Iceberg lettuce is the crunchy, pale vegetable you’ll often find added to your fast-food burger or diner salad when you eat out. It has a neutral taste and refreshing crunch, making it a favorite among children who won’t eat other kinds of lettuce. It’s not as rich in nutrition as many other greens, but it does provide some benefits.
Despite its reputation for being a complete zero on the nutritional scale, iceberg lettuce provides significant amounts of vitamins A and K. It also has small amounts of many other healthy nutrients. Although it’s low in fiber, it has a high water content, making it a refreshing choice during hot weather. It also provides calcium, potassium, vitamin C, and folate.
The nutrients in iceberg lettuce can help you to meet the standard daily requirements for several vitamins and minerals. They include:
- Vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant that helps keep your immune system healthy.
- Calcium, which keeps bones and teeth strong. It also supports muscle function, nerve function, and blood clotting.
- Vitamin K, a vitamin that works with calcium to prevent bone fractures. It’s also integral for blood clotting.
- Vitamin A (as beta carotene), a powerful antioxidant that helps to maintain night vision and eye health. It also supports cell growth.
- Folate, a B vitamin that helps to make DNA and genetic material. It’s especially important for women who are pregnant or who are planning to become pregnant.
- Potassium, a mineral that reduces blood pressure by lessening the effects of salt in the diet.
Like most leafy greens, iceberg lettuce is low in calories, sugar, and fat. Iceberg lettuce only has about one calorie per leaf. It has a higher water content than many other types of lettuce. It may not be as vitamin- or nutrient-packed as darker, more colorful lettuce varietals — such as red leaf lettuce or spinach — but iceberg lettuce can still have a place in a healthy diet plan.
When shopping for iceberg lettuce, always look for a head of lettuce that has no loose leaves. The leaves should have no brown edges or spots. Many people remove the outer leaves before eating, but this isn’t necessary if you wash them thoroughly. Make sure to keep iceberg lettuce refrigerated and eat it within a few days of purchasing.
Iceberg lettuce has a very mild flavor, which makes it adaptable to many salads and other recipes. If you add a leaf to your tuna or chicken salad sandwich, it provides an easy way to get a little bit of added nutrition. Just don’t cook it for too long, or you’ll eliminate iceberg’s crunch.
Iceberg lettuce is a refreshing addition to any kind of salad and is perfect to pair with homemade crumbled blue cheese dressing. Try the dressing with a large wedge of iceberg lettuce combined with tomatoes, blue cheese crumbles, and lemon juice.
Iceberg can be mixed with other greens for added texture and color. It also complements the taste of fruit nicely. Try combining it with green grapes, grilled chicken, and a light raspberry vinaigrette for a refreshing summer lunch.
Although iceberg lettuce is not known for its nutritional value, it does contain some important vitamins and minerals. Use in salads or add to other recipes for a refreshing crunch on a hot summer day.