What Happens To Your Body When You Eat Iceberg Lettuce Every Day
Iceberg lettuce kind of gets a bad rap (no pun intended) in the culinary world. It never stars in its dishes and tends to be thought of as a crunchy add-on. But iceberg lettuce also has great nutritional benefits in its own right. Don’t set it aside so quickly when you take these facts about iceberg lettuce into account.
Iceberg lettuce is low on calories and high on nutrients
Looking at the numbers, the benefits of iceberg lettuce fare really well. One cup (approximately 72g) of iceberg lettuce contains a measly 10 calories and just over two carbs. No matter which way you’re counting, it’s a good value.
It also is made almost entirely of water, over 95%. The remaining 4 percent is all nutritional benefit. There is less than a tenth of a percent of fat, barely worth mentioning, and the rest is basically fiber. Those are some really healthy reasons to add iceberg lettuce to your diet.
Iceberg lettuce delivers on vitamins and minerals
Here’s where iceberg lettuce really helps in the nutrition department. For every 100 grams of iceberg lettuce you consume you take in around 5% of your daily recommended amount of fiber, 3% of potassium, 3% of vitamin A, 7% of vitamin B-9, and 20-25% of your daily vitamin K requirements.
Vitamin A is vital for cell growth, vision, reproduction and immunity. Vitamin B-9, also called folate, helps produce red and white blood cells in your bone marrow. Vitamin K is a necessary compound to help your blood clot, preventing excessive bleeding. That’s a lot of good from just a small amount of lettuce.
The physical benefits of eating iceberg lettuce
So, what are the physical benefits of eating iceberg lettuce? Well, because of its high water and fiber content, eating it as part of a regular routine can help keep you regular. Good intestinal health can prevent a lot of problems, and can even lower the risk of colon cancer.
Iceberg lettuce consumption also can aid in bone health. Further, it contains antioxidants that contribute to higher immunity and increased protection against a variety of conditions. Research also suggests that diets high in vegetables can lead to fewer heart issues.
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Romaine lettuce vs. iceberg lettuce
Iceberg lettuce nutrition doesn’t seem to hold up next to its cousin, romaine lettuce. Romaine contains higher levels of fiber and vitamins than iceberg lettuce, even though it contains about the same amount of water. That doesn’t mean iceberg lettuce is inferior. It just means you have to eat more iceberg lettuce to get the same nutrient value as romaine lettuce, up to five times more for some vitamins. Another alternative is spinach, which has more nutrients than both iceberg and romaine lettuce combined. But it’s a matter of taste and style. Any intake of leafy green vegetables will improve your diet, and variety is key.
How to add iceberg lettuce into your daily routine
Iceberg lettuce is a powerful component in salad, and goes with almost anything you want to put in with it. Add in tomatoes, peppers, onions, and radish for a quick lunch salad, and add in flavor boosters like avocado and nuts. Or make a sweet fruit salad with watermelon, pear, oranges, or other light refreshing ingredients.
Another way to use iceberg lettuce is in a wrap, as an alternative to bread, if you’re following a low-carb or gluten-free diet. Anything that can be in a sandwich can be wrapped up in a lettuce leaf. Try it yourself and see how easy it is!
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A note about preparing iceberg lettuce
Occasionally in the news you’ll see a story about a salmonella or E. coli outbreak in fresh produce, and lettuce is a common target. While this is not cause for continued worry, it pays to use a couple of easy tricks when handling fresh iceberg lettuce.
First, be sure to discard the outer leaves of the head. Then, peel off the ones you want to use. Wash your hands thoroughly before handling the head and be sure to wash the leaves by rubbing them: do not use soap or any other cleaning product. Then, dry off the leaves with paper towels. This will help ensure that your lettuce leaves are as safe as possible.