Health Benefits of Lettuce

Although all varieties of lettuce are very low in calories, they do not all rank the same in nutritional value.

Though Romaine provides decent nutrition, iceberg lettuce does not, so to make the ultimate nutritious salad, use plenty of leafy greens. Wonderfully flavored greens like radicchio, arugula, endive, chicory, and escarole make a salad stand out in taste and nutrition. Some greens back up their fat-fighting bulk with a decent amount of
fiber
.

The 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend eating about 2 cups of vegetables each day. It takes two cups of raw greens to equal one cup of veggies, according to the Guidelines.
heads of lettuce
Lettuce is very low and calories, and many varieties are high in nutrition.

Health Benefits of Lettuce

The darker the color of the salad green, the more nutritious it is. Beta-carotene is the chief disease-fighting nutrient found in the darker-colored greens. As an antioxidant, it battles certain cancers,
heart disease
, and cataracts. A dark-green color also indicates the presence of folic acid, which helps prevent neural-tube birth defects in the beginning stages of pregnancy. Researchers are uncovering other important contributions folic acid has to offer to your well-being, like its role in the prevention of heart disease and inflammation. Most salad greens are also notable sources of vitamin C, potassium, and fiber.

Chicory is a good source of vitamin C, another antioxidant nutrient linked to prevention of heart disease, cancer, and cataracts. Some salad greens, including arugula and watercress, are members of the cruciferous family, adding more ammunition to the fight against cancer.

Nutritional Values of Fresh Romaine Lettuce
Serving Size: 1/2 cup, shredded
Calories 0
Fat 0 g
Saturated Fat 0 g
Cholesterol 0 mg
Carbohydrate 1 g
Protein <1 g
Dietary Fiber <1 g
Sodium 2 mg
Calcium 8 mg
Potassium 58 mg
Vitamin A 1,365 IU
Folic Acid 32 micrograms
Vitamin C 6 mg
Carotenoids 1,362 micrograms

Want more information about lettuce? Try:
  • Vegetable Recipes: Find delicious recipes that feature lettuce.
  • Nutrition: Find out how lettuce fits in with your overall nutrition plans.
  • Vegetable Gardens: Grow a full harvest of great vegetables this year.
  • Gardening: We answer your questions about all things that come from the garden.
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