Food & Drink Magazine

Can the Type of Lettuce Affect the Nutritional Value of Your Salad?

By Nutrisavvy

Guest post by Nadia Jones

Can the Type of Lettuce affect the Nutritional Value of your Salad?
Salads are the meal-of-choice for many beginner health buffs, especially young dieters and students on a tight budget. After all, if done the right way—meaning without fatty croutons, mayo-based creamy dressings, cheese, or other unnecessary toppings—a salad can not only help trim your waistline but help nourish your body with tons of good-for-you nutrients, minerals, and antioxidants too. But even if you omit croutons and use low-calorie vinaigrette dressings, not all salads have the same disease-fighting and energy boosting power. The choice of lettuce you use significantly determines how “nutritious” you salad truly is. Which lettuce is at the bottom of the totem pole? Iceberg lettuce. It’s crunchy and delicious but consists of mostly water and fails in comparison to the three choices listed below. To learn what leafy greens you should be using when making your salads, read on.

Romaine Lettuce

As a rule of thumb, the darker the lettuce the more nutritional power it packs. That said, romaine lettuce is a step up from iceberg but it’s not “the” absolute best. However it is one of the cheaper varieties. Thus if you’re on a budget, it’s best to aim for this type since it’s relatively cheap. Not to mention Romaine still has a slight crunch so if it is texture you’re looking for, this is the lettuce for you. One cup of Romaine lettuce has about 64 micrograms of folate, 48 micrograms of vitamin k, 1,600 micrograms of beta carotene and 1,000 micrograms of lutein.

Here are some other great leafy green choices:


There’s a reason why Popeye was almost superhuman after eating a jar of spinach. According to some health experts, replacing iceberg lettuce with sweet baby spinach leaves can give your body the strength it needs to fight some serious health aliments, including cancer, anemia and heart disease. Once cup of raw spinach has 58.2 micrograms of folate, 145 micrograms of vitamin K, 1688 micrograms of beta carotene and 3695 micrograms of lutein.


If you really want to make sure you’re meeting your daily value of vitamins and nutrients then make a chopped kale salad. For some, chopped kale might be of an acquired taste since it’s similar to broccoli, stiff like tree branches, and can sometimes be a tad but pricey, but it’s truly the best nutritional lettuce available in super markets. One cup of Kale has 19.4 micrograms of folate, 547 micrograms of vitamin K, 6,182 micrograms of beta carotene, and 26,499 micrograms of lutein.

Of course there are other leafy greens to consider, such as arugula, green chard, and red leaf lettuce, but the ones listed above are sure to give you the vitamins you need to help keep your body and brain at its optimal health.

Q: What leafy greens do you enjoy in your salads?

Nadia Jones is an education blogger for an online education website and a freelance writer on all things academia. Nadia uses the written word to share her knowledge on accredited online college education and the latest news in the educational world. She also enjoys writing about health, nutrition, and fitness in her spare time. She welcomes your comments at

Filed under: diet, Guest posts, healthy lifestyles
Can the Type of Lettuce affect the Nutritional Value of your Salad?
Can the Type of Lettuce affect the Nutritional Value of your Salad?

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