Why Iceberg Lettuce Shouldn’t Be Overlooked
“This lettuce variety is full of water and contains a good amount of dietary fibre”
Not Just A Crunchy Bed
For many years, iceberg lettuce has been left out and it has a ‘bad reputation’ in the nutrition world, because of its low nutrient content, But this is not completely true. Iceberg lettuce contains a fair amount of essential nutrients and the only reason it is not considered to be ‘nutritious’ is because the nutrients present in it, are lower than other types of lettuce. Its moderate nutrient content doesn’t make iceberg lettuce just a crunchy bed for salads; it is very popular for its use in salads, wraps, rolls and burgers.
This lettuce variety is full of water and contains a good amount of dietary fibre. In addition to this, one cup of iceberg lettuce contains just 10 calories which makes it an excellent food for weight loss. You can easily add iceberg lettuce to your bowl of salad without boosting your caloric intake. You can also always combine iceberg lettuce with other vegetables to obtain complete and balanced nutrition.
Iceberg lettuce is not a ‘zero-nutrient’ or no-nutrient’ food. So, the next time it would be wise not to ignore these crispy leaves present in your salad bowl. Instead, eat them up because little nutrition is better than no nutrition.’
One cup of iceberg lettuce contains two milligrams of vitamins C and this equals five per cent of the recommended dietary allowance for Indian adults. But since vitamin C is sensitive to heat and air exposure, the cutting method and storage temperature can have a huge impact on the vitamin C content in iceberg lettuce.
Cutting or tearing the leaves with your hands, reduces the loss of vitamin C as compared to the knife or if it is machine cut. Storing Iceberg lettuce at low and cool temperature such as three degrees Celsius further prevents the loss of vitamin C.
Scientists have found that a low concentration of vitamin K is associated with low bone mineral density and easy bone fractures. Iceberg lettuce is a good source of vitamin K and one cup (72 grams) of iceberg lettuce contains 17.4 micrograms of vitamin K. Research scientists have reported that women who consume iceberg lettuce at least one or more times per day, can lower their risk of hip fracture by 45 per cent significantly.
Vitamin B9 (Folic Acid)
Folic acid is very important in the prevention of neural tube defects which are birth defects of the brain, spinal cord or spine. Folic acid is also essential for proper brain function. One cup (72 grams) of iceberg lettuce contains 20.9 micrograms of folic acid. If iceberg lettuce is stored at room temperature for eight days or more, some loss of folic acid may occur.
Poly phenols And Antioxidants
Polyphenols are ‘health-promoting’ compounds found in plant foods such as iceberg lettuce. Scientific studies have observed that raw iceberg lettuce contains more health promoting compounds as compared to the ones that are boiled and pressure cooked. So, if you want to achieve more polyphenols from iceberg lettuce, consume it in its raw form.
Iceberg lettuce also contains other nutrients in trace amounts such as potassium, magnesium, thiamine (vitamin Bi) and phosphorus. Furthermore, iceberg lettuce contains a low amount of sodium and no cholesterol. It is also a good source of dietary fibre and contains 90-95 per cent water.
Signs Of It Being Fresh
- The leaves of iceberg lettuce should be crisp
- It should have a fresh and bright colour between light to medium green
- Leaves should not be wilted or very soft
- Avoid purchasing lettuce which has brown or dark area around the edges of the leaves or the ones which have a slimy surface
- If you are buying packaged iceberg lettuce, check its expiry date
- Once you have purchased iceberg lettuce, it is very important to store it correctly, so as to maintain its freshness and retain its important nutrients
- Among all different types of lettuce, Iceberg lettuce is the only one which can be stored up to two weeks in the refrigerator
- Do not store iceberg lettuce with other fruits and vegetables, as this may hasten its spoilage
- It is better not to wash lettuce leaves before storage as this may lead to quick spoilage
- Wash the lettuce just before use or wash it and pat it dry before storing it in the refrigerator
- Store iceberg lettuce in a plastic bag or plastic container