Mache Lettuce: Health Benefits and Nutrition Facts
Although still not a common ingredient in most American kitchens, mache lettuce is gaining popularity among health-conscious foodies who are looking to add more tasty nutrient-dense salad greens into their diets. Also called lamb's lettuce or corn salad, mache (Valeriana locusta var. olitoria L.) is one of the most nutritious lettuce varieties there is, and its wonderful nutty flavor ensures that your salads and green smoothies featuring mache will be real hits both among adults and kids. If you're not yet convinced that this unsung salad green should be the star of tonight's dinner, check out the overview of the wonderful health benefits of mache lettuce below. At the end of this write-up, you'll also find a nutrition facts chart for mache showing the exact amounts of specific nutrients found in raw mache leaves.
Mache is supercharged with vitamin C
While iceberg lettuce is a relatively poor source of vitamin C, mache is loaded with this vital nutrient (64% of the Daily Value in a 3.5-oz serving, according to USDA's Nutrition Facts data for mache lettuce). In fact, on an ounce-by-ounce basis, mache contains almost as much vitamin C as lemon juice!
Vitamin C is perhaps best known for its antioxidant effects, but it also plays a critical role in a number of other bodily functions. For instance, it helps your body produce collagen, a protein that helps keep your skin smooth and your bones, teeth, and arteries strong. In addition, eating more vitamin C rich foods – such as mache lettuce – is one of the most common diet tips for preventing the common cold.
Mache provides 14 times as much pro-vitamin A as iceberg lettuce
Most people associate pro-vitamin A with orange vegetables, such as carrots and apricots, but there are also plenty of green leafy vegetables that are packed with this eye sight protecting nutrient. Just one ounce of fresh mache lettuce, for example, provides a whopping 18% of the Daily Value for vitamin A (in the form of carotenoids). In addition to keeping your eyes healthy, vitamin A is crucial for healthy mucous membranes. It also acts as an antioxidant, providing protection against free radical damage associated with many chronic diseases and premature aging.
Vitamin B for a healthy metabolism, cognitive development, immune function, and skin
If you have a background in nutritional sciences you may know that bananas, bell peppers, and wheat germ are all good sources of vitamin B6. But did you know that also mache is a great source of this important B complex vitamin? (A 3.5-ounce or 100-gram serving of mache provides 14% of the Daily Value for vitamin B6, according to USDA's Nutrition Facts analysis)?
Also known as pyridoxine, vitamin B6 is a versatile nutrient that performs a wide variety of functions in the body. It is involved, for example, in the metabolism of amino acids (proteins), carbohydrates, and lipids (fats), as well as in cognitive development and immune function. It can also help repair damaged connective tissue and prevent toxin build-up and bloating, which is why it is considered a vital component of anti-cellulite diets.
Mache provides almost as much iron as spinach
Along with spinach, mache lettuce is at the top of the list of iron-containing salad greens. A 3.5-oz serving of raw mache provides 2.2 milligrams of iron (or 12% of the Daily Value), which makes mache only a slightly less concentrated source of iron than spinach.
If you're one of the eight million American women who are deficient in iron and are trying increase your intake of this vital mineral, take note though: the iron found in vegetables, including mache lettuce, is non-heme iron – a type of iron that is not absorbed by our bodies as well as iron found in meat and poultry. Therefore, people suffering from an iron deficiency are usually advised to eat more meat and poultry (or take high-quality iron supplements) in order to quickly supply their bodies with highly-absorbable heme iron.
Mache is packed with heart healthy nutrients
If the nutritional and health benefits of mache lettuce described above are not enough to convince you to add this unassuming salad green to your diet, consider this: Mache is also a wonderful source of potassium and copper, both of which are famous for their heart health protecting properties.
Potassium helps regulate blood pressure, while copper helps keep your cholesterol levels in check. In addition, studies have linked copper deficiency to abnormal electrocardiograms, glucose intolerance and high blood pressure (hypertension).
Chart: Calorie Count and Nutrition Facts
Nutrition facts for mache lettuce (also known as lamb's lettuce or corn salad) are provided per 100 grams (3.5 ounces or 21 calories) in the chart below. The nutrition facts provided below include both the absolute amounts and the percent Daily Values for the covered nutrients.
|Nutrient||Amount per 100 grams (3.5 oz)||% Daily Value||Comment|
|Protein||2.0 g||4 %|
|Fat||0.4 g||1 %|
|Cholesterol||0 g||0 %|
|Carbohydrates||3.6 g||1 %|
|Vitamin A||7092 IU||142 %||A superb source of pro-vitamin A|
|Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine)||0.3 mg||14 %||An excellent dietary source of pyridoxine|
|Vitamin B12||0 mcg||0 %|
|Vitamin C||38.2 mg||64 %||A concentrated source of vitamin C|
|Folate||12.0 mcg||3 %|
|Niacin||0.4 mg||2 %|
|Pantothenic acid||0.0 mg||0 %|
|Riboflavin||0.1 mg||5 %|
|Thiamin||0.1 mg||5 %|
|Calcium||38.0 mg||4 %|
|Copper||0.1 mg||7 %|
|Iron||2.2 mg||12 %||Non-heme iron|
|Magnesium||13.0 mg||3 %|
|Potassium||459 mg||13 %||A good source of potassium|
|Selenium||0.9 mcg||1 %|
|Sodium||4 mg||0 %|
|Zinc||0.6 mg||4 %|
The amounts in the nutrition facts table above are based on data provided by the USDA SR-21. The table is not comprehensive, i.e. mache lettuce may also contain other nutrients and phytochemicals not included in the chart. The Daily Values are based on recommendations for a 2,000 calorie reference diet. Your actual daily needs for various nutrients may be different depending on your calorie needs.