What’s So Great About Iceberg Lettuce

What’s So Great About Iceberg Lettuce

So I had a shameful craving the other day. As a personal trainer and, ahem, role model, I give lots of advice to clients about healthy eating. And certainly, here on SPC, we’re always trying to lovingly nudge in the direction of the most nutritional (but still tasty) stars of the produce aisle. Some are clear standouts (have you eaten broccoli yet today, if not, it’s been nice knowing you) and some just don’t make the cut (winter tomatoes, you have exactly 30 seconds to explain yourself). So I do try to walk the walk. Plus it would be tres awkward to run into a client at the grocery store with a cart full of diet coke and Pringles. So, back to this craving. Oh, the shame.














I skulked from the produce department to the cash, looking like I was shoplifting instead of just buying a head of lettuce. But it was iceberg people, and we all know iceberg lettuce is devoid of nutrition and should have been banned back in the 70’s along with asbestos in schools and the Dorothy Hamill haircut, right? Wrong! After I came home and devoured the whole thing in a gloriously crunchy salad that frankly, romaine can’t hold a candle to, I did a little research to check iceberg’s stats (oh I was eating it either way!).  And? It’s not just a throwback salad bar vehicle for Thousand Islands dressing.

According to Men’s Health Magazine, “half a head of iceberg lettuce has significantly more alpha-carotene, a powerful disease-fighting antioxidant, than either romaine lettuce or spinach.” Source And in an article on Yahoo entitled, “Veggie Myths,” author Melissa Murphy says, “One cup of iceberg lettuce has about 20% of the recommended daily dose of Vitamin K – a nutrient that helps maintain bone density. Studies show that many women don’t get enough of this important vitamin.: She also points out that one serving of iceberg lettuce provides:

  • about 15% of the Vitamin A needed daily to maintain eye health.
  • other nutrients that contribute to eye health such as beta-carotene, lutein, zeaxanthin.
  • a good source of dietary fiber, often lacking in (North) American diets.

And, turning the table on the “it’s nothing but water” argument, Murphy explains that iceberg lettuce actually, “supplies the intestinal tract with much needed water and is a great choice for chronically dehydrated people because of its extremely high water content – much higher than many other lettuce varieties.” Source

Ok, so iceberg may never be a true rock star but isn’t it nice to know you can walk from the produce aisle to the cash with your head held high? Maybe we were also wrong about the Dorothy Hamill? I have an idea….you try it and we’ll see.

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1 Comment

  1. Noams
    July 29, 12:30 Reply

    Good to know! I recently told my boyfriend to choose a healthier green as I thought iceberg lettuce was the least nutritious. I’m a kale or spinach person and he’s always going for romaine or iceberg. Guess I can lay-off! Thanks!

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