Some of you who don’t live in the UK might wonder why I’m writing about this leafy vegetable, but, for UK residents, it will be different. Mention a lettuce and invariably one image will come to mind – our erstwhile Prime Minister, Liz Truss, and an iceberg lettuce. The caption said ‘Can Liz Truss outlast this lettuce?’. Well, as you know, the lettuce won. It was still there, 45 days later, very much alive although sagging a bit, after the Prime Minister had made her resignation speech to the Nation.
As this humble and seldom written about vegetable has leapt into the spotlight, it’s made me wonder about it’s nutritional value – and it has a lot to offer. An important thing to remember is that it is a green vegetable, and all green vegetables are healthy. Include some lettuce, as a salad accompaniment or even in the recipe itself, and you are making your meal healthier. My next project will be to bake a lettuce cake, and I’ll be writing about it soon, even if it’s to recommend that you don’t try making it!
So, here are 10 health benefits of the iceberg lettuce, over and above its ability to outlive a prime minister:
10 Health Benefits of the Iceberg Lettuce
1. High in water content
A lettuce is 96% water, or so it is mockingly said. My research has found this claim to be slightly exaggerated, but, nevertheless, it has a very high water content. And, as I’ve said in previous articles, water is good for you.
2. Low in calories
You can eat as much lettuce as you like, within reason, if you are trying to control your calorie intake. Iceberg lettuce, per 100 grams, contains 60kJ/14kcal. It is perfect in a salad and especially delicious if grown at home and freshly picked.
3. Contains folate (vitamin B9)
This is the natural form of vitamin B9 and is nutritionally very important. It helps in making DNA, forming red blood cells and aiding healthy cell function and growth. It is especially recommended for pregnant women and women trying to become pregnant.
4. Low in fat
There is hardly any fat in lettuce. In 100 grams, there is less than 0.1 grams of saturated fat.
Potassium reduces high blood pressure and lessens the effect of salt in the diet.
Calcium is important for healthy bones and teeth, blood clotting and the functioning of muscles and nerves.
7. Vitamin K
This vitamin works with calcium to prevent bone fracturing and assist blood clotting.
8. Vitamin A
Vitamin A is an antioxidant and is used by the body to assist night vision and keep your eyes healthy. It is also needed to aid the growth of healthy cells.
9. Vitamin C
This is important for your immune system.
10. Magnesium and iron
Like vitamin C, these two minerals boost your immune system.
There it is – lettuce not only lasts longer than our ex-prime minister’s term in office, but it can be argued that it is better for you. It certainly won’t harm you, and I can’t say more than that.