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Why Iceberg Lettuce Shouldn’t Be Your First Choice

Let’s be honest. If you go to most restaurants, chances are any salad you purchase is going to be made with iceberg lettuce. Some people feel iceberg lettuce shouldn’t be your first choice. What’s the truth about using iceberg lettuce?

Part of the truth concerning iceberg lettuce is that it doesn’t have the same nutrients as other leafy greens. Even though it doesn’t have as many nutrients, it is still a healthier choice than you might think. Iceberg contains 0.5 grams of protein, 10 milligrams of calcium, 78 milligrams of potassium, 1.5 milligrams of vitamin C and 15 micrograms of folate. It also contains 13.3 micrograms of vitamin K, 164 micrograms of beta carotene, and 152 micrograms each of lutein and zeaxanthin.

Iceberg lettuce is also high in water content and low in calories so it’s no wonder people on a diet might choose it for their weight loss arsenal. Providing 1% of your daily allowance of calcium, 7% of your vitamin A requirement, 3% of your vitamin C, and 2% of your daily iron requirement, iceberg lettuce is far from being totally without benefit. However, when you compare it with other leafy greens, it’s easy to see why you might want to use another variety of lettuce.

Romaine lettuce is a healthier option if you love to eat salads. The same amount of romaine provides 0.58 grams of protein, 1 gram of fiber, 16 milligrams of calcium, 116 milligrams of potassium, 11.3 milligrams of vitamin C and 64 micrograms of folate. It also provides 48.2 micrograms of vitamin K, 1637 micrograms of beta carotene and 1087 micrograms of both lutein and zeaxanthin. It’s easy to see why romaine is a better choice if you want a healthier choice of lettuce for your salad.

Other varieties of lettuce include Boston Bibb, green leaf, red leaf and arugula. Each one will have differing amounts of calories and nutrients.

When it comes time to make a salad, don’t rely on using only one variety of lettuce. Purchase several varieties and mix them all together. You’ll be able to enjoy the flavor differences and all of the health benefits of choosing more than one.

It’s true that iceberg lettuce has been given a bad rap in recent years. When someone tells you iceberg lettuce shouldn’t be your first choice when making a salad, you don’t have to give it up entirely. Use a several types of lettuce including iceberg and you’ll get the nutrients you need and the flavor you enjoy.