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All varieties of lettuce are not created equal

When you think salad; you think lettuce. Although lettuce is not as nutrient dense as green leafy vegetables it is a great addition to a healthy way of eating. There are many varieties of lettuce to include in your salad; they are nutritionally different.

Romaine (also known as Cos): This variety of head forming lettuce has deep green, long leaves with a crisp texture and deep taste.

Butterhead: This type of lettuce features tender large leaves that form a loosely arranged head that is easily separated from the stem. It has a sweet flavor and a soft texture. The best known varieties of Butterhead lettuce include Boston and Bibb.

Leaf: Featuring broad, curly leaf varieties that are green and/or red, the leaf lettuces offer a delicate taste and a mildly crispy texture. Best known varieties of leaf lettuce include green leaf and red leaf.

*Crisphead (iceberg): With green leaves on the outside and whitish ones on the inside, this variety of head lettuce has a crisp texture and a mild taste.

The different varieties of lettuce vary in nutritional value. The following chart compares the concentration of some of the vitamins and minerals found in different types of lettuce. I have included romaine lettuce as one of the World's Healthiest Foods because it has the highest in nutritional value for these important nutrients.

Nutrition Comparison of Salad Greens - Based on a 1 cup serving

Salad Greens Calories Vitamin A (IU) Vitamin C (mg) Calcium (mg) Potassium (mg)
Romaine 8 1456 13 20 65
Leaf Lettuce 10 1064 10 38 148
Butterhead (Bibb and Boston 7 534 4 18 141
Arugula 5 480 3 32 74
*Iceberg 7 182 2 10 87

*Iceberg lettuce is included for comparison only. As you see above romaine lettuce has eight times more vitamin A and six times more vitamin C than iceberg lettuce.