The article has been automatically translated into English by Google Translate from Russian and has not been edited.

Leaf lettuce: how a healthy product has become deadly and can risk be reduced


Source: RBC Style

Since 2017, more than 500 cases and six deaths have been reported in the US from leafy green vegetables contaminated with E. coli. Scientists from the University of Kansas have finally developed a test for a pathogenic bacterium. What's going on and how can you protect yourself? Tells RBC Style.

Фото: Depositphotos

There are few foods whose usefulness would be obvious to supporters of various types of nutrition. Leafy vegetables are definitely one of them. They are actively advised by everyone - from vegans to supporters of the keto diet.

And rightfully so: 17 of the 20 healthiest foods, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), are greens. Including green salads in your diet reduces the risk of heart disease, cancer, type 2 diabetes, and may improve mental performance.

Green salads have also been recommended by the US Food and Drug Administration, but are now more puzzled by the "romaine lettuce death" panic. Today, in the US, leafy vegetables cause more E. coli infections than any other food, with 2006 E. coli outbreaks reported between 2019 and 46. This leaves doctors with a choice: continue to advise eating as many greens as possible to improve overall health, or ask to limit the product to avoid the risk of infection.

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The situation can improve now, when scientists at the University of Kansas developed a rapid test for the bacterium E. coli, which allows you to identify the disease in a day to help in time and reduce the risk of spread of E. coli.

Obviously, the epidemiological situation in the Russian Federation is different. But still, due to the characteristics of the product, the Russians also run the risk of contracting E. coli by eating a portion of green salad. This does not mean that healthy leafy vegetables should be excluded from the diet. To protect yourself, it is enough to follow simple hygiene rules.

Buy salads whole

Romen, iceberg, lettuce and other similar salads are best bought unassembled into separate leaves. As such, they undergo less processing, are less likely to come in contact with anything, and are less likely to become infected with bacteria.

Know your risks

If you have weakened immunity, you are pregnant, cook for young children or the elderly, you should pay particular attention to the processing of lettuce, as we are talking about those who have higher risks of getting sick or harder to suffer the disease.

Choose trusted brands and suppliers.

Large companies with a good reputation or a bona fide neighbor in the country bear a higher responsibility at all stages of growing vegetables, therefore, as a rule, they deserve more trust.

Prefer hydroponics or a greenhouse

Outdoors, lettuce is more likely to be contaminated, such as animal feces, which can contain dangerous bacteria. The soil in greenhouses in this sense is often safer than in open areas.

Try to grow greens yourself

Parsley and cilantro can be grown at any time of the year in large pots on windowsills. In the summer, experiment with hanging flower beds (if your windows face a non-gassed street). And on the garden plot, it’s really possible to harvest your own crop of romaine lettuce or corn.

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Keep salads briefly and in the refrigerator

The longer the salad is stored and the higher the temperature, the more actively bacteria develop. You should not eat salad (even from vacuum packaging) if it has been lying in the refrigerator for a week. Do not leave foods for too long at room temperature: remove greens just before cooking.

Wash dirty salads and don’t wash clean salads

Thoroughly rinse and dry leafy vegetables that are sold "dirty", but do not additionally process those that are already washed. The fact is that when washing products labeled as “already washed” or “ready to eat”, additional cross-contamination may occur already in your kitchen.

Use vinegar

Vinegar is the enemy of bacteria. You can soak lettuce leaves in vinegared water before washing (10 minutes is enough) or use salad dressings (like olive oil plus balsamic) for extra protection against bacteria.

The material is published for educational purposes and is not a medical recommendation. ForumDaily Woman is not responsible for the consequences of self-medication and may not share the views of the author or expert.

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