Iceberg Lettuce is Great in Summer

Iceberg is a much-maligned lettuce. Many allege that it has no nutritional value. It has been claimed that it’s nothing but water. But, what’s the truth about the nutrition of iceberg lettuce?

The fast-food chain Chick-fil-A removed it from their menu. “It’s at the bottom of the salad food chain,” said David Farmer, vice president of menu strategy and development. “There is no nutritional value in iceberg lettuce.” This is coming from a restaurant selling fried chicken.

The accusation that it’s nothing but water has some truth. It’s 95.64 percent water. It doesn’t have that many nutrients. However, in hot summer weather, it’s good to stay hydrated. And, despite its slight sweetness, it’s low in carbs and has folate, fiber, potassium, zinc and vitamins A and K. While it might not be a great source of nutrients, it does you no harm, compared to so many foods that are jam-packed with carbs, fats and additives. Moreover, studies have shown that it can aid sleep and protect against inflammation caused by poor sleep.

Its pleasant crunch holds up well when paired with other textures in a salad. Iceberg is the lowest calorie lettuce, with only 14 calories per 100 grams. That means that, if you’re counting calories, you can add more things to your salad. It’s filling and crisp. And, for meals like lettuce wraps, nothing beats the physical strength of iceberg. Dark greens, like kale and spinach, are higher in both calories and nutrients. Those nutrients are excellent, but the flavors of the greens are very different than iceberg. For a simple, lower-calorie salad, iceberg frequently cannot be beaten.

The food critics may continue to be snobs, but iceberg is a great staple for hot months! If you like iceberg, with its mild flavor and cooling crunch, you should enjoy it. “It counts as a vegetable serving, something that nearly 90 percent of women don’t meet the minimum servings of on a daily basis,” said Julie Upton, M.S., R.D., co-founder of nutrition website Appetite for Health. Kale, spinach and the like don’t appeal to many of us. So, instead of trying to hype yourself into eating endive, enjoy your iceberg lettuce this summer!

Banner Image: Rasbak, Wikimedia
August 12, 2019
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