sanders for working with us to unite our party and deliver real, lasting change for generations to come," said the former vice president.
On the life-or-death matter of reforming America's dysfunctional private health insurance system—a subject on which Sanders and Biden clashed repeatedly throughout the Democratic primary process—the Unity Task Force affirmed healthcare as "a right" but did not embrace Medicare for All, the signature policy plank of the Vermont senator's presidential bid.
Instead, the panel recommended building on the Affordable Care Act by establishing a public option, investing in community health centers, and lowering prescription drug costs by allowing the federal government to negotiate prices. The task force also endorsed making all Covid-19 testing, treatments, and potential vaccines free and expanding Medicaid for the duration of the pandemic.
"It has always been a crisis that tens of millions of Americans have no or inadequate health insurance—but in a pandemic, it's potentially catastrophic for public health," the task force wrote.
Dr. Abdul El-Sayed, a former Michigan gubernatorial candidate and Sanders-appointed member of the Healthcare Task Force, said that despite major disagreements, the panel "came to recommendations that will yield one of the most progressive Democratic campaign platforms in history—though we have further yet to go."
We rein in #pharma's greed by: 1) Allowing Medicare to FINALLY negotiate Rx drugs FOR ALL AMERICANS 2) Using Rx d… https://t.co/6k9iUCLMp7— Abdul El-Sayed (@Abdul El-Sayed)1594238411.0
Observers and advocacy groups also applauded the Unity Task Forces for recommending the creation of a postal banking system, endorsing a ban on for-profit charter schools, ending the use of private prisons, and imposing a 100-day moratorium on deportations "while conducting a full-scale study on current practices to develop recommendations for transforming enforcement policies and practices at ICE and CBP."
Marisa Franco, director of immigrant rights group Mijente, said in a statement that "going into these task force negotiations, we knew we were going to have to push Biden past his comfort zone, both to reconcile with past offenses and to carve a new path forward."
"That is exactly what we did, unapologetically," said Franco, a member of the Immigration Task Force. "For years, Mijente, along with the broader immigrant rights movement, has fought to reshape the narrative around immigration towards racial justice and to focus these very demands. We expect Biden and the Democratic Party to implement them in their entirety."
"There is no going back," Franco added. "Not an inch, not a step. We must only move forward from here."
Reposted with permission from Common Dreams.
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