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Whether the central element of a crisp, summer salad or slapped between two pieces of bread to add crunch to a sandwich, lettuce is a healthy addition to your diet. This vegetable provides more than taste and texture. It's also a valuable way to get nutrients without significantly increasing your calorie intake.
One cup of shredded iceberg lettuce has 10 calories, 2.1 grams of carbohydrates, 0.7 grams of protein and 0.9 grams of fiber. This variety of lettuce provides a wide range of minerals and vitamins, but one serving of the lettuce isn't a significant source of most of these nutrients. An exception, however, is vitamin K, which contributes to blood clotting. One cup of iceberg lettuce has 17.5 micrograms of this vitamin, accounting for 19 percent of the recommended dietary allowance for adults.
One cup of shredded romaine lettuce contains 8 calories, 1.6 grams of carbs, 0.6 grams of protein and 1 gram of fiber. This type of lettuce is high in vitamin A, which contributes to skin and eye health. One cup has 205 micrograms, which is 29 percent of the recommended dietary allowance for women and 23 percent for men. Romaine lettuce is also a valuable source of vitamin K. One cup has 48 micrograms, which accounts for 54 percent of the recommended dietary allowance for adults.
Red Leaf Lettuce
Red leaf lettuce, which adds a contrasting color to salads, has 4 calories, 0.6 grams of carbs, 0.4 grams of protein and 0.3 grams of fiber per shredded cup. It's also a valuable source of vitamins A and K. One cup has 105 micrograms of vitamin A, accounting for 15 percent of the recommended dietary allowance for women and 12 percent for men. The same serving has 39 micrograms of vitamin K, which provides 44 percent of the recommended dietary allowance for adults.
Lettuce in Your Diet
Incorporating lettuce into your diet is beneficial, whether you're working on losing a few pounds or just wish to maintain your current weight. Because lettuce is about 95 percent water and contains very few calories, you can eat it in significant amounts without overly elevating your calorie intake. Although lettuce isn't as fiber-dense as some other vegetables, such as peas or sweet potatoes, its fiber helps fill you up and prevents a rapid blood sugar spike.
- U.S. Department of Agriculture National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference: Lettuce, Iceberg (Includes Crisphead Types), Raw
- MedlinePlus: Vitamin K
- U.S. Department of Agriculture National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference: Lettuce, Cos or Romaine, Raw
- National Institutes of Health: Vitamin A
- U.S. Department of Agriculture National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference: Lettuce, Red Leaf, Raw
- Harvard University Health Services: Fiber Content of Foods in Common Portions
- University of California at San Francisco Benioff Children's Hospital: Why Fiber Is So Good For You
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