Which lettuce is the most nutritious?
Not all types of lettuce are created equal. Why not choose the most nutritious lettuce when creating your next salad.
Question: What is the most nutritious lettuce?
Answer: All types of lettuce are good for you. As a vegetable, lettuce provides fiber, vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals for very, very, few calories.
Lettuce is a source of folate with respect to vitamins, a B vitamin needed to make and repair DNA in cells, and vitamin K, a nutrient linked to healthy bones. You also get potassium, a mineral essential for healthy blood pressure, as well as a bit of calcium in lettuce.
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Lettuce is also a good source of two phytochemicals: beta-carotene and Lutein.
What type of everyday lettuce is the most nutritious?
Lettuces of all types are good for you. Lettuce can be sweet and crunchy and provide your body with fiber, minerals, phytochemicals and vitamins with practically zero calories. Lettuces are the ultimate freebie when it comes to vegetables.
Lettuce is an excellent source of folate and vitamin K, which helps repair DNA inside cells and is linked to bone health respectively.
Lettuce also delivers potassium which is a mineral that is important to maintaining healthy blood pressure.
You also get potassium, a mineral important for healthy blood pressure, as well as a bit of calcium in lettuce.
Phytochemicals in lettuce include Lutein and beta-carotene. As a powerful antioxidant, beta-carotene helps protect cells from free radicals.
It's believed that beta-carotene helps protect against certain kinds of cancer and other diseases.
Another antioxidant, Lutein helps keep our eyes healthy as we age. Upon consumption, Lutein moves to the eyes to protect the retina and lens. Research has shown that high intakes of Lutein help prevent macular degeneration; in particular, Lutein benefits fine detailed vision.
The most nutritious commonly available lettuce is Romaine. In general, the darker the green in a type of lettuce, the more nutritious it is. Compared to other common lettuces, such as iceberg (the least nutritious), to leaf (both red and green) lettuces along with Boston or Bibb types of lettuce, Romaine lettuce wins the nutrition competition hands down.
Nevertheless, all types of lettuces are a great way to load up on vitamins and other healthy components without worrying about calories.
So load up your plate with those healthy, crunchy sweet green lettuces of all kinds.
Beta-carotene is a powerful antioxidant, protecting cells in the body from damage caused by free radicals. In fact, its antioxidant properties are thought to help prevent certain cancers and other diseases.
Lutein is also an antioxidant that helps preserve our eyesight as we age. Once consumed, Lutein makes its way to the eye where it protects the retina and lens from free radical damage. Research shows that people who have high intakes of Lutein from foods are less likely to develop cataracts and macular degeneration. (Macular degeneration attacks the central part of the retina called the macula, which controls fine, detailed vision. The condition results in progressive loss of visual sharpness and is the leading cause of severe vision loss in older adults. )
That said, you can't count on all types of lettuce to be a good source of all vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. In general, lettuce that is darker green in color is a better nutrient source than lighter colored lettuce.
So, to answer your question, the most nutritious lettuce is Romaine.
Compared to red leaf, green leaf, butterhead (Boston and bib types), and iceberg, it delivers more folate, potassium, beta carotene, and Lutein. Per one cup serving (shredded), Romaine has 2.5 milligrams of beta-carotene, 1.1 milligrams of Lutein, and one-third of a days worth of folate.
Compare that to iceberg lettuce, the least nutritious type of lettuce: one cup (shredded) contains 0.2 milligrams of beta-carotene, 0.2 milligrams of Lutein, and only one-third of the folate found in Romaine.
When it comes to getting the most vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants per serving, here's my rating of types of lettuce from most to least nutritious: Romaine, green leaf, butterhead (Boston, bib), red leaf, and finally, iceberg.