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Iceberg Lettuce: The Folate Rich Volumetric Food

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Volumetric foods are those that can be consumed without racking up any extra calories even in large amounts. Read the article to know more.

Medically reviewed by

Dr. Lakshi Arora

Published At November 20, 2023
Reviewed AtNovember 20, 2023

What Is Iceberg Lettuce?

Iceberg lettuce, also colloquially or popularly known as crisphead lettuce is a common lettuce variety that is commercially available in most global markets. This lettuce has rather pale green leaves and grows with cabbage-like bulbs as a characteristic appearance. Iceberg lettuce also called crisphead lettuce has several additional iceberg varieties across the globe that vary ranging from the Great Lake variety to the Crispino, Ithaca, Keeper, Raider, and Maverick varieties. This is best suited to cultivation in cool climates and usually requires a lengthy winter season to grow or ripen fully. Lettuce just like most other leafy greens as we know contributes multivitamins and minerals in a healthy and balanced diet. Iceberg lettuce similarly is known for having a rather crisp, crunchy texture with a sweet-tinged flavor that makes it a popular favorite especially suited for children who do not usually prefer their greens lightly bitter in taste.

What Are the Health Benefits Of Iceberg Lettuce?

Iceberg lettuce serves as an excellent bridge food for individuals who are not used to eating enough vegetables from their regular diets (please note that it is important to consume fresh vegetables and fruits as a part of a wholesome balanced diet). Though iceberg lettuce is reputed for not being so nutritious in comparison to darker greens or other varieties of lettuces, it is still packed with vitamin A, vitamin K, and folate. Yes, this lettuce is not just known for its sweet flavors, but also for a range of important health benefits, it can yield. For instance, the folate, or folic acid comprised in iceberg lettuce is an essential element that can be dietarily obtained and deemed critical for fetal development (unless one has a lettuce allergy in that case one needs to see the healthcare provider or allergist). The rich folate in this lettuce would be useful, especially in the first trimester, which is why it is universally recommended by healthcare professionals to consume folic acid in women who are pregnant or are trying to conceive. Recent research also shows its potential as a non-starchy veggie just like other lettuce varieties in aiding weight loss healthily and improving Insulin sensitivity making it a good option for diabetic and prediabetic cases. Furthermore, the trace minerals in it would be cardioprotective according to nutrition experts.

What Is the Nutritional Content of Iceberg Lettuce?

Iceberg lettuce has only around a mere 10 calories per cup of shredded lettuce. This means it is a low-calorie food that can be a part of any healthy diet plan, cutting back on the extra calories when one uses it as a substitute for starchy vegetables in meals. Iceberg lettuce is also naturally quite low in sugar and sodium yielding a small amount that is approximately around 1 percent of the daily value for calcium, iron, and potassium. Additionally, it also contains vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium, iron, vitamin K, and manganese. The nutrition content enlisted by the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) for one cup of shredded iceberg lettuce that is approximately 2.54 ounces is as follows:

  • Fat: 0.003527 ounces.

  • Sodium: 0.000253 ounces.

  • Carbohydrates: 0.0740 ounces.

  • Fiber: 0.03174 ounces.

  • Sugars: 0.0493 ounces.

  • Protein: 0.0211 ounces.

  • Vitamin K: 0.000613 ounces.

  • Potassium: 0.003577 ounces.

  • Vitamin A: 0.00063 ounces.

  • Vitamin C: 0.0000705 ounces.

  • Folate: 0.000738 ounces.

  • Total Calories:10 calories.

As iceberg lettuce is extremely low in fat, has such a high water content, and a low glycemic index (GI) of around 32, it can be a boon for individuals opting for low-fat, low-GI, and low-carbohydrate diets globally.

What Are the Side Effects of Iceberg Lettuce?

Iceberg lettuce is generally not known to interact with or affect any medications, especially when consumed raw. This is because it yields only trace amounts of minerals that are unlikely to impact drug interactions as per current research. The only potential side effect of consuming raw iceberg lettuce in excess however is that temporary digestive discomfort would be encountered in individuals with gastric issues. Individuals with tree nut, pollen, or lettuce allergies would be possibly allergic to iceberg lettuce as well.

How to Purchase and Store Iceberg Lettuce?

When one purchases iceberg lettuce that can be easily found in the local produce department, look always for the heads of the iceberg (cabbage-shaped heads) that should appear fresh and green with crisp-looking leaves. If the leaf is brown or limp, it is likely to be spoilt or rotten. Hence it is best to purchase lettuce with tightly wrapped iceberg leaves that typically form a healthy solid, round shape in between. Also, avoid lettuce that looks either slimy or old as it would be possibly contaminated past its duration. Once purchased, do not rinse or chop the iceberg lettuce until one is ready to use it directly for raw or cooked form because the delicate leaves of this lettuce tend to oxidize and turn brown very fast. Hence, till one consumes it or cooks it, store the whole heads of iceberg lettuce in the coldest part of the refrigerator, where they will ideally last for around two weeks.

How to Use Iceberg Lettuce?

Before one prepares any dish or uses it, rinse the lettuce under running water and pat it completely dry to decontaminate thoroughly. Many people may often be confused or find it difficult to remove the core of the iceberg lettuce. There is a simple trick to overcome this. All one needs to do is hold the head of lettuce at least six to eight inches above the kitchen countertop and then one needs to slam it down that is onto its core. This effect will loosen up the leaves and then when one grabs the core with one hand and twists it out, one can easily separate and rinse the leaves under running water before drying them up prior to cooking.

Since iceberg lettuce is all crunch and very less or mildly dominating flavor, one can best use it up for daily salads pairing it with other greens and healthy colorful vegetables. Many culinary experts also use iceberg lettuce in common recipes as a base rather than for a main course salad while one can pair them up according to the preference either with fresh veggies or with lean source protein. One can also use iceberg lettuce as a healthier alternative to buns and wraps. One can pack the lettuce into a sandwich along with the other ingredients or even fit it into a burger. One can find many recipes on the internet that will help one experiment with iceberg lettuce to lighten up the favorite meals with low calories, low fat low sugar, and low sodium, infact an ideal package or add to any meal.


Iceberg lettuce is hence one ideal folate and another trace mineral-rich volumetric food- which means one can eat it anytime without worrying about consuming extra calories while one satiate the appetite with this add-on in a healthy way. As it is primarily non-starchy and low-calorie, this can be experimented with in versatile ways in the daily diet.

Dr. Achanta Krishna Swaroop
Dr. Achanta Krishna Swaroop


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