We get Letters v. 16 – Lettuce and Caffeine

This one here comes from the comments section

I hope you can help with a question I have….a friend told me that there is a small amount of caffeine that occurs naturally in lettuce and many other fruits and vegetables! Is there any validity behind this statement? Anxiously awaiting answer.

Thank-you

Lana

Hi Lana! Thanks for your question.

Your friend has laid a new one on me, as I have never heard that. I did a quick search for nutrional data on Lettuce and have come up with a conclusive answer. There is no caffeine in lettuce. All three major cultivars of lettuce (romaine, iceberg and butter) come up with the big goose egg in the caffeine department.

Ironically, you can find a bit of tryptophan in lettuce. You remember tryptophan, right? It’s the Amino acid that urban legend says is responsible for us feeling so sleepy after eating Turkey. Yes, it is an urban legend.

As far as other fruits? According to Nutrition Data, there doesn’t seem to be any. This makes sense when you understand that for the plant, caffeine may act as a natural pesticide. It paralyzes and kills some of the insects that attempt to feed on the plant. As fruits carry seeds, it would be innefficient for a plant to kill the primary vehicle used to distribute said seeds.

Thanks for the question Lana, I enjoyed researching this one, as I found it things I hadn’t known before.

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