One of the most common symptoms of eating a salad at night is the feeling of bloating, but this has an explanation.

A salad of lettuce with tomato.

First of all, you have to define what the concept of salad refers to. In Spain, it is usual for this word to evoke ingredients such as lettuce, tomato and, if anything, onion in the subconscious. Of course, well sautéed with oil, vinegar and salt. But there are legume, potato and even Russian salads. Staying in the lettuce and tomato is something basic and that is probably what Homer Simpson was referring to when he sang, to the rhythm of the conga, that of: “Do not conquer anything with a salad!”

Focusing on lettuce, as the main ingredient of the myth that salad is fattening if eaten at dinner time, the feeling that some people may experience of bloating, after having dinner this preparation, has its explanation. “Lettuce itself, being rich in fiber, it can be a bit indigestible when it ferments in the stomach, generating gases. What can produce a feeling of distention to the person. For this reason, in the case of slow digestion of food, I recommend eating salads better at noon than at night ”, explains nutritionist Jimena Toselli from the Maio polyclinic.

A good way to adapt a salad to the evening scheduleIn the case of having experienced heaviness on some occasion, it would be to substitute the lettuce for tender shoots such as lamb’s lettuce, endive or arugula. As they are not so fibrous, they do not generate as many gases. “It also depends on the type of lettuce, I particularly usually recommend oak leaves more because it has less stem”, highlights the nutritionist.

Another of the false myths that accompany salad made with lettuce is that it retains fluids. Nothing is further from reality. This food is 90% water, so it actually favors the elimination of liquids. Among its benefits is the prevention of heart disease thanks to flavonoids, particularly quercetin, which is also an antioxidant. It hardly has calories, specifically it contributes 19 per 100 grams.

Few calories, many nutrients

Regarding its nutritional value, this raw food is rich in phosphorus, which plays an important role in use of carbohydrates and fat in the body, in addition to composing bones and teeth. It is also necessary for the production of the protein responsible for the growth, conservation and repair of cells and tissues.

It is rich in potassium, a type of electrolyte important in the muscle contraction and the nerve function; magnesium, essential for the body’s immune system; vitamin A, which contributes to the maintenance of teeth, soft tissues and skin, as well as C and E, powerful antioxidants. Folic acid is also among the nutrients it provides, being a basic component in the formation and production of new cells, especially during pregnancy and in childhood.

Lettuce too protects the gastric mucosa, helps regulate blood sugar levels, thanks to its diuretic properties, hydrates the body and favors the proper functioning of the kidneys, in addition to preventing urinary system infections. Also, this food is rich in lactucin, a relaxing substance that calms the nervous system and promotes sleep. So, if you don’t tend to have heavy digestion, a salad for dinner is the perfect ally to fall into the arms of Morpheus and sleep through the night.

Some studies, which were echoed The New York Times, reveal that contrary to what happens with spinach, which after being packaged, can lose half of the folic acid after four, six and eight days after packaging. Still preserved below 20 degrees Celsius. For its part, lettuce maintains its properties intact.

“The key to a healthy salad is in its ingredients, that is, the foods that accompany the lettuce,” Toselli says. It is clear that lettuce is a food full of benefits, but dressing it with a multitude of ingredients such as chicken, heavy sauces, bread or tuna, can turn a salad into a caloric bomb. Because, the best companions of lettuce They are beets, chopped carrots, bean sprouts, cucumber, onion or even some dairy such as fresh cheese, but everything every day.